John W. “Jack” Wittman, a retired Baltimore Sun advertising executive who was a decorated World War II bomber pilot, died Sunday from lung cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. He was 92.
John William Wittman was born in Baltimore. He was orphaned at age 4 when both parents died, and he entered St. Patrick’s Orphanage in Northeast Baltimore.
He was a 1943 graduate of Calvert Hall High School, and was quarterback on the 1942 football team.
He entered the Army Air Force in 1943 and was trained as a B-24 bomber co-pilot. Mr. Wittman was assigned to the 15th Air Force in Italy and flew more than 20 missions over Europe.
He was discharged at war’s end and received decorations including two Air Medals with Oak Leaf clusters and Campaign Medals with three Battle Stars.
He joined the Baltimore Sun in 1947 as a reporter and soon thereafter joined its advertising department. He rose to become sales manager of classified advertising and then manager of the entire department, which included both real estate and automotive sales staff.
Mr. Wittman was instrumental in modernizing the workplace, and was a member of the team that led the newspaper from manual systems to pagination. He was named advertising department head, a position he held for several years until retiring in 1989.
The Cathedral Foundation, publishers of The Catholic Review, hired Mr. Wittman as a consultant and adviser. He served in that position for 20 years. He was also a member of the board of the foundation for 19 years.
Mr. Wittman enjoyed writing, and authored “The White Carnation,” an account of his years living in the orphanage.
In addition to writing, he enjoyed spending time with his family.
The former Mayfield resident had lived at Oak Crest Village in Parkville since 2004, where he served as an usher at Masses. He was a former communicant of St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church.
His wife of 65 years, the former Doris Brendal, a homemaker, died in 2011.
Funeral services for Mr. Wittman were held Friday at Oak Crest Village.
He is survived by three sons, John “Butch” Wittman of Mayfield, Scott Wittman of Parkville and Timothy Wittman of Lutherville; two daughters, Donna Wittman of Locust Point and Dorothy Kramer of Schenectady, N.Y.; seven grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
--Frederick N. Rasmussen