Dundalk man, 85, fatally beaten in waterfront home

Retired waterman found by a friend

grandson recalls him as `greatest'

April 29, 2003|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Raymond J. Foreman survived too many storms on the Chesapeake Bay to count, raised three daughters and retired as a waterman in his mid-70s.

He had hoped to live to 100. He was killed at the age of 85.

The Dundalk man was fatally beaten in his waterfront home in the 100 block of Bayside Drive, overlooking Chink Creek, Baltimore County police said.

A friend who stopped by to check on Foreman on Sunday morning found him lying on his kitchen floor, said Officer Shawn Vinson, a county police spokesman. He died from blunt force trauma to the head, police said.

Although robbery may have been a motive for the killing, detectives couldn't confirm yesterday whether Foreman had been robbed, Vinson said.

Police records show that Foreman had been the victim of a robbery in August, though little information about the incident -- when Foreman called 911 from a nearby gas station -- was available yesterday.

Divers searched the water near Foreman's white cottage yesterday for evidence, and crime scene technicians worked inside the house where Foreman lived alone.

Detectives would not divulge whether they had found the weapon used in the killing.

Grandson's news

One of Foreman's grandsons, Raymond Hanna, had gone to the house Sunday morning to tell Foreman that he would be a great-grandfather in November. But instead of being able to tell his grandfather the news, Hanna said, he was told about the slaying.

"He probably would've smiled when I told him," said Hanna, a 19-year-old welder who has vivid memories of crabbing with his grandfather.

"He was very independent. He didn't want anything from anybody," Hanna said.

Foreman is believed to have visited Pop's Tavern at Wise Avenue and North Point Boulevard on Saturday night -- a bar he frequented, Hanna said. "The police seem to think he knew who did this," said Hanna.

There were no signs of forced entry into the house, police said.

Another one of Foreman's grandsons, Dan Garrett, stood at the edge of the yellow crime scene tape, wondering why anyone would kill such a kind man.

"He was the greatest guy," said Garrett, a 28-year-old butcher who lives a few blocks from his grandfather.

Raised on the Eastern Shore, Foreman had worked as a commercial crabber and fisherman all his life, retiring about eight years ago shortly after his wife, Hilda, died in 1995, his family said.

Two fishing boats were docked in Foreman's driveway yesterday. He had sold his two most popular boats, the Moon Dog and the Cindy II, which was named after one of his daughters, when he retired.

`Mr. Ray'

"He was always on the water," said Lisa Cooke, who grew up in the neighborhood with "Mr. Ray" living down the street.

"He'd go out there in wicked weather," Garrett said.

Hanna remembers the time Foreman had to be rescued from the bay near the Key Bridge after a boating accident that left his grandfather in freezing water for more than three hours. He was in his mid-70s and nearing retirement then.

"He was in terrific shape," said Garrett. "He cut his own grass, shoveled his own snow. I only hoped to be in that good of health when I'm his age."

Foreman's mother had lived to be 99, relatives said.

Funeral services were being planned for this week in Dundalk and on the Eastern Shore.

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