John R. Meadowcroft III, 68, volunteer for police causes

October 13, 1997|By Mike Klingaman | Mike Klingaman,SUN STAFF

John Robert Meadowcroft III, a community activist who devoted a quarter-century of volunteer service to the Baltimore County Police Department, died of cancer Friday at his home in Parkville. He was 68.

Mr. Meadowcroft, a retired Social Security Administration claims authorizer, spent the past 25 years securing thousands of dollars in donations for the police. His efforts allowed the department to obtain computers and McGruff-the-crime-dog costumes, and helped pay for specialized training for dozens of officers and for Christmas toys for children.

"He just wanted to help the police," said Detective John Reginaldi of the Community Resources Unit. "He was one of the caringest guys I've ever known."

Mr. Meadowcroft, the son of a Baltimore police officer, helped start the Towson Precinct Christmas Toy Program in 1980 and raised $5,000 a year.

Each holiday season, he dressed as Santa Claus, hopped into the back of a prisoner van filled with presents and delivered them to needy youngsters.

He also worked hard to boost officers' morale, creating an "Officer of the Month" award for the Towson Precinct. That program, begun five years ago, has spread countywide. For 16 years, Mr. Meadowcroft sponsored an Officer Appreciation Day cookout.

Born and raised in Baltimore, he graduated from Calvert Hall College in 1947 and attended Catonsville Community College. During the Korean War, he served in the Army at West Point, where he taught heavy equipment operation.

He was a mail carrier and a truck driver before going to work for Social Security, where he was employed for more than 20 years.

He was president of the Towson Community Relations Council for 18 years, attending numerous county budget hearings to champion police salary increases and fight department budget cuts.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church, 8501 Loch Raven Blvd. in Towson.

Mr. Meadowcroft is survived by his wife of 47 years, the former Toni Buragino; two sons, Joseph M. Meadowcroft of Parkville and John R. Meadowcroft IV of Edgewood; a daughter, Terri A. Erdman of Shrewsbury, Pa.; five brothers, Francis Meadowcroft and Dennis Meadowcroft, both of Bel Air, Hugh Meadowcroft and Edwin Meadowcroft, both of Perry Hall, and Joseph P. Meadowcroft of Atlanta; a sister, Mary Jo Mulgrew of Glen Arm; and three grandchildren.

Pub Date: 10/13/97

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