Robert Franklin Crouse, a retired Baltimore firefighter and World War II veteran, died of heart disease Oct. 12 at Harbor Hospital. The Brooklyn resident was 83.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Northwest Baltimore, he was a student at Polytechnic Institute when he enlisted in the Navy the day after the attack at Pearl Harbor. He operated a landing craft, a Higgins boat, at Utah Beach at the Allied invasion at Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944.
He was then assigned to the Pacific and served in Japan after its surrender. He later received his diploma from Poly.
As a young man he worked in a family business, Crouse's meats at Lexington Market. He also sold Christmas trees from a lot his family owned at North and Pennsylvania avenues. He also had a delivery route for the News American newspaper.
In 1950 he joined the Baltimore City Fire Department and spent nearly all his time at Engine 57 in Curtis Bay. A specialist in fighting chemical fires, he was awarded commendations for actions in fighting fires. He saved the life of a girl by pulling her from a Brooklyn Homes fire. He retired in 1987.
He simultaneously worked in construction and built homes in Baltimore County and in Severna Park.
He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, Cardinal Gibbons Council Knights of Columbus, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and the Bohemian Club.
"His favorite view of Baltimore was at the top of the hill on 10th Street by the baseball field and Bay Brook Elementary," said his son, Patrick Crouse of Baltimore. "He often said the lights reminded him of a Christmas garden."
In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 61 years, Patricia Eileen McCormick; two additional sons, Michael Crouse of York, Pa., and John Crouse of Halethorpe; a brother, Frank Crouse of Monkton; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
He was a member of St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church in Brooklyn, where a Mass was offered Friday.
- Jacques Kelly