From the modest beginnings of a rowhouse bakery, he built empires of bread and real estate, changing the face of his hometown.
I read with great appreciation the coverage that The Baltimore Sun gave to John Paterakis because he is deserving on many levels ("Bakery magnate left mark by taking risks," Oct. 17). The reason for my letter is to say that the references made about John being a risk-taker and a pioneer along with his commitment to helping others did not go far enough.
For the record, John was one of the organizing directors of The Harbor Bank of Maryland and remained a board member for 34 years. Additionally, he was one of the largest stockholders and depositors.
John was a visionary, progressively lending his support with both time and money. The founding of an African-American bank was not the most popular thing to be involved with in the late 1970s, but he was.
I, along with many in the African-American community, will be eternally grateful for his ability to rise above racism, ethnicity and old patterns of doing things. John was futuristic and recognized the value of opportunity, inclusion and diversity.
Joseph Haskins Jr., Baltimore
The writer is chairman, president and CEO of The Harbor Bank of Maryland.