Arthur E. Dase, a retired Chessie System supervisor and longtime Greater Baltimore Medical Center volunteer, died May 19 of heart failure at his winter home in Seminole, Fla. He was 91.
"I always thought that Arthur was devoted to two things: his family and the railroad," said Robert W. "Bob" Breiner, who worked for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and later Chessie System. "He was also well-liked by the other railroaders."
The son of John Dase, a toolmaker, and Leona Dase, a homemaker, Arthur Earl Dase was born in Springfield, Ohio. When he was a child, he moved with his family to Dayton, Ohio.
After graduating in 1941 from Patterson High School, he began his more than four-decade railroad career working in the payroll department of the B&O; in Dayton.
During World War II, he briefly served with the Army Air Corps at Coral Gables, Fla., before being discharged for health reasons. He then returned to the B&O.;
After earning a degree in accounting in 1950 from Miami Jacobs College in Dayton, the B&O; transferred Mr. Dase to its maintenance of way department in Cincinnati. In 1963, he was promoted to supervisor of payroll and sent to what was then B&O;/C&O; Railroad's headquarters building in Baltimore.
"I first met Art about 1960 when he was on a job on the Indianapolis Division as a traveling auditor. I took him around to the various sales offices and we hit it off right away. He was a very likable guy," recalled Mr. Breiner, who lives in Timonium.
"When you work for a railroad, you're like a nomad, and we were transferred around and eventually we both came to Baltimore and we resumed our friendship," he said.
Mr. Dase was a longtime member of RABO, a B&O;, CSX and Western Maryland Railway retirement organization. Last year, the organization presented him with a gold watch in honor of his 90th birthday.
Family members said Mr. Dase's favorite expression was, "I've been working on the railroad for 44 years."
Mr. Dase and his wife, the former Martha Boze, moved in 1963 to a home on Stanmore Road in Rodgers Forge. They then moved in 1971 to Cockeysville.
His next-door neighbor on Coteswood Circle in Cockeysville was Bobby Grich, who played second base for the Orioles from 1970 to 1976.
"Art was one of the most, if not THE most thoughtful, kind and genuinely angelic souls on earth," Mr. Grich wrote in an email Tuesday. "He never said a bad word about anyone or anything. Just a pure kind man."
He wrote that Mr. Dase "couldn't do enough for a neighbor."
"One morning I woke up to the sound of the humming of a lawn mower. I looked out my window and Art was drilling up and down the back yard mowing our lawn! I never asked him to do it — he just did it as a favor. Not just once, but for about 3 years," he wrote.
For 22 years until retiring last year, Mr. Dase volunteered at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, where he was assigned to the information desk and was an escort in the hospital's lobby. During his tenure at the Towson hospital, he had accumulated more than 3,000 volunteer hours, GBMC sources said.
"Art was a presence in our main lobby where he met patients and visitors for more than 20 years. It was a key role that he played," said Lieta C. Manistre, the GBMC's interim director of volunteers and a longtime friend.
"He always had a ready smile, a good sense of humor and was always willing to help," she said. "Art and his wife were a big part of our GBMC family."
In addition to his hospital work, Mr. Dase was a volunteer and coach with the Towson Recreation Council from 1964 until the early 1980s.
"Art had been chairman of our boys and girls basketball program in excess of 20 years, and he got a big kick out of handing out uniforms to the children," said Al Mank, who worked closely with Mr. Dase as a program coordinator for the Baltimore County Recreation and Parks Department.
"He was one heck of a guy and so down to earth. He found the good in everyone and everything. He was a real gentleman," said Mr. Mank.
Mr. Dase also coached Little League baseball for TRC for a decade, including the Duncan Tigers, which was one of the first county teams to play in city leagues. He won two city championships back to back in the 11-12 age group.
Many of his players went on to play high school and college baseball, and several made it to the majors, family members said.
Mr. Dase and his wife were inveterate Towson High School sports fans, where their son, Randall J. "Randy" Dase, had been an outstanding athlete and has been a teacher and coach for the last 38 years.
Mr. Dase enjoyed hunting and fishing and traveling by rail.
"We took the five routes to California and went to Florida every Easter by train," said Mrs. Dase.
Mr. Dase was a member for 50 years of Towson United Methodist Church, where he served on many committees and ushered until last year. For the past 25 years, he and his wife collected fruit and greens for the Williamsburg-inspired decoration that decorated the church's front entrance.
He had been a member for 70 years of ALFA Lodge and Scottish Rite in Dayton, Ohio, and had recently been honored for his years of service to the organization.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. June 11 at his church, 501 Hampton Lane, Towson.
In addition to his wife of 68 years and son, who lives in Timonium, Mr. Dase is survived by a sister, Suzanne Harshman of Seminole; and two grandsons.