Gilbert Lee Randall, 80, city firefighter

March 13, 2006

Gilbert Lee Randall, a retired Baltimore firefighting lieutenant who had been one of the masterminds of the famous holiday train garden at his Glen Avenue station house, died of lung cancer Tuesday at his Owings Mills home. He was 80 and had learned of his illness two weeks earlier.

Mr. Randall was born in Baltimore and left school after 11th grade, according to his son Duane Randall of Garrison.

He served in the Army from 1944 to 1945 and was seriously injured during an air attack in Italy. He recuperated in a hospital in Italy for about a year, but his injuries left him with a shortened leg and scars on his face. He was awarded the Purple Heart.

He joined the Baltimore City Fire Department after the war and spent most of his career at the Glen Avenue station of Engine 45, Truck 27, in Mount Washington.

Mr. Randall spoke less about fighting fires than he did about his beloved holiday train garden, his son said. He was one of the people responsible for reviving the holiday tradition that draws thousands of visitors each year.

He retired as a lieutenant almost two decades ago, after he injured his knee while fighting a fire, his son said.

His wife of 56 years, the former Eugenia Mulligan, died in 2003.

Services were Saturday.

In addition to his son, he is survived by two daughters, Kaye Randall and Patrice Ryan, both of Owings Mills; another son, Dennis Randall of Savannah, Ga.; a sister, Joan Julio of Reisterstown; and seven grandchildren.

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