Joseph Frank Hlavac, 87, city records clerk

January 24, 2003

Joseph Frank Hlavac, who worked for more than 40 years as a city records clerk, died of a heart attack Saturday at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. The Overlea resident was 87.

"He got the nickname of `T.J.' or `Tunnel Joe' because his office was off the tunnel that connected City Hall and the Municipal Building," said his daughter, Sister Regina Hlavac, a nun with the order of Daughters of Charity in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Mr. Hlavac was born in Baltimore and raised on Durham Street, and graduated from St. Wenceslaus Parochial School.

During the 1930s, he worked as a baker for Capitol Bakers at Aisquith and Chase streets, until losing a hand in an industrial accident. In 1936, he went to work as an archival clerk in the city's Records Department. He retired in 1979.

An active volunteer, Mr. Hlavac delivered baked goods to Beans and Bread, the East Baltimore outreach program for the needy that is sponsored by St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church.

"He'd fill his station wagon with baked goods," his daughter said. "His service to those in need was his trademark."

Mr. Hlavac liked raising multihued canaries and exotic fish. And he still enjoyed baking, especially houska, a Czechoslovakian holiday raisin bread that he prepared with his wife of 58 years, the former Josephine Petr.

He was a communicant of St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church, Belair Road and Willow Avenue, Overlea, where a funeral Mass was offered yesterday.

In addition to his wife and daughter, survivors include two other daughters, Bernadette Hlavac Beckwith of Glen Rock, Pa., and Karen Phyllis Hlavac of Overlea; a brother, Frank Hlavac of California; a sister, Anna Fick of Baltimore; and a grandson.

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