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Robert Hatoff Sr., a former city firefighter whose career spanned nearly four decades, dies

Robert Hatoff Sr. enlisted in the Air Force and served in the Philippines.
Robert Hatoff Sr. enlisted in the Air Force and served in the Philippines.

Robert Hatoff Sr., a retired Baltimore City firefighter whose career spanned nearly four decades and who was also an Air Force veteran, died of Parkinson’s disease Dec. 10 at a daughter’s home in New Park, Pennsylvania. The White Marsh resident was 85.

Robert Hatoff Sr., son of Samuel Barton Hatoff, a graphic designer, and his wife, Naomi Rueben Hatoff, a Baltimore Sun employee, was born in Baltimore and raised in Northeast Baltimore.

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He attended Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and then enlisted in the Air Force where he served in the Philippines and earned his GED diploma. After being discharged from the service‚ he joined the Baltimore City Fire Department in 1957, eventually becoming an arson investigator in the department’s Fire Investigation Bureau.

Mr. Hatoff enjoyed playing Sparky, the fire dog, in parades and going to area schools to educate children about fire prevention. At the time of his retirement in 1995, he had attained the rank of captain.

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He had been an active member of Christian Firefighters.

A longtime resident of Pembroke Avenue in Gardenville, he considered family the “center of his life,” relatives said. He was active in the Hamilton Little League, where he had served as an umpire, coach and league president. He was also a past PTA president.

Known for his humor, he was a huge fan of “The Three Stooges,” family members said.

Mr. Hatoff, who later moved to Rosedale and finally White Marsh, was a longtime member of Hamilton Presbyterian Church where he was active in church activities and had served as an elder.

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His wife of 53 years, the former Janice Sheridan Seabrease, died in 2012.

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday at his church at 5532 Harford Road.

Mr. Hatoff is survived by a son, Robert Hatoff Jr. of York, Pennsylvania; two daughters, Debra Susan DiCarlo of Bel Air and Anita Janice Hatoff of New Park, Pennsylvania; two sisters, Barbara King of Cockeysville and Doreen Gantz of Great Mills; eight grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

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