Clemens A. Tittel Jr., 76, harbormaster

November 11, 2005|By JACQUES KELLY | JACQUES KELLY,SUN REPORTER

Clemens Arthur Tittel Jr., the retired city markets supervisor and harbormaster who in the 1960s opened a floating furniture store on a Fells Point barge, died of a heart ailment Monday at his Towson home. He was 76.

Born in Baltimore, and raised here and in Philadelphia and New Orleans, where his father taught ROTC classes, he was a 1947 graduate of City College.

He played sports for many years, and in 1954 won judo honors in the American Athletic Union's South Atlantic's division. While serving in the Army in Germany he played on a military football team and was later a member of the Maryland Physical Fitness Commission.

In 1963, he opened a store in a former maritime YMCA building and vinegar works, now the Admiral Fell Inn, and sold Scandinavian and Indian furniture. Two years later he bought a 36-year-old former cement barge in New York and moved it to Thames Street at the foot of Broadway. He fitted it as a store and named his venture the Dockside Furniture Barge and later Foreign Market.

"Customers can get a good look at the harbor and view passing freighters," he told a Sun reporter in 1965. He closed the business in 1972.

"He was always an entrepreneur and a business pioneer in Fells Point. I don't know how many floating furniture stores you had then," said his son, Christian A. Tittel of Towson. "He was taking a fairly large risk at that time."

Mr. Tittel became the campaign manager for Baltimore Comptroller Hyman A. Pressman, who named him municipal markets chief and harbormaster in 1973. Mr. Tittel held the post until retiring in 1996.

Widely known as Art Tittel, he oversaw municipal piers and docking fees for boaters and directed the city's public markets - Northeast, Cross Street, Hollins, Lafayette, Broadway and Belair. The job put him in the news when there were stories on merchants' complaints about physical conditions or rent increases.

He also had private and commercial pilot's licenses and taught flying from 1968 to 1988 at what is now Martin State Airport.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1609 Kurtz Ave., Lutherville.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 46 years, the former Elaine N. Metzbower; a daughter, Cyndi A. Eicholtz of Towson; and five grandchildren.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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