Edward Panowitz Sr., 77, city patrolman for 35 years, was honored by mayor

June 22, 1998|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

Edward A. Panowitz Sr., a Bel Air resident and former Baltimore patrolman who was named as a "living monument" in downtown Baltimore by former Mayor William Donald Schaefer, died Wednesday of heart disease at the Mariner Health of Forest Hill nursing home in Harford County. He was 77.

Long before purple-clad security guards roamed downtown Baltimore to spot criminals and give visitors directions, Officer Panowitz ruled the sidewalks.

For 35 years as a Baltimore police officer, he directed traffic, watched over banks and businesses, and sent tourists to fine restaurants from his beat at Baltimore and Charles streets and Baltimore and Light streets.

A son, Edward "Skip" Panowitz Jr. of Bel Air, recalled that his father was recognized by Mayor Schaefer as "the only living monument" in downtown Baltimore. Officer Panowitz retired in 1985.

Born in Baltimore, Officer Panowitz grew up in the Hamilton section and attended public and parochial schools. He graduated from Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School.

During World War II, he served aboard the USS Cockrill, a destroyer escort, as a seaman first class in the Pacific Ocean.

After working as a steamfitter for Bethlehem Steel Corp., he joined the city Police Department in 1948, following in his father's footsteps to become a downtown patrolman.

Mr. Panowitz said his grandfather, whom his father replaced on the downtown foot patrol beat, might have helped his father get the job.

"I think he'd been around for a while and I think he had enough influence. It used to be a plum assignment in those days," Mr. Panowitz said.

Over the years, Officer Panowitz became known for his imposing presence and for being on a first-name basis with longtime downtown office workers, an article in the Evening Sun noted the day before the veteran patrolman retired.

Early in his career, he caught a robber who held up Maryland National Bank at Baltimore and Light streets. In another incident, he was injured when he was thrown onto the hood of a car while directing traffic.

"When my dad retired, they retired his badge number," said his son, who recalled that former Police Commissioner Bishop L. Robinson said he wasn't supposed to retire a badge number -- it was No. 23 -- but he made an exception for Officer Panowitz. Before and after his retirement, Officer Panowitz and his wife of 55 years, the former Dorothy Taylor, enjoyed traveling and spending time in Ocean City.

He also loved to eat, said his son, adding, "We used to kid him that the McDonald's at the corner of Baltimore and Light streets was the only McDonald's in the city that got full police protection."

Officer Panowitz was a member of the American Legion's Parkville Post and Baltimore's Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3.

Services were to be held at 10 a.m. today at Bel Air United Methodist Church, 21 Linwood Ave.

In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by another son, David Panowitz of Bel Air; and four grandchildren.

Pub Date: 6/22/98

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