Frank Charles Raymond, 85, cabdriver, danced in contests

July 26, 2004|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

Frank Charles Raymond, a retired cabdriver and longtime Northeast Baltimore resident who loved to dance to big-band music, died of cardiac arrest July 19 at Genesis Eldercare's Loch Raven Center. He was 85.

Mr. Raymond was one of 10 children born to Italian immigrants who had made their home in Baltimore. He got his first job as a 5-year-old, selling newspapers on street corners with his brothers, said his daughter Denise Raymond of Hampden.

He dropped out of school after sixth grade to help support his family. He worked at a produce stand run by the family through his teen years.

He married Carolyn Marcella Wasyskowski in 1940, after a courtship supported by money he won in dance contests.

With their first child not yet a year old, he enlisted in the Army in 1940. He fought in Italy and Germany during World War II, and while in the service won a featherweight boxing contest - and a charm in the shape of a pair of boxing gloves, his daughter said.

When he returned to Baltimore, he began work as a cabdriver, first with Yellow Cab, and later, after he bought his own car, with Checker Cab Co.

Mr. Raymond, who lived in the Ramblewood neighborhood, drove a cab for more than 40 years, ferrying thousands of Baltimore residents - sometimes on long-distance treks, his daughter said.

"He used to take this one rich woman to Chicago and New York City," Ms. Raymond said. "He would take her wherever she wanted to go."

He sprayed the leather seats in the back of his cab with furniture oil to make it easier for elderly clients to slide in and out, she said.

He took his family on annual trips to the Eastern Shore and his wife on frequent jaunts to Las Vegas. An avid card player, he especially loved pinochle.

His wife died three weeks before him, of pneumonia, at the same nursing home.

Services for Mr. Raymond were held Thursday.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by two other daughters, Barbara Raymond of Baltimore and Joyce Romano of Whiteford, Harford County; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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