William F. Laukaitis Postmaster, magistrate


A Mass of Christian burial for William F. Laukaitis, a former magistrate who served as Baltimore's postmaster for nine years, will be offered at 9 a.m. tomorrow at St. Philip Neri Roman Catholic Church, 6405 Orchard Road, Linthicum Heights.

Mr. Laukaitis, who was 90 and lived in Homeland, died Wednesday at the Meridian Nursing Center-Homewood of complications from a broken hip.

He returned to the practice of law for several years after his retirement from the post office in 1966. He had become postmaster in 1957, two years after resigning as Baltimore's chief police magistrate. He held that post for four years, and had been chief traffic magistrate from 1937 until 1939 after serving as a traffic magistrate for two years.

As chief traffic magistrate, he had campaigned against the reduction of drunken-driving charges by police superiors and introduced multicopy ticket books to combat ticket-fixing.

His career in government began in 1928, when he began a four-year job as an assistant city solicitor.

Although he held many appointive public offices, Mr. Laukaitis was unsuccessful in politics -- losing a 1923 campaign for the House of Delegates, a 1947 campaign for city comptroller, a 1952 race for the 7th Congressional District seat and the 1955 GOP mayoral primary.

In addition to his law practice and public posts, he served for many years as president of the Standard Savings and Loan Association and was active in ethnic and civic organizations.

During World War II, he served as an appeal agent for a local draft board and received government citations.

After the war, he was named chairman of a committee established by the governor to help resettle displaced people.

He was supreme president of the Lithuanian Alliance of America from 1944 until 1952, and founder of the Baltic American Society of Maryland.

A former vice president of the Lithuanian-American Council of the United States, he chaired its delegation to the San Francisco Conference of the United Nations, representing the views on postwar Europe of not only Americans of Lithuanian descent but also those of other Baltic states such as Latvia and Estonia.

Born in Baltimore, he was a 1917 graduate of City College and a 1921 graduate of the University of Maryland law school.

He also earned bachelor of arts, master's and doctoral degrees in legal subjects at the National University in Washington. In addition, he attended Milton University in Baltimore and did graduate work in political science at the Johns Hopkins University.

In addition to English, he spoke Lithuanian, Polish and Russian, and some French and German.

His wife, the former Ruth L. Ireland, died in 1989.

He is survived by a brother, Edward T. Laukaitis of Columbia; three sisters, Sophia V. Jakubs, Lillian H. Klishis and Doris M. Reaney, all of Baltimore Highlands; and several nieces and nephews.

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