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Morris T. Street Jr., district court officer

Morris T. Street Jr. died Dec. 16. He was 73.
Morris T. Street Jr. died Dec. 16. He was 73. (Handout photo)

Morris "Piggy" Turner Street Jr., who served nearly 20 years as chief pretrial services officer of the U.S. District Court of Maryland, died Dec. 16 at Sinai Hospital of chronic lung disease and congestive heart failure. The Randallstown resident was 73 years old.

Born in Greensboro, N.C. — the oldest of four siblings and the only boy — he moved with his family to Baltimore when he was a baby and grew up on the city's west side, across the street from Coppin State College, now Coppin State University. The graduate of Frederick Douglass High School went across town for college, though, earning a bachelor's degree in history from what is now Morgan State University.

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After serving two years in the Army at the former Fort Ord, Calif., he returned to Morgan and completed a master's degree in social sciences.

Mr. Street began his professional career as a case worker in the 1960s for what was then the Baltimore City Department of Public Welfare. In 1966 he began working as a probation officer for the Supreme Bench of Baltimore, later changed to the Baltimore Circuit Court. Three years later he shifted to the federal system, where, his family said, he became the first black probation officer for the federal courts in Maryland.

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In 1975, he was named the first chief of pretrial services when that program was established in the U.S. District Court of Maryland.

"I guess it was fairness in the court system, that everyone was treated fairly" that interested him, said his wife of 48 years, Phyllis. He didn't often talk about his work, she said.

He retired in 1993, and took up playing golf and working as a starter at the Forest Park Golf Course on the city's west side. The son of an avid golfer, Mr. Street always enjoyed sports, his wife, said, including tennis, bowling and slow-pitch softball.

He had to curtail his sports activities as his eyesight deteriorated due to glaucoma, and eventually stopped playing altogether about 10 years ago. By then he had lost his sight almost entirely.

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A member of his fraternity's Pi Omega Chapter, Mr. Street remained active in fraternity events, said his fraternity brother and brother-in-law, Billy Hice.

"He was like three brothers in one," said Hice, of Woodlawn. "I'm going to miss him."

Hice recalled Mr. Street as a bookish, easy-going man whom he never saw angry. Until his eyesight failed, he enjoyed reading books on politics, history and biography, his wife said.

"He was just a good man," said his sister, Cassandra. "He loved his family and he loved everybody."

Mr. Street was devoted to his four grandchildren and enjoyed talking to them every day and hearing about their pursuits in school and in sports, his wife said.

She said she met Mr. Street through mutual friends in 1966, and liked "the way he carried himself, his demeanor, his quiet nature," and his good looks.

His nickname, "Piggy," was given to him by his family when he was a baby with a robust appetite. The name stuck, but it turned out to be misleading, as he was dapper dresser.

"Because it was such a contrast he didn't mind it," Ms. Street said. "It wasn't like people were making fun of him."

Later he earned another nickname that was more apropos: "Mr. GQ," his wife said.

"He had a knack for putting together colors and patterns that other people couldn't do," said his wife, adding that he was conservative in his dress, not "flashy."

Until he lost his sight, he served on the Senior Usher Board of his church, the Concord Baptist Church, where he was married in 1966 and baptized in 1987.

A wake is planned Monday 10 a.m. at the Concord Baptist Church, 5204 Liberty Heights Avenue, with funeral service at 10:30 a.m. Burial is at Garrison Forest Veterans Cemetery in Owings Mills.

Along with his wife, and sisters Cassandra Hice and Patricia Hill, Mr. Street is survived by two daughters, Kelly Green and Kisha Morgan, both of Atlanta; one son, Bruce Lee of Baltimore; and four grandchildren, Kira and Kaci Green, and Kendyll and Kayden Morgan;

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