James A. Vidmar Sr., 76, welfare official, volunteer


James A. Vidmar Sr., a former Maryland welfare official and a volunteer, died Thursday of cancer at his home in Rockdale. He was 76.

In 1965, Mr. Vidmar was named deputy director of the state Department of Public Welfare, now the Department of Social Services. In 1971, he joined the federal Social Security Administration, working in the Supplemental Security Income program for the disabled poor. He retired in 1990.

He worked for a state welfare agency in Wisconsin before joining Maryland government.

In retirement, he was a volunteer at the Frederick Ozanam House, a transitional housing facility for the homeless, and Beans and Bread, both in Fells Point and run by the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

The homeless "would come and say, I need shoes, I need a toothbrush or I need a tooth pulled, and he would get it for them," said his son James A. Vidmar Jr. of Catonsville.

Mr. Vidmar was born and reared in Chisholm, Minn. After graduating from high school in 1941, he joined the Army and was assigned to the 773rd Railroad Operating Battalion, delivering mail to troops throughout Europe during World War II.

Discharged as a technical sergeant in 1946, he returned to Minnesota and enrolled under the GI Bill in the College of St. Thomas, graduating in 1949. Four years later, he obtained a master's degree in social work from St. Louis University.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. today at Holy Family Roman Catholic Church, 9533 Liberty Road in Randallstown.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife of 48 years, the former Patricia Maher; four other sons, David Vidmar of Fulton, Daniel Vidmar of Eldersburg, Thomas Vidmar of Hibbing, Minn., and John Vidmar of Tampa, Fla.; a brother, William Vidmar of Bloomington, Minn.; a sister, Marianne Prebil of Ellicott City; and 10 grandchildren.

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