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James E. Lane worked at Morgan State University for 28 years.
James E. Lane worked at Morgan State University for 28 years. (Handout)

James E. Lane, an Air Force veteran, electrician and home improvement contractor, died Oct. 2 of complications from dementia at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Midtown Campus. The Woodbrook resident was 86.

James Ellwood Lane, the son of James Johnson, a Bethlehem Steel Corp. steelworker, and his wife, Grace Lane Johnson, a housekeeper, was born in Baltimore and raised on Pine Street.

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He attended city public schools and earned his General Educational Development diploma in 1988, said a daughter, Alison Velez Lane, who lives near Druid Hill Park.

Mr. Lane enlisted in the Air Force in 1951 and served as a technician at George Air Force base in Victorville, California, and at Kindley Field in Bermuda, where as a boxer he won a base championship, according to family members.

While serving in Bermuda, he met his future wife, the former Gloria Joan Griffiths, when he offered her a ride in his car. They fell in love and married in 1959.

Discharged from the Air Force in 1960, Mr. Lane was an Air Force reservist from 1976 until 1993, and at the time of his retirement had attained the rank of master sergeant.

Mr. Lane was a 1967 graduate of RETS Electronic Schools Inc., from which he earned a certificate in computer service engineering and technology. He was also a licensed electrician and home improvement contractor and owned Lane Construction Co. from 1960 to 1990.

A believer in education, he completed correspondence courses in law, business and real estate and took Spanish courses at Morgan State University.

He worked as an electrician for Westinghouse Electric Corp. and for 28 years was a member of the physical plant staff at Morgan until his retirement in 1999.

Mr. Lane and his wife, who died in September, were participants in Epsilon Omega Alpha Kappa Sorority’s Senior Eating Together program, were members of a Bible study group, and enjoyed line dancing.

A resident of Auchentoroly Terrace for 60 years, Mr. Lane was recognized for his work on the New Auchentoroly Terrace Garden, and the Mondawmin Neighborhood Improvement Association presented him its Longtime Resident Award.

In 2016, the New Auchentoroly Terrace Association named Mr. Lane “Father of the Year,” and that same year, then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake designated him as one of the city’s “Top Neighborhood Dads.”

A Mason, he was also a longtime member of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church where he was a member of the Choral Choir, Brotherhood Choir and Senior Usher Board.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at his church, 1300 Druid Hill Ave., Baltimore.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Lane is survived by a son, Edwin James Lane of Baltimore; another daughter, Rhonda Denise Lane of Baltimore; a brother, Herman Lane of Baltimore; and two grandchildren.

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