Roland Thomas Burns, a career U.S. Postal Service employee and World War II veteran, died of a heart attack Tuesday at Edenwald retirement community in Towson. The former city resident was 99.
He began his career as a letter carrier and retired as a supervisor of vehicle maintenance, having worked at the agency for 48 years.
Mr. Burns was born and raised in West Baltimore. After his four siblings and his father died before he turned 18, he left school and began working to help support his mother.
He worked for the postal service from 1929 until 1943, when, at the age of 35, he was drafted into the Army.
In 1944, he asked to return home to be with his ailing mother. The Army denied the request and his mother died in September of that year, said a cousin, Mary Cavey of Lewes, Del.
In his letters, he wrote that he last remembered his mother waving to him on their porch as he left for war on a streetcar, Ms. Cavey said.
In 1945 the French government awarded Mr. Burns, a sergeant, the Croix de Guerre for his service in the liberation of France, Ms. Cavey said.
Upon his return to Baltimore that year he married Ethel Marie Jennings. The couple had no children.
He retired from the Postal Service in 1973 and worked as a courier for a local bank before retiring with his wife to Edenwald in 1979.
His wife died in 1989.
Services were held Saturday.