Dorothy A. Landsman, 80, headed family of law enforcement officers

Dorothy A. Landsman, a homemaker and matriarch of a Northwest Baltimore police family, died Friday of complications of a stroke at the home of a daughter in Catonsville. She was 80.

Mrs. Landsman's husband, three sons, three grandsons (one is a police cadet) and a son-in-law all are or have been police officers.


Her husband, Raymond Landsman, who joined the Baltimore City Police Department in 1936, was the second Jewish officer in the department, according to a son, Jerry Landsman Sr. He retired as a lieutenant in the Northwestern District in 1963 and died in 1986.

Two sons, Jerry Landsman and Jay Landsman, are retired city homicide detectives. Jerry Landsman now is chief of security for the state Motor Vehicle Administration and Jay C. Landsman is a Baltimore County police officer.


A grandson, Richard Landsman, is a Baltimore County police officer and another grandson, Jay Landsman, is a Baltimore County police cadet.

Jerry Landsman Jr., also a grandson, is a former member of the Hagerstown Police Department.

Regis Raffensberger, a son-in-law and former Baltimore City police officer, is chief of police in Frederick.

"It was tough being the wife and mother of police officers -- the shift work, odd hours and the worry that goes with it. She really endured a lot," said a daughter, Janice J. Huff of Catonsville.

"The advice she gave me when I joined the force was to listen to people. She told me to treat people the way I'd want to be treated -- 'and don't take any stuff off anyone.' We were all successful police officers because of her," said son Jay Landsman of Woodstock. "She knew that we could take care of ourselves."

Mrs. Landsman incorporated police routine in the operation of her Royce Avenue rowhouse where she and her husband raised their 10 children.

"She even took roll call at night to see who was home. Since all of our names began with the letter J, she would eventually slur it to sound like 'Jer' but she found out who was there and who wasn't," said son Jay with a laugh. "She wouldn't go to sleep at night -- even when we were adults -- until she heard from her children every night."

"It was organized chaos and it was near the race track. My father loved horse racing," Mrs. Huff said.


"That's how we came to be raised in the Catholic faith," said son Jay. "He was begging her to let him go to the track and finally said, 'If you let me go to the track you can raise the kids Catholic.' He drove a hard bargain," he said.

The former Dorothy Anna Paff was born and raised in East Baltimore. Her father, Charles A. Paff, was a Baltimore City firefighter who was killed when the fire truck he was riding collided with another fire truck at Park Heights and Rogers avenues in 1949.

Mrs. Landsman met her future husband while working as a waitress in a Howard Street restaurant.

They married in 1932, the same year Mrs. Landsman participated in the Miss Maryland contest, which she won. The judges later disqualified her when they learned that she was married.

"So they gave her the title of Mrs. Maryland for 1932 instead," said her son, Jerry Landsman of Hampstead.

A Mass of of Christian burial was to be offered at 11 a.m. today at St. Alphonsus Rodriguez Roman Catholic Church, 10800 Old Court Road, Woodstock.


Other survivors include six other sons, Joseph R. Landsman of Baltimore, James E. Landsman of Woodlawn, John Landsman of Hanover, Pa., Jeffrey M. Landsman of New Windsor, Jan C. Landsman of Glyndon and Joel M. Landsman of Baltimore; another daughter, Joan M. Raffensberger of Frederick; 31 other grandchildren; and 24 great-grandchildren.