Harold Grott, 81, managed theaters, Northwest Hospital Center volunteer

December 03, 1996|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Harold Grott, who managed movie theaters and warehouses before becoming one of the best-known volunteers at Northwest Hospital Center in Randallstown, died there Friday of leukemia. He was 81.

Mr. Grott, who lived in Randallstown for 32 years, was active as a volunteer until about a month ago.

"At 70 he retired -- and really started to work," said a daughter, Susan Grott of Owings Mills.

He began volunteering at the hospital in 1985, logged more than 6,100 hours as a volunteer and was honored with a plaque at the former Baltimore County General Hospital.

"He worked helping register patients and every Wednesday morning he'd come in between 5: 30 and 6 a.m. He really enjoyed helping people and I can say that he will be greatly missed here," said Joan Kahline, director of volunteer services at the hospital.

Mr. Grott would spend hours at home drawing cartoon figures on hospital identification wristbands -- for children and adult patients and staff. Using ink pens, he produced about 250 bracelets a week, decorated with Mickey Mouse, Snoopy, Popeye, Betty Boop, Bart Simpson and other cartoon figures.

"It began one day in the emergency room," said Ms. Grott. "A little boy didn't want them to put the band on his arm and my father said, 'If I paint a cartoon character on there, will you wear it?' He drew Popeye and the little boy smiled and he wore it.

"Somehow from there, it just grew," she said, noting that her father always had enjoyed art.

A 1991 article in The Sun noted "an ID bracelet designed by Harold Grott is becoming the most fashionable accessory since the patterned hospital gown at Randallstown's Baltimore County General."

Born in Baltimore as Harry Grott, he used Harold as his name for most of his life.

During World War II, he served for three years in the Army and was stationed in India, attaining the rank of staff sergeant.

While in high school, he began working as a movie usher at the old Rialto and Met theaters on North Avenue. They were owned by Rome Theaters, which had about 15 locations when it went out of business some years ago and where he spent 30 years.

While working for Rome, he used his drawing talent on billboards and advertisements.

After Rome folded, Mr. Grott took what was supposed to be a part-time job at an unclaimed freight business and was manager of the warehouse when he retired.

Services were held Sunday.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, the former Annetta Israelson; another daughter, Glenda Goldberg of Pikesville; two granddaughters; and a great-granddaughter.

Pub Date: 12/03/96

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