Louis Clemens, 89, director of postal training, active in senior citizen causes

September 27, 2004|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

Louis E. Clemens, a retired postal training director who was active in senior citizen causes, died Friday of heart failure at the Millersville home of his daughter. He was 89.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Mura Street, Mr. Clemens married Clara E. Kratzmeier in 1942. They lived in the Waverly section of Baltimore, where they raised four children before moving to Rodgers Forge after retiring.

Mr. Clemens studied business administration at the University of Baltimore and worked during World War II as an assistant chief engineer at the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard at Sparrows Point.

Most of his working years, however, were spent with the U.S. Postal Service in downtown Baltimore, where he served as director of training and development for 27 years before retiring in 1975. He also volunteered his time as an officer in several professional organizations, including the Maryland Society of Training Directors and the American Society of Training and Development.

Family members said Mr. Clemens remained busy in retirement.

"He often said, `I've been retired as long as I worked,'" recalled his daughter Regina Corbin of Finksburg. "Oh, he was a very active volunteer."

In the weeks before the income tax filing deadline each April, Mr. Clemens donated his time to a federal program that helped seniors complete their tax forms.

He lobbied state legislators in Annapolis and members of Congress in Washington on behalf of seniors.

And he helped found the Baltimore County Association of Senior Citizen Associations, an umbrella group designed to coordinate the efforts of clubs and services for the elderly.

"He's told me how he went from one senior meeting place at a church hall to another senior meeting place and tried to organize people," Mrs. Corbin said of her father. "It gave seniors a place to go when they needed to know what services were available. A lot of counties have departments of aging now, but they didn't back then."

Mr. Clemens also served as president of AARP Chapter 2360 in Rodgers Forge from 1975 to 1983. He edited the monthly newsletter of the local chapter of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees. Gov. Harry Hughes appointed him to represent Maryland at the 1981 White House Conference on the Aging.

In recognition of his service, Mr. Clemens was inducted into the Maryland Senior Citizens Hall of Fame and awarded the organization's Geri Award for humanitarian service.

He also was active in community groups, volunteering with the Waverly Improvement Association and helping to arrange the Greater Northeast Baltimore Association's annual July Fourth fireworks displays at Memorial Stadium.

Mr. Clemens had a driver's license but never drove. He learned to pass the driving test only to qualify for a license as a means of identification, Mrs. Corbin said. He relied on public transportation, carpools and rides from friends and family throughout his life.

Mr. Clemens moved from Rodgers Forge to the Oak Crest Village retirement community in Parkville in 1997, two years after his wife of 53 years died. He resided there until May, when he moved in with his daughter Mary Clemens in Millersville.

A funeral will be held at 10 a.m. today at the Mitchell-Wiedefeld Funeral Home, 6500 York Road.

In addition to his two daughters, he is survived by another daughter, Bernadette Clemens Walatka of Cincinnati; a son, Paul Clemens of Baltimore; a brother, John Clemens of Barefoot Bay, Fla.; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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