Robert Victor Dallmus

Owner Of Paper Goods Business That Served Baltimore's Market Vendors And Seafood Houses

December 21, 2009|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

Robert Victor Dallmus, the retired owner of a paper goods business who served stall vendors in Baltimore's market system and area seafood houses, died of Parkinson's disease complications Dec. 14 at Oak Crest Village. The former Towson resident was 93.

Born in Baltimore and raised near Clifton Park, he was a 1934 Polytechnic Institute graduate. He earned a degree at the old Baltimore College of Commerce. During World War II, he was a boatswain's mate in the Coast Guard and was stationed in Puerto Rico, St. Lucia and Trinidad, among other places.

While attending a fraternity dance at the old Park Plaza on Charles Street in 1948, he met his future wife, the former Teresa Smolek.

He joined the old Maryland Twine and Paper Co. business on Ensor Street in the Oldtown section of downtown Baltimore. After the death of its owner, Mr. Dallmus purchased the firm and became its president. He changed its name to the Maryland Paper Co. after merchants stopped using twine to secure parcels.

"He was honest to a fault," said his son, Christopher L. Dallmus of Acton, Mass. "He was the Eagle Scout he never was. He also loved to work. He was out of the house at 4:30 in the morning."

Mr. Dallmus' early hours, his son said, were determined by the truck farmers who came into Baltimore and set up stalls outside the old Belair Market on Gay Street. Before dawn, he walked among them, taking orders for paper bags known as numbers fives, sixes or sevens, a reference to their pound capacity.

"It didn't make sense for these vendors to buy a whole wrapper of 250 bags," his son said. "My father would take an order on a pad for as many bags as they needed, go to his truck and make up the order. He wore a cloth change bag on his belt and collected the money. He would be finished by 7 a.m."

Mr. Dallmus also served the other city markets, including Lexington, Northeast, Pennsylvania Avenue, Cross Street and North Avenue.

He also had unusual customers, said another son, Stephen R. Dallmus of Baltimore. He sold large rolls of paper to the painting department at the old General Motors plant on Broening Highway. The paper was used to mask paint jobs on vehicles made at the plant.

Mr. Dallmus also sold paper products to scores of Baltimore's corner stores, bakeries and neighborhood markets. When Gabler's Shore Restaurant in Perryman needed rolls of brown paper to cover tables for customers breaking the shells on crabs, he found the right size product. He also delivered piles of paper napkins.

"He got into a lot of Baltimore kitchens and knew which ones were clean and which ones were not," his son Stephen said. "As a result, one of his favorite places to eat was the old Karson's Inn on Holabird Avenue. He knew it was stainless steel and tile and that it was hosed down daily."

In 1972, he sold his business to a competitor, the Leonard Paper Co., and worked for it until his retirement in 1986.

He played at the Hunt Valley Golf Club. He also enjoyed washing his car on Saturdays.

In addition to his two sons, survivors include two grandchildren. His wife of nearly 50 years died in 1996.

Services were held Friday.

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