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Frank Bittner was active in Baltimore's Polish community, and worked to commemorate Anna Ella Carroll and Harriet Tubman.
Frank Bittner was active in Baltimore's Polish community, and worked to commemorate Anna Ella Carroll and Harriet Tubman. (File / Baltimore Sun)

Francis Anthony “Frank” Bittner Jr., a retired radio engineer active in Maryland history circles, died of a respiratory condition Jan. 4 at his Hurlock home. The former Baltimore resident was 64.

Born in Baltimore and raised Curtis Bay, he was the son of the Francis Anthony Bittner Sr. and Callie Olive Fite. He attended the Radio Engineering Institute and designed and installed music and public address systems.

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Mr. Bittner was active in Baltimore’s Polish community and hosted Polish radio broadcasts. In the 1970s he participated in Polish Christmas caroling in Fells Point.

He was also active in neighborhood festivals and in the old Baltimore City Fair.

Mr. Bittner moved to Dorchester County nearly 20 years ago and joined local history and preservation efforts. He worked on efforts paying tribute and commemorating Anna Ella Carroll, who had been an adviser and confidante to President Abraham Lincoln. He was also involved with efforts to promote the legacy of Harriet Tubman.

“[Mr.] Bittner is among a growing chorus of voices who think there ought to be a new museum here in Dorchester, where Tubman was born, to house artifacts associated with the Underground Railroad heroine, Civil War spy and nurse,” said a 2006 article in The Baltimore Sun.

He learned the craft of wood graining from his father and grandfather, and applied faux finishes to window frames, doors and vestibules in Baltimore. He also did wood graining work at the Dorchester County Courthouse, local churches, boats, private homes and in museums throughout the region.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Friday at Our Lady of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church in Secretary.

Survivors include a brother, Michael Bittner of Baltimore; a sister, Dolores Dowling of Berlin; two nieces; two nephews; and a friend, Ray Lowry of Hurlock.

— Jacques Kelly

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