John W. Linnemann Jr., 74, longtime motorman, driver

April 17, 1997|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

If a rider needed to know what bus to take and where to catch it, John W. Linnemann Jr., a retired state Mass Transit Administration information services operator, had the answers.

"He could get anyone anywhere they wanted to go and would even tell them what corner to stand on for the bus," said his daughter, Janice Noranbrock of Eldersburg.

Charles Thomas of Delta, Pa., who worked beside Mr. Linnemann, said, "He knew his [bus] lines and transfer points because he had worked all of the lines as a motorman and driver and knew the city intimately."

Mr. Linnemann, who spent 36 years with the transit agency and its predecessor company, died of a heart attack Monday at Northwest Medical Center. He was 74.

The longtime Woodlawn resident, the son of a streetcar motorman, joined the old Baltimore Transit Co. as a mechanic's helper in 1949. He was promoted to streetcar motorman and later operated trackless trolleys until the entire system was converted to buses only in 1963.

Because of cataracts and later glaucoma, Mr. Linnemann was forced to give up driving transit buses and spent the last 11 years of his career as an information services operator at the Bush Street terminal in Southwest Baltimore. He retired in 1985.

"He liked serving the public and got great joy out of getting people to work and back home again. It was a challenge," said Sam Carnaggio of Baltimore, a nephew and MTA director of transit operations.

Mr. Carnaggio recalled his uncle's commanding presence. "In his uniform, he was an authority figure and he had all this responsibility, not only for this large vehicle but the care of his passengers."

Mr. Linnemann especially liked trackless trolleys.

"He used to say, 'They were the best because they were so unique,' " said Mrs. Noranbrock.

Mr. Linnemann was born and raised in East Baltimore and was educated in city schools. He left school in the 10th grade for an apprenticeship as a lens grinder.

He enlisted in the Army in 1942 during World War II and was an infantryman in Europe.

Seriously wounded during the Battle of the Argonne Forest in France in 1944, he was trapped in a trench covered by barbed wire for a week. Threatened with the loss of a leg from gangrene, he refused to let Army surgeons remove it.

He was sent to the Camp Butner (N.C.) Convalescent Hospital to recuperate and was discharged with the rank of sergeant in 1945.

"In discussing his war years, he always said, 'The real heroes died there,' " Mrs. Noranbrock said.

After he retired, Mr. Linnemann liked to visit streetcar and railroad museums and travel, and had visited all 48 contiguous states. Two weeks ago, he returned from a trip to Nevada.

He especially liked hiking, camping and fishing along Virginia's Skyline Drive and in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina.

He was a member of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1300, the Pikesville Sportman's Club and Bethany United Church of Christ in Woodlawn.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. today at Loring-Byers Funeral Directors Inc., 8728 Liberty Road, Randallstown.

Other survivors include his wife of 52 years, the former Anna Carnaggio; three sons, John W. Linnemann III of New Windsor, Donald Linnemann of Frederick and Dennis Linnemann of Stewartstown, Pa.; two brothers, Herbert Linnemann and Stuart Linnemann, and two sisters, Irene Wendling and Gladys Bennett, all of Baltimore; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Pub Date: 4/17/97

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