Placide Jasmin, 82, letter carrier in Govans area

February 10, 2003|By Michael Stroh | Michael Stroh,SUN STAFF

Placide Camille Jasmin, a retired U.S. Postal Service letter carrier and community volunteer, died Wednesday at Bon Secours Hospital of complications from a broken hip. He was 82 and lived in Sandtown.

Until his retirement in 1976, Mr. Jasmin was a well-known presence in the Govans area, where he delivered mail for 32 years.

Clara Cobb-Fraling, a former resident of the neighborhood, recalls Mr. Jasmin passing out candy and other treats to neighborhood children as they gleefully trailed behind him.

"He was like the Pied Piper," she said.

The day that neighborhood schools handed out report cards, Mr. Jasmin was often the first to inspect them, passing out a quarter or two to reward good grades. He would also chastise children who he felt were misbehaving or not studying hard enough.

"He went way beyond a mail carrier; he was a father figure," Mrs. Cobb-Fraling said.

After Mr. Jasmin clocked out he would often return to Govans to pick up milk and other groceries for homebound elderly residents, or help them interpret their utility bills. The neighborhood, in return, apparently kept a watchful eye on Mr. Jasmin, too.

His son, Gerald Jasmin of Baltimore, recalled that once while delivering mail the wind blew his father's hat off his head. Not in the mood to chase it, Mr. Jasmin let it go and continued his rounds. Before long somebody in the neighborhood stumbled upon the hat, recognized its owner, and rushed to phone the police, worried that "something's happened to Mr. Jasmin!"

Friends and family, who usually called Mr. Jasmin by his nickname "Jazz," said that he was a man who loved people.

He spent many years working for Meals on Wheels.

Mr. Jasmin also devoted considerable time to painting and performing odd jobs at the former St. Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church at Baker and Gilmore streets before it was demolished in 1991.

He also volunteered to chauffeur the Sisters of Mercy from their convent to the church for Sunday school.

"He was a working man, wherever," said his wife of 60 years, the former Catherine Arthur.

Born in Jasper, Fla., Mr. Jasmin attended school in Jacksonville.

In 1936, after the death of his father, his family moved to Baltimore's Sandtown neighborhood, where he lived for the rest of his life.

During World War II, he was drafted into the Army and served in Europe as a staff sergeant.

After he returned, he worked briefly at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Printing Office before joining the Postal Service. He was an active member and past commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Thompson Mill Post 9527.

A Mass of Resurrection will be offered at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church, 1542 N. Gilmore St.

In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Jasmin is survived by sons Arthur Jasmin and Gregory Jasmin of Woodlawn and Martin Jasmin of Baltimore; a daughter, Trinita Owens of Baltimore; four grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

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