Paul L. Hartsock Sr., city Fire Department communications lineman, dies

He also fought during the Korean War

  • Paul L. Hartsock Sr.
Paul L. Hartsock Sr.
March 18, 2011|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | Baltimore Sun reporter

Paul L. "Sarge" Hartsock Sr., a retired Baltimore Fire Department communications lineman and a Korean War veteran, died March 8 of heart failure at Manor Care Ruxton. The Dundalk resident was 81.

The son of a steelworker and a homemaker, Mr. Hartsock was born at home on East Hoffman Street, 45 minutes after midnight on Jan. 1, 1930. The family later moved to North Washington Street.

Mr. Hartsock attended city public schools and left to enlist in the Navy when he was 16.

"When they found out, they let him go. He later enlisted in the Marine Corps," said a son, Paul L. Hartsock Jr. of Edgemere.

Mr. Hartsock fought with the 2nd Marine Division in Korea from 1952 to 1953, when he was discharged and returned to Baltimore.

He worked in the signal department of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad for a decade before joining the city Fire Department's communications bureau in 1963, where he was responsible for the red fire alarm telegraphs that had once been a common sight on city streets and for underground cables.

He also assisted in wiring the City Hall Christmas tree, his son said.

Mr. Hartsock, who was called "Sarge," retired in 1992.

He enjoyed cooking on the grill and entertaining family and friends. "His specialties were fried chicken and firehouse chili," his son said.

He also liked vacationing in Ocean City.

He had been a Cub Scout volunteer during the 1960s and coached baseball for the Bear Creek Recreation Association. He was a longtime member of the Battle Grove Democratic Club and Lynch Point Social Club.

His wife of 39 years, the former Frances M. "Bunky" Brookhart, died in 1992.

He was a communicant of Our Lady of Hope Roman Catholic Church, where a Mass of Christian burial was offered March 12.

Also surviving are another son, William Hartsock Sr. of Dundalk; a daughter, Mary Renee Hartsock of Dundalk; five grandchildren; and two great-granddaughters.

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