Louis J. Averella, a World War II merchant mariner who later was port agent and spokesman for the National Maritime Union, died in his sleep Tuesday at his home in Lady Lake, Fla.
The former East Baltimore resident was 86.
Mr. Averella, the son of Italian immigrants, was born in Baltimore and raised on Exeter Street. He attended city public schools.
During World War II, he sailed on Liberty ships, and his decorations included the Atlantic War Zone Bar, Pacific War Zone Bar and Victory Medal.
He worked as a merchant seaman from 1945 to 1957, and then spent 19 years as a security officer for the National Maritime Union.
He was later the union's port agent and spokesman from 1976 until his retirement in 1982.
During his tenure with the union, Mr. Averella led the effort to place the merchant seaman's memorial on the Inner Harbor promenade near the Maryland Science Center.
He also was active in Democratic politics and over the years ran unsuccessfully for City Council and the House of Delegates.
He enjoyed watching boxing, and in his youth, he had managed several local boxers, family members said.
He also wore an American flag pin and liked giving them to family members, friends and strangers.
Since 1986, he had lived in Lady Lake.
"He learned to cook from his mother, and he loved making his homemade spaghetti sauce and meatballs, which included adding whole hard-boiled eggs to the sauce," said a daughter, Kathy Averella of White Marsh.
Plans for services were incomplete yesterday.
Also surviving are his wife of 50 years, the former Claudia Meyer; five sons, Dana Averella of Westminster, Dale Averella of Martinsburg, W.Va., Robert Averella of Hagerstown, Louis Averella of White Marsh and Nicholas Averella of Hampstead; two other daughters, Brenda Combs of White Hall and LuAnn Spidell of Forest Hill; a brother, Frank Averella of Dundalk; a sister, Lena Seibert of Dundalk; 15 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.