Charles W. Wetzelberger, 71, Baltimore firefighter

January 27, 2004

Charles W. "Buck" Wetzelberger, a retired Baltimore firefighter and decorated Korean War veteran, died of renal failure Friday at Franklin Square Hospital Center. The Rosedale resident was 71.

Born in Baltimore and raised in the Hampden neighborhood, Mr. Wetzelberger attended city public schools. He enlisted in the Army in 1949 and served in Korea as a medic.

"Buck went out to help a group of guys who were in a cave and was shot in the leg. He was awarded both the Purple Heart and Silver Star," said a brother-in-law, Jim Moran, a retired city Fire Department medic.

He was also awarded the Bronze Star, and returned to Baltimore after his discharge in 1952.

Mr. Wetzelberger began his career in 1955 with the old Municipal Ambulance Service. He served at Engine 21 in Roland Park and transferred to Engine 3 on Pulaski Highway as a pump operator. He retired in 1987.

Mr. Wetzelberger was an active member and former vice president of Baltimore Fire Fighters Local 734. He was also a former president of the Retired Fire Officers and Fire Fighters Association.

He was an avid golfer.

Mr. Wetzelberger was a communicant of Roman Catholic Church of the Annunciation, 5212 McCormick Ave., Rosedale, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

Surviving are his wife of 40 years, the former Filomena M. Pennacchia; a son, Ambrose B. Wetzelberger of Parkville; five brothers, Frederick Wetzelberger of Ocean City, John Wetzelberger and David Wetzelberger, both of Baltimore, Paul Wetzelberger of Finksburg and Daniel Wetzelberger of Reisterstown; four sisters, Elizabeth Noland of Summerfield, Fla., Ruth Meeker of Monkton, Claire Moran of Beverly Hills, Fla., and Frieda McCloskey of Baltimore; and a half-brother, Carroll Ervin of Miami.

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