Leon J. Sadowski, a former Social Security Administration analyst and benefactor of Mount St. Joseph High School, died Monday at Franklin Square Hospital from complications of colon surgery. The Parkville resident was 88.
Leon Julian Sadowski was the son of Alexander Aloysius Sadowski, a longshoreman, and Susan Emily Nelson, a homemaker. He was born in Baltimore and raised in a rowhouse on Towson Street in Locust Point.
“They had an outhouse until indoor plumbing was acquired,” wrote a daughter, Patrick Preblick of Glen Ridge, N.J., in a biographical profile of her father.
She said Mr. Sadowski’s father “gave him five $20 bills in order to go to school, and he chose Mount St. Joe. That was his tuition for the first year.”
After high school he served two years during the Korean War as a communications clerk in Washington. After being discharged from the Navy, he worked for several years for the U.S. Post Office.
He attended night school for six years at the University of Baltimore where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in business.
Mr. Sadowski began working in the 1950s as an analyst for the SSA when it was headquartered in the Candler Building in downtown Baltimore. He later moved with the agency to Woodlawn, where he worked until retiring in 1985.
In addition to his high school, Mr. Sadowski’s philanthropic interests included charities devoted to diabetes and cystic fibrosis, disabled veterans, the Red Cross, the American Cancer Society, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Baltimore Zoo Conservancies, the National Aquarium, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Oak Crest Benevolent Association.
Mr. Sadowski was also a blood donor and had achieved “50-gallon” donor status.
The former Loch Raven Village resident was a model railroad fan and had built and operated a large N-gauge layout in the basement of his home. After moving to Oak Crest Village in Parkville, Mr. Sadowski joined the retirement community’s model railroad club and helped build, operate and maintain its HO-gauge layout.
He was a former member of the Johns Hopkins Club, and for years was a longtime season ticket holder for the Baltimore Colts. He was also an avid Ravens and Orioles fan.
Mr. Sadowski enjoyed collecting decoys, painting, gardening and was also an aquatic fish fancier, at one time maintaining a dozen aquariums.
“He was proud of his Polish-American heritage and made a memorable kielbasa with sauerkraut and apples, which was relished every holiday,” his daughter wrote.
His wife of 39 years, the former Patricia Morrison Pearson, died in 2013. An earlier marriage to the former Lois Dulin ended in divorce.
There are no services.
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Sadowski is survived by three sons, John Sadowski of Mount Airy, Matthew Sadowski of Aberdeen and David Sadowski of Perry Hall; three other daughters, Claire Sadowski of Towson, Carol Libercci of Joppa and Susan Hayes of Fallston; a sister, Dolores Riekenberg of Bittinger, Garrett County; 18 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Another son, Mark Sadowski, died shortly after childbirth.