Harry Routson Jr., veteran, port worker

January 02, 2009|By Stephanie Desmon

Harry Routson Jr., who worked at the port of Baltimore from age 15, died Dec. 26 at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson of organ failure. He was 91.

Born in Baltimore, he attended Polytechnic Institute until 1932, when he left school to work for Rukert Terminal Corp. at the port. In 1942, he entered the Navy as a chief warrant officer, serving in Puerto Rico overseeing supply shipments to the U.S. fleet in the Pacific and European theaters. On his way to Puerto Rico, Mr. Routson's ship was sunk by a German U-boat. He was one of a group of roughly 20 survivors who spent three days and nights on a life raft without food or water. Eventually, they found land.

His fiancee, Phyllis Franke, was so relieved that Mr. Routson was alive that she found her way to Vieques, Puerto Rico, and the two married on May 14, 1942.

After his discharge from active duty and then the Navy Reserve, Mr. Routson returned to Baltimore in 1946 to work again for Rukert. In 1953, he became superintendent of the company's main Lazaretto Terminal, where he remained until his retirement in 1980.

Mr. Routson was a founding member of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Towson.

Services were held Tuesday.

Mrs. Routson died in 1993. A son, Wayne L. Routson, also preceded him in death.

Survivors include two daughters, Lynn S. Kentner of Frederick and Joyce C. Ey of Towson; six grandchildren; and two great-grandsons.

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