Joseph R. Sanchez Sr., a retired ironworker who earlier in his life had been an award-winning pugilist, died March 26 from sepsis at Greater Baltimore Medical Center.
The Essex resident was 86.
The son of Manuel Macia Sanchez, a Bethlehem Steel Corp. worker who supplied crews for its ore ships, and Sophie Krowkowski Sanchez, a homemaker, Joseph Robert Sanchez Sr. was born in Baltimore and raised in Highlandtown.
He attended city public schools through the fifth grade, family members said.
He was amateur boxing heavyweight champion of Maryland in 1947-1948 and the Boston Golden Gloves champion.
He was a heavyweight champion in the Marine Corps while serving from 1948 to 1951. He was also an All-Services champion twice, and was a South Atlantic Association of U.S. Boxing champion.
A Baltimore structural ironworker for 32 years, Mr. Sanchez was a member Ironworkers Local 16.
He was part of a 12-man crew that built the candelabra-like tower that rises 1,319 feet above Television Hill. Other important projects included work on the restoration of the U.S. Capitol dome in Washington, and the second Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
He retired in 1987.
Mr. Sanchez was also co-owner of EMARCO, a company that built the last coke oven at Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point plant, and AS&L. the two companies supplied structural ironworkers who worked mainly at Sparrows Point. He retired from those two companies in 2013.
A longtime Mason, he served as master of the Warren Lodge for four years.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. April 22 at the Maryland Masonic Home, 300 International Circle, Hunt Valley.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, the former Dorothy Elizabeth Crowfoot; a son, Jerome Crowfoot Sanchez of Delta, Pa.; a sister, Dorothy Lopez of Hunt Valley; two grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Another son, Joseph R. Sanchez Jr. died in 2005.
—Frederick N. Rasmussen