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Edward A. 'Al' Vanik Jr., detective

Edward A. "Al" Vanik Jr., a retired Baltimore County Police Department detective, died Sept. 5 of Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome, a genetic disease that causes excessive bleeding, at Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air.

He was 79.

The son of a butcher and a homemaker, Edward Albert Vanik Jr. was born and raised in Fullerton. He graduated in 1951 from Towson Catholic High School and enlisted in the Navy the next year.

Mr. Vanik served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid as an aviation structural mechanic second class until his discharge in 1956.

He joined the Baltimore County police force in 1957, rising to corporal and then to detective. He was assigned to the crime lab at the time of his 1977 retirement.

"While serving on the force, he received a commendation for saving a baby's life by reviving the baby after it had stopped breathing," said his wife of 55 years, the former Lorraine Foss. "The child was later taken to the hospital where a brain operation was successfully performed."

Mrs. Vanik said she met her future husband while on a visit to a sister in Baltimore.

"I took a break from school in Boston to visit my sister. One night, I decided to go out dancing and my car broke down," said Mrs. Vanik.

"So, I called my sister and said we're going out dancing, and we went down to a little place in Middle River, and that's where I met Al," she said. "He loved to dance, and was a good dancer. That's why I liked him. So a short visit turned into a long one."

Mr. Vanik was a member of the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police.

After retiring from the Police Department, Mr. Vanik managed Town Hardware in Joppa for eight years.

He then took a job as purchasing agent in 1985 for Langley Enterprizes, a carpet cleaning company.

From 1993 until his retirement in 2000, Mr. Vanik worked in the parts department of Thompson Toyota in Edgewood.

A Bel Air resident since 1963, Mr. Vanik enjoyed boating, fishing and crabbing and spending time at a second home he and his wife had owned in Rehoboth Beach, Del.

"Boats were always a big thing with him," said Mrs. Vanik. "He had a small boat and then a pontoon boat that could hold 13."

He was an avid reader and liked reading books by his favorite authors, Clive Cussler, Stephen Coonts, W.E.B. Griffin and Jack Higgins, his wife said. He also enjoyed playing poker.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Evans Funeral Home, 3 Newport Drive, Forest Hill.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Vanik is survived by a son, Keith Vanik of Bel Air; a daughter, Valerie Provenza of Bel Air; his mother, Anna Vanik of Baltimore; and four grandchildren. Another daughter, Brenda Vanik, died in 1975.

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