Frank E. Slama, combat Marine, dies

World War II veteran was air conditioning mechanic

  • Frank Slama
Frank Slama
February 01, 2011|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | Baltimore Sun reporter

Frank E. Slama, a decorated World War II combat Marine who fought in some of the conflict's most historic battles, died Friday of renal failure at Rock Spring Village, a Forest Hill assisted-living facility.

The Bel Air resident was 88.

The son of a shoemaker and a homemaker, Mr. Slama was born in Baltimore and raised near Erdman Avenue. He was a 1940 graduate of City College.

Mr. Slama worked as an air conditioning mechanic for several years before enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1942.

As a marksman and member of HQ 2nd Battalion 23rd Marines of the 4th Marine Division, Mr. Slama participated in the capture of Roi-Namur in the Kwajalein Atoll, Saipan and Iwo Jima.

He attained the rank of sergeant, and his decorations included the Silver Star, Purple Heart and a Presidential Unit Citation "for outstanding performance in combat during the seizure of the Japanese held islands of Saipan and Tinian in the Marianas from June 15 to August 1, 1944."

"Every third Thursday of the month, he met other 4th Marine Division veterans for breakfast at a Bob Evans in Baltimore," said a daughter, Susan Yanuk of Bel Air.

After the war, Mr. Slama returned to his old job at Maryland Refrigeration Co., now York Refrigeration Co. He retired in 1992.

He was a duckpin bowler and had enjoyed the sport for 50 years at Seidel's on Bel Air Road. He also was an avid golfer and regularly played at Clifton Park.

Mr. Slama had for years coached Little League at the Shrine of the Little Flower.

He was a communicant of St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church, 533 E. Jarrettsville Road, Forest Hill, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Also surviving are his wife of 59 years, the former Leanora "Lee" Bengermino; two other daughters, Bonnie Bernard of Ellicott City and Maryrose Slama of Bel Air; and five grandchildren.

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