Clinton Pettiford, 82

Career ATF agent

June 14, 2007

Clinton Pettiford Sr., a retired Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agent and civil rights advocate, died June 7 of a cerebral hemorrhage at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The longtime Baltimore resident was 82.

Mr. Pettiford was born in Harmans, Anne Arundel County, and raised in Baltimore, where he graduated from Frederick Douglass High School.

He enlisted in the Army in 1943 and served stateside as a marksman until being honorably discharged as a corporal in 1944.

In 1947, Mr. Pettiford joined the U.S. Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in Washington, where he worked for 35 years as an agent until retiring in 1982.

Mr. Pettiford participated in the historic March on Washington in 1963 and the demonstrations at Gwynn Oak Park.

"He was a strong-spirited activist for the civil rights of African-Americans and [against] the injustices that were occurring in his lifetime," said a daughter, Brenda B. Jones of Columbia. "He had high expectations for his children and grandchildren."

The longtime West Monroe Street resident commuted to Washington over the years by bus, car and train.

"By far, he preferred the train because he was a strategic competitor at the pinochle table and played with a regular group of commuters," Mrs. Jones said.

Mr. Pettiford enjoyed dancing in the "old-school way," his daughter said.

He was also a jazz enthusiast and particularly liked Ruby Glover and Ethel Ennis recordings.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Epworth United Methodist Chapel, 3317 St. Luke's Lane.

Also surviving are his wife of 62 years, the former Anne Virginia Thomas; a son, Clinton Pettiford Jr. of Baltimore; another daughter, Jocelyn V. Robinson of Ellicott City; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

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