Raymond Ernest Callegary, an attorney who practiced in downtown Baltimore for nearly 60 years, died of a brain hemorrhage Saturday at Stella Maris Hospice. He was 88 and lived in Timonium.
Born in Baltimore, he was the son of Ernest Callegary, a barber born in Italy, and the former Alice DeBussieres, a homemaker. The family lived on West Lafayette Avenue, and Mr. Callegary attended St. Martin's School. During the Depression, he delivered newspapers, including the old Baltimore News-Post and a German-language paper, the Deutsche Correspondent.
As a teen, Mr. Callegary belonged to the United Boys Brigade, a marching unit attached to the Bishop Cummins Reformed Episcopal Church. One of his friends was William Donald Schaefer, who later became mayor and governor.
At age 17, Mr. Callegary enlisted in the Navy. He took a family member along to a recruitment office to overstate his age. He was assigned to the Bainbridge Training Station near Port Deposit. He became a radio operator and served on the Landing Ship Tank 730 in the Pacific. He later told family members about the experience of decoding a message that World War II had ended.
"No one knew about it and he said it took the Japanese three days to learn of the surrender," said his daughter, Barbara Dembeck.
After the war, he returned to Baltimore and joined the American Legion. In 2007, he was selected to meet Queen Elizabeth at the dedication of the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. He also met Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
He served as department commander of the American Legion for the State of Maryland, as well as judge advocate. He was also the longtime director of the Legion's Maryland Boys State, a civics program attended by high school students at McDaniel College.
He met his future wife, Lee Klages, in his West Baltimore neighborhood.
"He lived on Lafayette Avenue and I lived in the same block of Lanvale Street," she said. "We met and a couple of weeks later he took me to a movie at the Bridge Theatre."
In the 1940s, Mr. Callegary enrolled in the University of Maryland School of Law.
"This was quite an accomplishment," said his daughter, an attorney who worked with her father. "He completed the eighth grade and never attended high school."
Mr. Callegary received his law diploma in 1951, and was admitted to the Maryland Bar. In 1952, Mr. Callegary and his brother, Claude, also an attorney, formed the firm of Callegary & Callegary. They purchased buildings on St. Paul Place near the Orleans Street Viaduct and operated their firm.
"He was advocating for his clients until last month," said his daughter, who lives in Eldersburg. "My father's focus was workers' compensation. He was an old-fashioned kind of lawyer. A handshake sealed a deal with him. One of his clients knitted him an afghan."
His daughter said Mr. Callegary often worked for people injured on the job or who were seeking Social Security benefits.
"His clients were generally the disadvantaged," his daughter said. "But in the field of workers' comp, he was the go-to man."
Mr. Callegary never retired and retained his original rowhouse offices. He worked alongside his brother, who practiced criminal and negligence law. He was later joined by his daughter and a son, Dennis B. Callegary, a paralegal who lives in Catonsville.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, 103 Church Lane in Cockeysville. He was a parish lay incorporator, a Eucharistic minister and an usher.
In addition to his wife of 67 years, a homemaker and former Baltimore and Ohio Railroad worker, and his daughter, son and brother, survivors include another son, Raymond K. Callegary of Westminster; two other daughters, Nancy Waldt of Timonium and Joan Callegary-Ohl of Kingsville; 13 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.