Leonard B. Swiss Baltimore firefighter


A Mass of Christian burial for Leonard B. Swiss, a retired lieutenant with the Baltimore Fire Department, will be offered at 9 a.m. tomorrow at the Roman Catholic Church of the Annunciation, McCormick Avenue, Rosedale.

Mr. Swiss, who lived in Northeast Baltimore, died of complications following heart surgery Christmas evening at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was 78.

The Baltimore native graduated from the Virginia Military Institute and attended the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy for a year before joining the Fire Department in 1938.

He had worked at several engine houses around Baltimore by the time he retired from the No. 26 Truck Company on Mannasota Avenue in 1977 with the rank of lieutenant -- a title he had held for 27 years.

Dedicated to his profession, Mr. Swiss kept about 20 scrapbooks filled with news clippings of multi-alarm fires dating back to the great Baltimore fire of 1904.

At one time, he also wrote a weekly column about the history of the Baltimore's firefighting departments in a small newspaper on the east side called the Baltimore Guide.

Mr. Swiss' stations never came in worse than second in interdepartmental contests promoting fire safety back in the 1960s. One of his slogans -- "Don't Make an Ash of Yourself" -- won first place.

Mr. Swiss also had served on the board of the Fire Prevention Bureau and often took time to visit ele- mentary schools to talk about fire safety.

His wife of 52 years, the former Bertha C. Studzinski, died in 1987.

He is survived by two sons, Mark Swiss of Rosedale and Jeffrey Swiss of Baltimore; a daughter, Marcia B. Lyons of Baltimore; and three grandchildren and a great-grandson.

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