Francis Henry Vittek, Baltimore County Police Dept. colonel signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers, dies

15 July 2023

Francis Henry Vittek, a Baltimore County Police Department colonel who — as a promising young catcher — was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers, died of complications from an infection July 12 at Brightview Bel Air, a senior living community. He was ten days short of his 95th birthday.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Overlea, he was the son of Frank Vittek, chief inspector of weights and measures for Baltimore County, and Emma Steidle, a homemaker.

He was a graduate of Kenwood High School, where he was a catcher on the baseball team. He was recruited by both the Pittsburgh Pirates and Brooklyn Dodgers after his 1946 graduation.

After going through training at a Dodgers minor league camp in Cambridge on the Eastern Shore, he developed shoulder problems that sidelined his baseball career.

Mr. Vittek enlisted in the Army and was assigned to a Tokyo military hospital as a reconditioning officer.

“He had very fond memories of his time in Japan and was so happy to have met General Douglass MacArthur, who had toured the hospital in Tokyo,” said his daughter, Amy Grace of Jarrettsville. “He also was able to travel to both Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

He later served during the Korean War and was again assigned to Japan.

While working briefly at Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., he met his future wife, M. Kathleen Krach.

Mr. Vittek joined the Baltimore County Police Department in February 1957 and became a patrolman in Parkville.

By 1965 he was one of the supervisors in the department’s recruiting and cadet program.

“With the influx of population and industry to Baltimore County, not only must the regular police force grow, but so must the cadet program,” he said in a 1965 Sun story.

After being a commander in charge of the county’s crime lab, he became supervisor of dispatching police and fire calls. He advanced through the ranks in his 29 years at the department and retired as a colonel.

In a 1984 Associated Press story published in The Baltimore Sun he said he considered computer theft “to be the property crime of the 1980s.”

He told family members that over the years he delivered a number of babies as part of his job.

Mr. Vittek was an ardent Orioles and Colts fan.

“My father was the original split-screen guy. When the Orioles and the Colts played on the same Sunday, he stacked a portable black-and-white TV on top of his larger Muntz cabinet model,” said his son, Timothy Vittek. “There were no clickers in those days and during commercials I was delegated to turn on the sound from the other game and turn off the sound from the ad.

“You could describe my father as a man who loved my mother, his kids and being a police officer.”

A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the Schimunek Funeral Home of Bel Air Inc., 610 W. MacPhail Road in Bel Air.

Survivors include his daughters, Kathleen Stern of Belcamp, Claire Infussi of Bel Air and Amy Grace of Jarrettsville; two sons, Timothy Vittek of Sarasota, Florida, and Brian Vittek of Belcamp; seven grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren. Mr. Vittek’s wife of 59 years, M. Kathleen Krach, a homemaker, died in 2009.


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