Louis Pete Romeo Sr., 86, crane operator, volunteer

January 28, 2003

Pete Romeo Sr., a retired crane operator who was active in union affairs, died Friday of congestive heart failure at St. Joseph Medical Center. The Lutherville resident was 86.

Born in Baltimore's Little Italy and raised in Govans, Mr. Romeo attended city public schools. He began working as a crane operator in 1941, and was a member of Operating Engineers Local 37.

During his 40-year career, he worked on construction projects including Bethesda Naval Hospital, Franklin Square Hospital Center, the Hampton House apartments and St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson.

According to his family, Mr. Romeo became in 1970 the first person in the state to operate a tower crane -- equipment imported from France. He retired in 1981.

For 41 years, until his death, Mr. Romeo was chairman of his union's volunteer blood donor program. In 1998 and 1999, he was presented the Iron Man Award of the American Red Cross in recognition of voluntarism.

Earlier, he was a union auditor and recording secretary. In 1970, he was appointed by the Baltimore Urban League as a counselor in its labor education apprenticeship program, a post he held until 1981.

Mr. Romeo also was a member of the AFL-CIO Baltimore Building Trades Council, the Scottish Rite and Tall Cedars of Lebanon, and Holy Comforter Lutheran Church in Govans.

He enjoyed playing the guitar, harmonica and organ, and was an avid golfer and duckpin bowler.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

He is survived by his wife of 67 years, the former Viola H. Gardener; a son, Louis P. Romeo Jr. of Rosedale; a daughter, Barbara R. Hoover of Upperco; eight grandchildren; and three great-granddaughters.

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