George Edward "Hunky" Sauerhoff (Baltimore Sun )
George Edward "Hunky" Sauerhoff, a political aide and fundraiser who was the founder and president of the Loyal Sons of Pigtown, died May 12 of heart failure at FutureCare Cherrywood Healthcare and Rehabilitation Centre in Reisterstown.
The unofficial mayor of Pigtown was 79.
Mr. Sauerhoff, one of 10 children, was the son of an Army veteran who fought in both World Wars and Korea and a homemaker. He was born in Pigtown and raised on McHenry Street, in a rowhouse across the alley from Babe Ruth's Emery Street rowhouse.
He attended Southern High School and left to help support his family.
"Hunky left school and became a courier for Dun & Bradstreet delivering papers," said a brother, Elmer "Buddy" Sauerhoff of Catonsville. "When he was 16, he ran away and joined the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, where he was trained as a paratrooper."
After completing 28 jumps, Mr. Sauerhoff was found out, his brother said.
"They found out he was underage and they gave him an honorable discharge. That was 1949," his brother said.
Mr. Sauerhoff returned to Pigtown, where he made a living doing odd jobs, and in the early 1950s, became an amateur boxer.
"Hunky only had three fights and then he quit. He was a tough lightweight and fought for the Southwest Boys Club," said his brother, who was also an amateur boxer and fight promoter.
In a 1995 interview with The Baltimore Sun, Hunky Sauerhoff recalled a bout in Lancaster, Pa.
"I got hit so hard, I was back on Pratt Street before I knew where I was. Believe me, I know who's a good fighter. This guy's a fighter," he said.
Mr. Sauerhoff, a free spirit who usually never roamed far from his beloved Pigtown, decided years ago to go to Florida on vacation, which resulted in a one-way bus ticket back to Southwest Baltimore.
He went to a dog track and placed a rather large bet. It wasn't long before Mr. Sauerhoff's dog was left in the dust — when somebody threw a cat onto the track, which scattered the dogs and resulted in the race being canceled. All evidence seemingly pointed to Mr. Sauerhoff, who was asked by the police to get out of Florida.
"I got blamed for it," Mr. Sauerhoff told The Baltimore Sun in a 1997 interview. "They put me on a bus and made me get out of Florida. Everybody in Pigtown knows about it. A friend of mine told me the other day, 'Hey Hunk, I got two alley cats, let's go to Florida.' But them days are over, see?"
It was his role as a political fundraiser and campaign aide that made Mr. Sauerhoff indispensable to any candidate who wished to gather support and votes from Pigtown.
Mr. Sauerhoff operated out of Sid's Tavern on Washington Boulevard, his longtime "office," where he could be found seemingly day or night, talking up candidates, yelling into the phone and promoting charity events for such organizations as Angels Heaven.
He also had "branch offices" at J & D Barbershop on Hammonds Ferry Road, and at Carl's Little House, a bar and restaurant at Ostend and Hamburg streets, and Jack's Bar on Washington Boulevard.
Mr. Sauerhoff roamed the streets of Pigtown banging on doors and asking homeowners if he could put his candidate's sign in their yard or front window. He was hired by the Stonewall Democratic Club to place signs or remove them.
"I first met Hunky in 1979 when I first ran for office," said Joseph J. DiBlasi, a former Baltimore city councilman. "He told me he liked me but he was supporting the incumbent."
One morning, Mr. DiBlasi was surprised to see piles of his signs uprooted and stacked in front of his campaign headquarters, with a note from Mr. Sauerhoff explaining what he had done and pointing out that that's not how politics are carried out in Southwest Baltimore.
"He was real proud that he had helped my opponents. We did become fast friends, and in the following election he came on board with me," said Mr. DiBlasi.
"He was a tremendous tireless worker and extremely loyal and smart. He'd go door-to-door, organize rallies, and put up signs," said Mr. DiBlasi. "He had a lot of political moxie and was the kind of guy I went to for advice. In the political world, he had the gift of intelligence. If you had Hunky on your side, then you had it made."
Mr. DiBlasi said Mr. Sauerhoff was known for the great Pigtown anthem, which he sang all the time — "Pigtown Is Gonna Shine Tonight."
"It's akin to the old Baltimore Colts fight song, and when Hunky sang 'Pigtown Is Gonna Shine Tonight,' it would bring a tear to your eye," he said.
Mr. Sauerhoff was the founder of the Loyal Sons of Pigtown and for years handed out membership cards to the folks he met. There were no dues or meetings, and the only thing it entitled a member to was friendship with Hunky Sauerhoff.
Because of failing health, Mr. Sauerhoff had spent the past 12 years in local nursing homes.
"It says in the Bible, 'In my Father's house there are many mansions,'" said Mr. DiBlasi, "and I'm sure Hunky is busy working the precincts."
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. June 1 at Bethany Lutheran Church, 1022 Haverhill Road, Violetville.
In addition to his brother, Mr. Sauerhoff is survived by two sons, Ed Sauerhoff of Baltimore and John Sauerhoff of Washington; two daughters, Karen Bevers of Elkridge and Shelly Campbell of Blanco, Texas; another brother, Ronald Sauerhoff of Baltimore; two sisters, Delores Bohager of Lansdowne and Betty Puig of Arbutus; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. His marriage to the former Joan "Mickey" Talmage ended in divorce.