Edward J. Kabara Sr., a retired assistant city solicitor who helped get an East Baltimore church built, died Thursday of congestive heart failure at the University of Maryland Medical Center. He was 75.
He was a lifelong resident of Highlandtown and practiced law part time from the basement of his Elrino Street rowhouse where he had lived since 1951.
Until last week, Mr. Kabara was attending events at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church on East Pratt Street, which he helped establish and where he was the usher for 9 a.m. Sunday Mass.
"He was always in the middle of things here from the early days when the church and parochial school operated out of storefronts until the present," said the Rev. Lawrence Lover. "He was extremely active here for over 40 years -- he was an usher, lector, a lay incorporator -- and held every office in all of the men's organizations."
"He had a deep, deep faith and felt he could make a contribution with his talents, and he did," Father Lover said.
Said his daughter, Nancy Dowling of Pasadena: "He did everything for the church. It came first."
The son of Polish immigrants, he was raised in East Baltimore, attended parochial school at St. Casimir Roman Catholic Church and graduated from Polytechnic Institute.
He went to work in 1937 on the night shift at the Glenn L. Martin Co.'s Middle River plant as a riveter and attended the University of Baltimore School of Law by day, graduating in 1941.
He was drafted into the infantry before he could pass the bar. He served with the 44th Division in Germany and was discharged at war's end.
He returned to the Martin Co. where he worked until retiring as supervisor of procurement in 1967.
"His law practice was always a second job, and he did general legal work such as deeds, wills and income tax work. He really didn't like to litigate," said Mrs. Dowling, also an attorney.
He joined the city solicitor's office in 1970 and retired in 1980.
"He was a very competent attorney who handled a variety of cases and was blessed with a wry sense of humor," said his former supervisor and now state tax court judge, Joseph L. Woytowitz.
The two became close friends and not only traveled abroad with their wives but shared a passion for Manhattan cocktails.
Despite heart problems, Mr. Kabara continued to go crabbing at a favorite spot near Fort McHenry in the early hours of the morning.
A former soccer player, he played in various Catholic Leagues until he was 35 and in 1992 was inducted into the Oldtime Soccer Association of Maryland.
Mr. Kabara was a member of the Holy Name Society, Knights of Columbus No. 10137, the Alhambra and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
A Mass of Christian burial was to be offered at 10 a.m. today at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church, 6400 E. Pratt St.
In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife of 52 years, the former Margaret McFaul; a son, Edward J. Kabara Jr; a brother, Raymond J. Kabara of Baltimore; and six grandchildren.