Robert Coleman Dandridge, a retired Maryland State Police sergeant who spent his career at what is now Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, died of cancer Thursday at Northwest Hospital Center's hospice. The West Baltimore resident was 75.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Mount Street, he sold the old Baltimore News-Post at the age of 8. At 10, he purchased bags for a penny each and sold them for 3 cents to Hollins Market customers.
At age 14, he worked as a busboy at a West Baltimore hotel until it was discovered that he was too young to have a work permit. From ages 15 to 17, he worked at the Hilton Court Pharmacy, delivering prescriptions on his bicycle. He was a 1950 graduate of Frederick Douglass High School.
A week after receiving his diploma, he enlisted in the Air Force and served as a military police officer during the Korean War and in Asia, England, Japan, Germany and South Africa. He left the service as a sergeant.
In 1954, Mr. Dandridge joined the Baltimore Police Department and worked at its unit assigned to what was then called Friendship Airport. After the city's sale of the airport to the state, he entered the Maryland State Police. He retired in 1986.
"He was a wonderful father. He never let me down," said a son, Martin Dandridge of Columbia. "He loved his grandkids, too."
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the March Funeral Home West, 4300 Wabash Ave.
In addition to his son, survivors include a brother, J.B. Dandridge of Clarksville; a sister, Shirley Roberts of Baltimore; and three grandchildren. His marriage to the former Harriet Jones ended in divorce.