Charles A. Frainie

[Age 81] Journalist wrote for Stars and Stripes and USA Today.

March 19, 2007|By Doug Donovan | Doug Donovan,Sun Reporter

Charles A. Frainie, a writer and World War II veteran, died of congestive heart failure Saturday at his home in Hixson, Tenn. He was 81.

Born and raised in Baltimore County's Rodgers Forge neighborhood, Mr. Frainie graduated from Loyola High School in 1943.

He enlisted in the Army Air Forces and served as a tail-gunner on a B-24 bomber. In 1944, his plane was shot down over Germany. He escaped to England with the help of French underground forces, said his son Mike Frainie of Reisterstown.

After the war, Mr. Frainie worked at various posts around the world for the Air Force. During the Vietnam War, he wrote for Stars and Stripes, befriending fellow journalist Dan Rather, according to his son.

He retired from the Air Force as a master sergeant in 1971 and began working as a sports reporter at the Daily Press of Newport News, Va.

He left that job in 1979 and returned to the Baltimore area, where he worked as a technical writer for the Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory.

The Woodlawn resident also worked as a freelance writer for the Associated Press, United Press International and USA Today. In addition, his interest in sports landed him a part-time job leading the statistical crew for the Baltimore Colts. That job required him to provide statistics to reporters working in the press box on game days.

He also worked as a penalty timekeeper for Baltimore's former minor-league hockey teams, the Clippers and the Skipjacks.

After retiring in 1993, Mr. Frainie was a prolific letter writer to The Sun. One such letter, a critique of then-Gov. William Donald Schaefer, spurred the former Baltimore mayor to call Mr. Frainie at home.

"I never knew who won that argument, but I guarantee you the governor knew my father's opinion when the call was done," Mike Frainie wrote in an e-mail. "He lived such a rich life, with so many experiences. He had a story for everything, and an opinion on most things."

As his health deteriorated, Mr. Frainie and his wife, Ruth, moved in September 2003 to live with their son Edward Frainie in Hixson, a suburb of Chattanooga, Tenn.

A memorial Mass will be held at Williamson Funeral Home in Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

In addition to his wife and sons, Mr. Frainie is survived by a daughter, Ellen Taylor of Phenix City, Ala.; five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.

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