John E. Lafferty Jr., a retired U.S. Postal Service manager, died of Parkinson's disease and infection Saturday at Glen Meadows Retirement Community in Glen Arm. He was 90.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Preston Street, he was a 1931 graduate of Calvert Hall College High School and attended Loyola College, where he majored in chemical engineering.
Mr. Lafferty was forced to drop out of college because of the Great Depression and joined the Postal Service in 1933.
As a railroad postal clerk, he traveled between Washington and New York sorting mail and tossing mailbags onto railroad platforms as the train moved slowly through towns.
He served in the Navy during World War II and was stationed in Hull, England, where he was a one-man post office.
Returning home to Baltimore, Mr. Lafferty rejoined the postal Service and was stationed for many years at the main post office in downtown Baltimore.
He later transferred to the main post office in Washington, where he trained workers to operate the first automated sorting machines, which helped revolutionize mail delivery. Mr. Lafferty retired in 1974.
He married Margaret Elizabeth Frank in 1936. Mrs. Lafferty died in 1998. They lived in the Towson area.
The couple was involved in volunteer work at St. Mary of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church in Govans. During the church's annual turkey dinner, Mr. Lafferty enjoyed carving the holiday bird.
"He was a quiet, gentle man but someone who could trot out that Irish wit, a very funny man," said daughter Lydia Lafferty of Timonium.
Mr. Lafferty was an active member of the Notre Dame Council of the Knights of Columbus for more than 60 years. He was also an accomplished woodworker and had a shop in the basement of his home.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church in Rodgers Forge.
Other survivors include a son, Daniel A. Lafferty of Towson; another daughter, Peggy Amaral of Narragansett, R.I.; three brothers, Edmund and William Lafferty of Baltimore and the Rev. Charles A. Lafferty, pastor emeritus of St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church in Hickory; nine grandchildren; and one great grandchild. A son, Richard J. Lafferty, died of cancer in December.
The family suggests donations to the National Parkinson Foundation in Miami, Fla.