Alonzo P. Hairston

Alonzo P. Hairston ( / October 9, 2009)

Alonzo P. Hairston, a retired Baltimore lawyer who was one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, died Jan. 30 of a blood clot at ManorCare Health Services in Overland, Kan. The former Original Northwood resident was 94.

The son of the Rev. Robert F. Hairston Sr., founder and pastor of Refuge Baptist Church, and Arizona Clayton Hairston, a homemaker, Alonzo Paul Hairston was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio.

After graduating in 1938 from East High, he attended Bluefield State College in West Virginia on a boxing scholarship, and later West Virginia State University.

When World War II broke out, Mr. Hairston was recruited and sent to Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to be trained as a pilot. At Tuskegee, the nation's first black military pilots were trained by Charles Alfred Anderson, considered the father of black aviation.

Mr. Hairston served as an air operations specialist and pilot instructor. He was discharged with the rank of sergeant in 1945.

After the war, he attended Ohio State University, University of Dayton and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland.

A certified public accountant and real estate broker, he later worked for Ohio's Bureau of Unemployment Compensation and as a state tax examiner.

In 1963, he married the former Helena Hall and moved to Baltimore. In 1970, he earned a law degree from the University of Baltimore when he was 51. In the early 1970s, he was a court commissioner and then joined the Howard Law Firm, an African-American Baltimore law practice.

In 1977, he established Hairston & Associates in the city's Mid-Town Belvedere neighborhood, which specialized in personal injury, corporate, housing, civil rights, family and criminal law, as well as workers' compensation. He retired in the mid-1980s.

He was a member of the Monumental, Baltimore, Maryland, and American bar associations.

He was a director of the National Hairston Clan and was a former board member of the Lillie Carroll Jackson Museum. He was a 32nd-degree Mason, a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and a past president of the Delta Lambda chapter in Baltimore.

He enjoyed hunting on land he owned in Oakland, Garrett County.

Mr. Hairston, who had moved to Kansas City, Mo., and later to Overland, Kan., in 2011, was a member of Faith Baptist Church.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Refuge Baptist Church, 400 N. 20th St. in Columbus. According to the family, no services will be held in Baltimore.

In addition to his wife of 50 years, Mr. Hairston is survived by a son, Paul Hairston of Baltimore; five daughters, Antoinette Hairston-Fulton of Columbus, Paulette Williams of Sacramento, Dr. Valeria Hairston-Ratchford of Milwaukee, Dr. Vernita Hairston-Mitchell of Leawood, Kan., and Dr. Dorothy Elaine Hairston-Saunders of San Diego; a brother, Marvin Hairston of Columbus; a sister, Dorothy Hairston-Crockett of Columbus; 16 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren. His wife, the former Dici Daniels, died in 1961; and another son, Wendell D. Hairston, died in 2011. Three earlier marriages ended in divorce.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com