Vernon Holloway

Vernon Holloway (Baltimore Sun / July 4, 2013)

Vernon J. Holloway, who spent nearly 47 years as an independent newspaper carrier coursing through the back roads of northern Baltimore County delivering The Baltimore Sun and the News American to readers, died June 12 from respiratory failure at York Hospital in York, Pa.

The Parkton resident was 90.

The son of farmers, Vernon James Holloway was born and raised in Parkton, and graduated in 1940 from Sparks High School.

Drafted into the Army Air Corps., even though he was blind in one eye from a childhood accident, Mr. Holloway became a military policeman. He was stationed with the 1286th Military Police Company at Rackheath Air Base in Norwich, England, as part of the 8th Air Force's 467th Bomb Group.

While serving in his early days at Grenier Airfield in Manchester, N.H., he met at a base dance and fell in love with the former Rita Battistelli, whom he married in 1943.

"After a whirlwind wartime romance, they married. Not long afterward, he shipped out to England," said his daughter, Andrea "Andie" Holmes of White Hall.

After the war, Mr. Holloway moved his wife and daughter to northern Baltimore County in 1945.

"Soon after returning, he purchased a bond and began a long career working as an independent carrier for The Sun and also the News American, until the latter closed in 1986," said Ms. Holmes.

Ms. Holmes said her father drove a route that covered a 150-mile radius bounded by Beckleysville on the west, Harford County on the east, Hereford to the south, and Shrewsbury, Pa., on the north.

"It was a seven-day-a-week job, and over the years he delivered The Evening Sun, The Sun, and The Sunday Sun," his daughter said.

"For most of that time he had off three days a year, Christmas, New Year's and July Fourth. Eventually, The Sun was published 365 days a year and the three days off disappeared. It wasn't until the late 1960s that he took a vacation," she said.

When he began delivering papers, he loaded up his Chevrolet sedan, and after 1957, switched to Chevrolet station wagons.

So arduous was his work, that Mr. Holloway had to buy a new car every two years.

"People thought we were so lucky but actually he had worn out those cars," his daughter said.

Mr. Holloway had to purchase his newspapers and then collect weekly from his customers.

"It was not unusual for him to continue delivering papers to customers who had fallen on hard times and could not pay their bill," said Ms. Holmes.

"In the summertime, some farmers paid him with ears of fresh corn. At Christmas, he was gifted with candy, fruitcakes, dollar bills and sometimes whiskey. He didn't drink, but he knew people who did so he had no problem finding takers," she said.

In Mr. Holloway's line of work, which began every day at midnight, weather, illness and other problems were never factors in stopping him from distributing papers to readers.

"No matter what the weather was, car breakdowns, dogs chasing the car and trying to jump in the window, fallen trees and branches blocking the road, several bouts of walking pneumonia, the paper got delivered," his daughter said.

When Mr. Holloway came down with jaundice in 1954, he lay down in the back seat of his sedan while giving instructions to his brother, who had offered to deliver the papers.