John L. Webster Sr., 72, deliveryman, map collector who plotted friends' trips

May 03, 1999|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

John L. Webster Sr., who delivered fresh milk and bread door to door in many Baltimore neighborhoods, died Thursday of heart failure at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Baltimore. He was 72 and lived in Chase.

Mr. Webster was a map collector and loved mapping trips for friends and family members.

After serving in Europe during World War II, he returned to Baltimore and began working as a deliveryman, delivering dry cleaning door to door.

Beginning in the 1950s, he was a deliveryman for dairies and bakeries, including Berg's, a defunct Perry Hall dairy.

In the late 1970s, as door-to-door delivery service was being phased out, Mr. Webster delivered baked goods from Stroehmann's and Schmidt's bakeries to area supermarkets.

He was proud of his work record, telling family members that he had missed two days of work in a 40-year career that ended with his retirement 13 years ago.

Mr. Webster was born in Deale Island, but moved from the Eastern Shore community as a child to West Baltimore and attended local schools, according to his son, John L. Webster Jr. of Perry Hall.

He enlisted in the Army during World War II and served in a motor pool unit, repairing jeeps and tanks.

He met his wife, the former Wilma E. Kuhnke, at a skating rink in Delaware while he was there on a skating-party bus trip, his son said. The couple married in 1951.

"To see her, he used to have to ride three street cars, transferring from one to the other, to get across Baltimore because he lived in West Baltimore and she lived in Gardenville," his son said.

As a hobby, Mr. Webster collected and studied maps. He was an avid travel buff and enjoyed helping plan trips.

"You'd tell him where you wanted to go and he'd spend a week on it, getting the best hotel rates and the shortest routes," said the son. "He'd line everything up, make all the calls for you."

In retirement, Mr. Webster traveled and spent time at his summer home on Fenwick Island, Del.

Services will be held at 11: 30 a.m. today at Lassahn Funeral Homes, 7401 Belair Road.

In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by two other sons, Stephen R. Webster of Chesaco and James C. Webster of Gardenville; three daughters, Diane C. Webster of Perry Hall, Susan P. Lunner of Chase and Lori A. Erdman of Kingsville; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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