Jacob E.B. Sites, 72, maintenance chief, veteran

May 02, 2004

Jacob E.B. Sites, a retired apartment maintenance manager and Navy veteran, died April 25 of lung cancer at his Ellicott City home. He was 72.

Mr. Sites was born in Harrisburg, Pa., and was 6 weeks old when his mother died of complications from his birth. When he was 10, his steelworker father placed him in a church home in Mechanicsburg, Pa., where daily chores included milking cows before school and working in fields after school.

When Mr. Sites was 16, he lied about his age to enlist in the Navy. "He was patriotic. He wanted to be in the service," said his son Jacob L. Sites of Ellicott City. Mr. Sites was stationed in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. Before he was discharged as a boatswain mate third class in 1952, he married Arlene Sheetz.

Mr. Sites was a Harrisburg police officer for four years before working in maintenance at AMP, a Harrisburg company that built airplanes. After a decade there, he joined the Town & Country Apartments chain in Harrisburg. He transferred to Ellicott City, where he spent most of his 23 years with the company.

"He taught himself everything. He wasn't a book-educated man but very smart in every other way," his son said.

After raising a family of three children, Mr. Sites and his wife divorced in 1974. Arlene Sites died 20 years ago.

Mr. Sites retired in 1989 as the head of maintenance for more than 1,700 apartments. Mr. Sites took a part-time job at the 7-Eleven convenience store on Frederick Road in Ellicott City. His son said his father was a cashier who knew all the regulars.

For the past eight years, Mr. Sites vacationed for two months each winter with a group of friends in Hawaii, where he regularly visited Pearl Harbor.

He was found in December to have lung cancer and underwent chemotherapy. "He was his own man. He wanted to live and die in his own house. He died in own bed," his son said.

Mr. Sites was a Ravens and NASCAR fan and a member of the Elks Club.

A memorial service was held yesterday.

In addition to his son, Mr. Sites is survived by another son, Thomas Sites of Harrisburg, Pa.; a daughter, Kathleen Merrow of Mechanicsburg, Pa.; a brother, Albert Sites of Harrisburg, Pa.; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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