"It was called 'Walter's Fried Chicken,' " his son said. "They named it after him."

Starting in 1952 and continuing until 1995, when his doctor ordered him to stay home because of glaucoma, Mr. Gilliam worked 43 years without missing a day of work, and once went 12 years between vacations.

"When it snowed and the streetcars and buses weren't running, he'd put plastic bags on his shoes," said Mrs. George.

"I'd like to work as long as I can," Mr. Gilliam said in the 1995 article. "Some people might think I'm crazy, but I never had it in my mind to stop working. My father said, 'Work as long as you can.' "

Despite his medical problems, Mr. Gilliam eased into retirement.

"He kept going to Haussner's two days a week to cook, in order to get it out of his system," his son said.

At home, Mr. Gilliam enjoyed cooking for family and friends but wouldn't "tell his cooking secrets," his son said.

Mr. Gilliam described his father as "never raising his voice," and being generous to a fault, the kind of man who opened his home to those who had no place to stay.

"He took care of many kids, and he had eight of his own in a four-room house," he said. "We had relatives and cousins from New York and the South who would come and stay."

He also said his father was a "great storyteller and had them to tell."

Mr. Gilliam had been a fan of the old New York Giants and was a "closet Yankees fan," his son said.

Mr. Gilliam was a member and deacon of United House of Prayer for All People, 3401 Edgewood St., Ashburton, where funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday.

In addition to his son, Mr. Gilliam is survived by his wife of 69 years, the former Josephine Cephas, a retired Baltimore public school special-education teacher; four daughters, Betty Carlos, Dietrich Cabean, Delores Mclean and Beverly Street, all of Baltimore; two brothers, Edward Gilliam of Baltimore and Earl Gilliam of Passaic, N.J.; 29 grandchildren; 31 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by three other sons: Walter Gilliam Jr. died in 1964, George H. Gilliam was killed in Vietnam in 1968, and Jerome Gilliam died in 2008.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com