Joseph T. D'Alesandro, 66, son and brother of Baltimore mayors

April 25, 2004|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Joseph T. D'Alesandro Sr., a retired city courthouse administrator and the son and a brother of Baltimore mayors, died of esophageal cancer Friday at Manor Care Towson. An Ocean City resident for the past nine years, he was 66.

Born into a prominent Baltimore political family, he was the youngest child of the late Annunciata and Thomas J. D'Alesandro Jr., mayor of Baltimore from 1947 to 1959. His brother Thomas J. D'Alesandro III served as mayor from 1967 to 1971. His sister, Rep. Nancy D'Alesandro Pelosi, the U.S. House of Representatives minority leader, lives in San Francisco.

Born in Baltimore and raised in his family's Little Italy home, he was a 1955 graduate of Mount St. Joseph's High School and earned a mathematics degree from Loyola College. He attended the University of Baltimore School of Law and served in the Army.

He was an administrator at the courthouse in downtown Baltimore for 35 years, and for much of that time organized and stored the medical records used in malpractice and personal injury cases. He also headed a project to recodify those records.

"Joe was a person you could always rely upon but was a person who also knew people and could tell the source of a problem," said retired Circuit Judge Thomas Ward. "He had the ability to get to the root of an issue without a big song and dance. I liked him."

Mr. D'Alesandro was a well-known figure at Courthouse East.

"Joe worked for us for a long time, and he did his job well," said Joseph H.H. Kaplan, chief judge of the Circuit Court for Baltimore and the former administrative judge. "He was easy to get along with. He made sure the [flow of] records never got slowed down. Even though he retired some years ago, we still miss him here."

For many years, Mr. D'Alesandro officiated at civil marriages when the clerk of the court assigned him to that duty.

"I used to call him Marrying Sam," said his brother, former Mayor Thomas J. D'Alesandro III. "He married thousands of people but never offered them advice."

Mr. D'Alesandro lived for many years with his parents in their Little Italy home. As they aged, he took care of them.

"Both my mother and my father died in his arms," his brother said. "He was a loving man, friendly and gentle.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Leo the Great Roman Catholic Church, 227 S. Stiles St.

Survivors also include a son, Joseph T. D'Alesandro Jr., and two other brothers, Franklin D'Alesandro and Nicholas D'Alesandro, both of Baltimore.

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