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Nathan Alonza Mallory, retired Immigration and Naturalization Services officer, dies

Nathan Mallory maintained close ties with his family in Baltimore after moving to California.
Nathan Mallory maintained close ties with his family in Baltimore after moving to California. (Family photo / HANDOUT)

Nathan Alonza Mallory, a retired Immigration and Naturalization Services officer who was born and raised in Baltimore, died of heart disease May 13 at San Antonio Regional Hospital in Upland, California. The former West Baltimore resident was 82 and lived in Phillips Ranch, California.

Born in Baltimore and raised on West Lafayette Avenue, he was one of 11 children of Herman Clarke Mallory, an Afro-American newspaper carrier and Checker Cab manager, and his wife, Bernice Hall, a school system paraprofessional.

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He attended Henry Harland Garnet School, Booker T. Washington Junior High School and Carver Vocational Technical High School.

“He was easygoing and would never indicate an argument. He would just walk away, whereas the rest of us had a lot of mouth,” said his sister, Marsha Fenwick, an Elkridge resident.

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He enlisted in the Army and worked in the supply and maintenance services area. He was discharged in 1957 and joined the Treasury Department in Washington.

He later moved to Compton, California, where he studied law enforcement at Compton College and became a federal police officer at the U.S. Court House in Los Angeles.

In 1979, while visiting his family in Baltimore, Mr. Mallory met his future wife, Agatha Blair Spruill, who lived next door to his sister.

“He kept looking out the window at me cutting my grass. I had a tractor and he watched me. He put two and two together,” she said.

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They were married on Aug. 20, 1979, and returned to California to live. He later worked as a detention officer for the Immigration and Naturalization Services, an immigration inspection officer at LAX Airport and finally a deportation officer.

Mr. Mallory retired in 1997.

His sister, Marsha Fenwick, described her brother as friendly, kind and jovial “with a big heart.” She said he went out of his way to help others in need.

“He loved traveling with Agatha to different countries around the world. He loved living in California and really loved the Mexican culture and food,” his sister said. “The only thing he missed while living in California was not having his brothers, sisters and family out there to enjoy it with him. He also missed the crabmeat and his mother’s, fondly called ‘Muva,’ delicious crab cakes.”

When he and his wife returned to Baltimore, they carried a cooler of crab meat back to California.

A cook, he made spaghetti with meat sauce and Italian sausage.

“He was proud of this dish, and some say he would take all day to make it. If that didn’t work, well, it was off to an All You Can Eat Mexican Buffet,” his sister said.

Mr. Mallory often went on lengthy, slow walks.

“Sometimes he and Agatha would go for walks and when she would look back, Nathan would be strolling along about two blocks or more behind her,” his sister said. “He was known to be slow, or should we say, never in a hurry. He took his time about everything, and it didn’t bother him a bit.”

He was a fan of Las Vegas and Atlantic City, and his Baltimore family members would meet him at these resorts for birthdays and anniversary celebrations. He remained in close communication with his Baltimore family.

“Uncle Nathan filled our lives with a journey that left us the footprints to travel,” said his nephew, Michael Hughes of Silver Spring. “He led us to travel from Baltimore to D.C. and then across the country to L.A. He also explained to me why he took a federal job in D.C. and then to L.A., to expand his career and life. His humor and inspiration taught us to explore employment opportunities.”

In addition to his sister, survivors include his wife of nearly 42 years, a retired Baltimore City schools teacher who also taught in Pomona Unified School District; a daughter, Michelle Neverdon of Sandy Springs, Georgia; two brothers, Brian Mallory and Thurron Mallory, both of Baltimore; a granddaughter; and two great-granddaughters.

A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. June 5 at the March Life Tribute Center, 5616 Old Court Road.

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