Martin P. Krueger, 78, official in longshoremen's association

July 24, 1999|By Gary Dorsey | Gary Dorsey,SUN STAFF

Martin P. Krueger, who left the working-class neighborhoods around the Baltimore waterfront to become a leader in the International Longshoremen's Association, died Sunday of Alzheimer's disease at Manor Care in Ruxton. He was 78 and a resident of Timonium.

Mr. Krueger's devotion to union work was to "make sure that the little guy could get ahead," said his brother, Herman Krueger of Locust Point.

Mr. Krueger came from a family of 10 children raised near the piers and docks of Locust Point, where the choice of a career often led young people to the waterfront or to the "Soap House," the manufacturing plant of the Procter & Gamble Co.

FOR THE RECORD - A statement quoted in an obituary yesterday about Martin P. Krueger's devotion to his union was wrongly attributed. The comment was made by Dr. Michael Krueger, his son.
The Sun regrets the error.
Pub Date: 7/25/99

"The neighborhood was full of large families, mostly Roman Catholic," said his wife, the former Helen Savage, whom he joined on a longshoremen's bowling team and married in 1950. "It was the kind of place where people grew up and never left, and nobody moved in unless it was another member of the family."

"It was a brawling city back then," said Herman Krueger. "The waterfront was full of tough guys. It wasn't a Sunday school, let me put it that way, and when we were kids, Marty was part of it. But when he got those [union] jobs, he calmed down to a pretty cool cat."

Mr. Krueger's work on the waterfront started after World War II, when he returned to Baltimore from a tour of duty with the Navy in the South Atlantic. Rising from dockworker ranks to join the staff of the Longshoremen's Pension and Benefits Funds in 1957, he found a place for his energies as business agent for Local 953, Clerks and Checkers.

In 1964, he became co-administrator of the fund, and for 22 years he helped develop pension and benefit plans through negotiations with shipping associations.

"I first met Marty during contract negotiations in the late '50s, and you couldn't help but be impressed by how hard he fought for the members he represented in the port of Baltimore," said John Bowers, president of the International Longshoremen's Association in New York. "He was a good person and a true friend of labor."

Co-workers recall Mr. Krueger as a man of integrity, brief in speech, skilled in work and dedicated to improving the lives of longshoremen.

"He was prompt arriving at the office, and he always worked a full day," said William Springer, his co-administrator, who was a colleague until Mr. Krueger's retirement in 1986.

The union work also masked a greater ambition for his children. Mr. Krueger had quit high school at the outbreak of World War II to join the Navy, said a son, Dr. Michael Krueger, a veterinarian in Oxford, Ga., and never returned to finish his formal education.

"He had an adviser in high school who told him he had college potential," Dr. Krueger said. "But because of his blue-collar background and not knowing people who went to college, he just didn't consider it was for him. But the old man wanted all of us kids to go to college, and he spent a lot of time and effort to make sure we could do it."

Services will be held at noon today at Evans Chapel of Chimes funeral home, 2325 York Road, Timonium.

Mr. Krueger also is survived two other sons, Mark Krueger of Mount Airy and Martin E. Krueger of Baltimore; another brother, Richard P. Krueger Sr. of Linthicum; four sisters, Anna Prochaska, Mary McGuire and Patricia Paul, all of Baltimore, and Sally Schultz of Stevensville; and three grandchildren.

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