George F. Bamford Jr., a World War II veteran and automotive entrepreneur, died of congestive heart failure Dec. 26 at the Berlin Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The Ocean Pines resident was 86.
Born in his family's Dundalk house, Mr. Bamford was raised in Edgemere. He was a 1939 graduate of Sparrows Point High School and went to work as a mechanic's assistant at his father's auto shop, Service Filling Station on North Point Boulevard.
He enlisted in the Army in October 1942, seven months before marrying Norma Entwistle in April 1943. He shipped out for the Pacific a year later with the 77th Infantry Division's signal corps. Once overseas, Mr. Bamford was responsible for delivering messages from headquarters to the front lines during the battles of Guam, Okinawa and the Philippines, according to his son, Douglas Bamford of Street.
Mr. Bamford was also present when a sniper shot and killed Col. Douglas McNair, chief of staff of the 77th Infantry Division, on Guam, his son said. He helped transport the colonel's body after the attack.
After the war, Mr. Bamford served with occupation forces in Japan. He returned to the Baltimore area after leaving the Army in December 1945.
Upon his return, he was trained as a mechanic and took over his father's business. He expanded the company to include a used-car dealership called Maryland Motors. But competition eventually drove him to fold the firm in 1963 and take a job with Hudson Oil Co.
In 1970, he started a new job with Crown Central Petroleum Corp. as a district manager of all of the company's gasoline stations in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He was also regional manager for new construction.
His wife of 34 years - with whom he had three sons - died in 1977. In 1982, he married Viola Kuhn. She died three years later.
In 1985 he retired from Crown and traveled the nation in a Winnebago, his son said. In Ocean Pines, he was known for riding his bicycle and talking to anyone who had the time.
"He could talk about anything with anyone," his son said.
But his favorite hobby was reading every story in the newspaper.
"He read it all the time," Douglas Bamford said.
Mr. Bamford was a commander of the Sparrows Point American Legion and a member of Inverness Presbyterian Church, the Optimist Club and the Balco Pleasure Club. During the Vietnam War, in which Douglas Bamford served, Mr. Bamford served on the draft board.
He was buried at Holly Hill Memorial Gardens on Monday.
Survivors also include two other sons, George F. Bamford III of New York City and Michael Bamford of Joppatowne; a stepson, John M. Kuhn Jr. of Ocean Pines; a stepdaughter, Susan A. Kuhn of Baltimore; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.