Frank Bond

Frank Bond ( / April 29, 2013)

Frank Bond Sr., a retired Maryland Transit Administration bus driver and neighborhood activist who believed in the value of education, died Monday of colon cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson.

"Frank was a wonderful man who treasured education even though he was not an educated man," said W. Byron Forbush II, who retired in 1998 after 38 years as headmaster of Friends School.

"His three children went to Friends as well as two grandchildren," said Mr. Forbush. "He was so devoted and proud that his family was part of that institution. He was just a marvelous individual."

The son of a truck driver and a homemaker, Frank Bond Sr. was born in Baltimore — one of 10 children — and raised in the 200 block of N. Mount St.

"The Bond home was a sanctuary to the entire neighborhood, whether one was in need of nourishment for the body or spirit," said a son, Frank Bond Jr. of Mount Washington, who is a producer at the Newseum in Washington.

Mr. Bond withdrew from Frederick Douglass High School when he was in the ninth grade to go to work to help support his family.

He entered the Navy in 1945 and served for two years until being discharged as a steward's mate.

"This was the segregated Navy, and that's what he was able to do," his son said.

After he married Talmadge Bunn, an educator, in 1950, the couple settled into a two-story rowhouse in the 2100 block of Penrose Ave. that Mr. Bond had purchased with the help of a GI loan for $6,000.

After leaving the Navy, he worked as a civilian employee at the Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard until taking a job as a bus driver for the old Baltimore Transit Co. in 1953.

"He was well-known and widely respected by customers and colleagues alike," his son said.

Mr. Bond worked out of the Bush Street bus barn in Southwest Baltimore — where he had been a shop steward for several years — and drove buses on the No. 23 and 51 lines.

"They traveled through the neighborhoods where most of his extended family lived," his son said. "He preferred taking two weekdays off and working an early-morning shift, which enabled him to fully participate in all aspects of family life."

He retired from what became the Maryland Transit Administration in 1988.

"With Frank, family and education always came first," said J. Sydney King, a retired WBAL-TV producer and host who lives in Roland Park.

When the Penrose Avenue neighborhood became overcrowded and began to deteriorate, Mr. Bond moved his family in 1963 to a home on Denison Road in Ashburton, where he remained for the rest of his life.

"This kind of living is new for blacks," Mr. Bond told The Baltimore Sun in a 1978 interview. "We came from a concrete-and-asphalt world. When we first came here, I would cut the grass and before you know it, it was time to cut it again. Then you had to start raking the leaves. Where I came from, I had a 14-foot front and all you had to do was sweep the sidewalk."

He added: "You come home late on a Friday night and you can't sleep the next morning because of all the birds chirping. It takes a while to adjust to all that. You have to change your way of living. … Living out here takes some adjusting, but it allows for a different kind of life. I love it. "

After moving to Ashburton, Mr. Bond immediately immersed himself in neighborhood affairs.

"When we first moved there, every street had its own association. He pulled them altogether and established the Ashburton Improvement Association," his son said.