Frederick Krauk, 101, owner of label company, local bicycling champion

January 03, 2004|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Frederick Krauk, former owner of Southern Label and Box Corp. and a local bicycling champion, died of pneumonia Tuesday at St. Agnes HealthCare. He was 101.

Mr. Krauk was born in Baltimore and raised near Fells Point, where his father operated a business selling oysters. He attended city public schools.

"He used to deliver oysters while riding on one skate," said a daughter, Lillian M. Thompson of Towson.

Mr. Krauk left school after his mother's death and went to work in 1916 as a delivery boy at Southern Label and Box Corp. in the 100 block of Light St.

"I started work at Southern as a delivery boy. I worked five days a week and a half-day on Saturday for a total of $4. After a year, I got a 50-cent raise," he told The Evening Sun in a 1991 interview.

In 1942, Mr. Krauk bought the company, which printed labels for pharmacists and physicians. He sold the business in 1969 and retired.

His love affair with bicycling began during World War I, when competitive bicycle racing was a popular local sport.

He paid $60 for a black Emblem bicycle, which he described as "pricey," and named it Black Beauty.

Mr. Krauk was a member of the Crescent Bicycle Club and competed against members of other local bike clubs around a cinder track at Patterson Park in one- and five-mile races. Club dues, he recalled, were 15 cents a week, and prizes were bike tires, carbon lights and horns.

He was Baltimore City School Boy bicycling champion from 1916 through 1918.

"We'd win prizes from Little Joe's Bike Shop at Baltimore and Howard streets, and French's Indian Motorcycles and Bikes at 304 West Baltimore," Mr. Krauk said in the interview. "I got a chain and a set of wrenches and a new seat once and that was just great."

In 1925, he married Naomi Resch, a homemaker who died in 1974. For more than 40 years before they moved to Towson, the couple lived in a rowhouse at 502 N. Linwood Ave.

"He eventually gave up bicycling but continued walking. He'd think nothing of walking each day from Linwood Avenue to downtown," Mrs. Thompson said.

Mr. Krauk, who later lived at St. Elizabeth Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Southwest Baltimore, remained active until the end of his life.

"He was a happy soul. I think he attributed his longevity to walking. He had quit smoking when he was 35. He enjoyed an occasional glass of beer, loved oysters and ate anything he wanted," Mrs. Thompson said. "He also had a good and strong mind. And if he was ill, he'd say, `Your mind will heal you.'"

Mr. Krauk enjoyed working on his car and "tinkering" on projects around his home.

He was a member of Calvary Presbyterian Church in Towson and the Boumi Temple.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Krauk is survived by a son, Richard F. Krauk of Catonsville; another daughter, Beverly Ruth Kirby of Jarrettsville; a brother, Louis Krauk of Westminster; eight grandchildren; 17 great-grandchildren; and a great-great granddaughter.

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