Louis F. Machacek, dry-cleaning owner

March 19, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Louis Francis Machacek, former owner of a Towson dry cleaning and tailoring establishment and a big-band buff, died Sunday of complications from an infection at Stella Maris Hospice in Timonium. He was 87.

Mr. Machacek was born and raised over the family business, Smrcina's Cleaners, which was established in 1913 by his grandfather in the 400 block of York Road.

He was a 1938 graduate of Towson Catholic High School and earned a bachelor's degree in business from Loyola College in 1942.

Mr. Machacek was drafted into the Army Air Forces in 1942, and served in Sioux City, Iowa, and later at Robins Air Force Base near Macon, Ga.

He was discharged at war's end with the rank of sergeant major and returned to Towson, where he owned and operated the family business until selling it in 1978.

Mr. Machacek, who lived on Maryland Avenue in Towson for more than 50 years, was a lifelong musician.

During World War II, he played tenor saxophone and clarinet in the Officers Club Band; after the war, he played with the Peabody Dance Band, Midshipmen and the Debonairs.

Mr. Machacek was also a collector of big-band recordings, as well as movie posters and lobby cards.

"He had thousands of movie posters from the 1930s to 1950s period, and thousands of records," said a daughter, Victoria L. Baty of Little River, S.C.

He was also an avid Colts, Orioles and Ravens fan.

"For years, he had season tickets on the 50-yard line at old Memorial Stadium and never missed a home game," Ms. Baty said.

Mr. Machacek was a longtime communicant of Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Baltimore and Ware avenues, Towson, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today.

Also surviving are his wife of more than 50 years, the former Elizabeth "Betsy" Barron; another daughter, Constance E. Lassiter of Greenough, Mont.; a sister, Anita M. Aidt of Towson; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

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