My Dad is The Greatest

My dad, Rev Dr Lloyd E. Marcus, Jr is a black pioneer of civil rights. In 1952, when the door opened for blacks to take the test to become Baltimore City firefighters, Dad ran through it. Stationed at Engine 6, Dad’s working conditions were humiliatingly racist. He was not allowed to pour himself a cup of coffee from the same coffeepot as the white firefighters. Nor was Dad allowed to use the same eating utensils as the whites. Still, with a wife and five kids to feed, Dad relished the opportunity.

Dad was the assistant pastor of a Baltimore storefront church. Rejected by his fellow firefighters, Dad often retreated to the fire house’s storage room to read his Bible and pray. Taunting Dad, firefighters named the storage room Marcus’ chapel. After two years, a new firefighter was assigned to Engine 6. The white firefighter came upstairs and asked Dad to join the crew in a cup of coffee.

Dad eventually defeated racism via trusting God and striving for excellence. Dad won “Firefighter of the Year” two times. Dad’s career included becoming Baltimore’s first black paramedic. After retiring from active duty, Dad became Baltimore City Fire Department’s first black chaplain.

My brother who is an award winning Maryland police officer recently purchased a home. His new neighbor is a white retired Baltimore City firefighter. Recognizing the name Marcus, the elderly gentleman told my brother, “I remember your dad at Engine 6, a great man!”

Raised by Aunt Nee, Dad always sought opportunities to better himself and earn his own way. As a little boy, Dad earned as much as $5 over a good weekend shining shoes at the Greyhound Bus Station in Baltimore. Dad smiles reminiscing about how he put on a show for his customers to encourage tips; tossing his shoeshine brushes high into the air and catching them, making rhythmic popping sounds with his shoeshine rag. He paid Aunt nee 25 cents for his room and board. He purchased a t-shirt for $1 and bragged to his buddy that he was a man because he was buying his own clothes. I am still discovering additions to Dad’s long list of jobs, entrepreneurial endeavors and “firsts” for a black person.

In his late teens, Dad joined the Merchant Marines. He was the first black sailor to land in St Petersburg Florida. It almost cost Dad his life. Local whites chased Dad wanting to hang him for simply getting off the ship. Fellow white sailors saved Dad’s life. 

My 90 year old dad is still showing me what it means to be a man. Dad was married to my mom Rodelle for 45 years until she died. His second wife of over 20 years recently passed away. Dad is lonely, riddled with Arthritis pain and diagnosed with serious health issues. Dad was in the hospital for four days due to fluid build up in his feet.

Wanting to exercise his legs, Dad asked a hospital staffer to help him walk the halls. Dad is extremely weak and can only walk with baby steps. He saw an extremely weak elderly gentleman who also walked in baby steps. Dad said the man looked exceedingly sad and depressed. Dad asked the man, “Want to race?” The man chuckled.

The next day, Dad saw the man walking the halls. The man’s spirits seemed lifted. With a smile on his face, the man asked Dad, “Want to race?” Both men enjoyed a laugh.

When I arrived to take Dad home, Dad expressed how pleased he was that God used him to help brighten that man’s day. Dad instructed me to always be willing and ready for God to use me.

That’s my Dad, the greatest man I have ever known. Dad is in hospice. Here is a song I wrote and recorded to Dad 30 years ago. Enjoy.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
Help Lloyd spread the Truth:

33 comments for “My Dad is The Greatest

  1. May 3, 2018 at 10:55 am

    you lloyd marcus are a great man..god bless you sir

    • May 3, 2018 at 10:58 am

      your dad was a great man,you can be very proud of him..and he can be proud of you

  2. May 3, 2018 at 11:17 am

    Your dad’s story is amazing…he passed that strength on to you, Lloyd…PLEASE give him a little extra lovin’ from HUSTUSA!!!

  3. Gene Sweeney
    May 3, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks Lloyd for sharing this historical and loving story of your Dad…

    • Colonel Tony Francia, US Forces -Korea
      May 11, 2018 at 2:48 am

      Great story Sir! Thanks so much for sharing!

      • June 4, 2018 at 10:19 am

        So saddened to here if your father’s passing.
        Keep giving us those stories of a bygone time…
        He was truly a hero.

  4. May 3, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Beautiful story. Thanks for sharing 👍

  5. Larry Davidson
    May 3, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    God bless you and your dad Lloyd. You both are true life changing patriots. Love your songs too. Blessings in Christ….Larry Davidson.

  6. Judy Horvath
    May 3, 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Lloyd, thank you so very much for sharing your Father’s story. He is an amazing inspiration for all of us! No wonder you are the wonderful man you are–you have an incredible role model! God bless you both!

  7. Linda
    May 3, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    God bless you all, Mr. Marcus. I loved the story you shared with us.
    I pray God may ease your father’s pain.

  8. Dennis Martin
    May 3, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Handsome man. We all should be the Lloyd Marcus of someones life. Great story. I see why you are the man you are today.

  9. Barbara
    May 3, 2018 at 6:48 pm

    God bless you, what a wonder man your dad is. I will be praying for you, asking God to carry you through this time you have with your dad

  10. Marietta Lewis
    May 3, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    Beautiful life story well told by a loving son.

  11. Dan
    May 4, 2018 at 6:31 am

    What a wonderful tribute to your Dad!

  12. SusanP
    May 4, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Please give your Dad my utmost respect. Any person who can pick themselves up by their own bootstraps and be a success in life in the face of all the evil and adversity the world can throw at them deserves respect from all. He is a man to be much admired. Thank you for sharing his accomplishments. I pray God makes the rest of his life here on earth warm, loving and comfortable. He will surely spend eternity in Paradise with God.

  13. William and Doris Huston
    May 5, 2018 at 12:02 pm

    Thank you for sharing your love for your Dad. Our prayers are with you as you spend this time with him. May the Lord bless you and all of your family and give you strength. Thank you also for all you do to spread the truth about our country. You are in our prayers about that, too. May your voice continue to be heard.

  14. Charles A Mills
    May 5, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    I remember when your father became a member of the
    Baltimore Fire Department in 1952 I was working as a
    union Rep, for the National Maritime Union and he had
    the full support of the Labor movement.

    God Bless

  15. Charles A Mills
    May 5, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    I remember when your father became a member of the
    Baltimore Fire Department in 1952 I was working as a
    union Rep, for the National Maritime Union and he had
    the full support of the Labor movement.

    God Bless

    No I have not

  16. Dr. R. Roy DiFrancesca
    May 8, 2018 at 1:58 am

    Brother Lloyd, this is one of the greatest life story (facts) I have ever heard, and it is inspiring–and moving.
    Your dad indeed is a wonderful man, a brother, and a friend.
    May God’s Blessings be with him continually and with ALL of you (his wonderful children).

  17. Thea Little Hammack
    May 8, 2018 at 4:15 am

    I’ve know the Marcus family all of my life. Nothing but love and respect for Rev. Marcus. One of my favorite Pastors. God Bless you!

  18. Beth T.
    May 8, 2018 at 5:20 am

    What a wonderful tribute! I knew your Dad had to be something special to have raised a conservative like you.

  19. Dawn Carter Jackson
    May 8, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    Nothing but LOVE for REV MARCUS! He made an impact in my life and I will always acknowledge him as my Pastor! I remember him telling stories in the pulpit about his experience as a firefighter.

  20. Charlene
    May 9, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Bless you Reverend Marcus, you were a blessing to my Mom who passed in 2013. May God continue to smile upon you.

  21. Evette West-Brooks
    May 9, 2018 at 9:33 am

    Thank you for sharing!!!
    This was absolutely Awesome and special.
    Reverend Marcus was a great and awesome man. Doc always spoke so highly of dad. I appreciate and love everything thst he did for us. I know that God is surely pleased with the man Rev. Marcus “DAD” is.
    One of the best men/Pastors I have ever met.
    Love you Reverened Marcus and thank you everything from my family.

  22. LINDA Whittaker
    May 9, 2018 at 9:42 am

    I am in ministry because the Lord placed this Man of God on my earthly journey. He exuded the Lords light and love in all he did and in all whom he came in contact with. His laugh, smile and singing brightened up the darkest of days. He was a great preacher, teacher, leader, evangelist, servant, so much so it made you want to know the Lord he talked about, loved and lived for. From the Bible studies at church to the Bible studies at his home that he so graciously open to us, we were taught, learned and shared the word of God. Singing and laughing not to forget the food a plenty. He made a tremendous impact on my life and my children’s lives. We are blessed and forever grateful to have spent such wonderful times with such a DAPPER, obedient servant of the Lord. We continue to pray for and with you all!🙏🏽🙏🏽 Love you Rev. Marcus💕❤️💕

  23. Michelle myers
    May 9, 2018 at 11:27 am

    To the kindest warm-hearted minister that I have have the upmost respect for to be blessed with knowing and being a part of my Christian life when he preached you knew that he was truly a man of God , just to hear him preach and on top of that sing .Rev Marcus let you know that the present of God was in our church and heart every Sunday . I am so blessed and honored to say that he was my minister , Rev Marcus and Mrs Mary Marcus touched a lot of lives when he was at fairview united methodist church I will forever hold him in my thoughts and prayers , thank you Rev Marcus for being who you are God’s blessing to you always

  24. Sherron Jordan-Griffin
    May 9, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    Rev Marcus was an still is a well respected man in the pumphrey community we thank GOD for his wisdom and courage as a black man to be the first at many things in his life. As he would always open up before speaking he’d say “it’s good to be here and at my age it’s good to be anywhere”. I will always remember that because at all ages we face a lot in life but at his age he has achieved what many will never hear about. I will continue to tell your story. I knew the first black paramedic in Baltimore city

  25. Ron Whittaker
    May 9, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    THIS!!!, Is a GREAT MAN! One who brought me to Christ. One who influenced me to study the words of God. One that I will always look up to and have great love for! He was the father figure I never had.
    Love you Rev. Marcus!

  26. Tim C
    May 22, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    I LOVE your moniker: The Unhyphenated American! Good work. I wish there were MORE black conservatives who would come out and tell it like it is. God bless you sir!!

  27. A Morris
    June 2, 2018 at 5:25 am

    Mr Marcus, I’ve been reading your columns for years now and I’ve always appreciated the love and respect you have for your father. Please be assured that it never was boring to hear about him, so keep on sharing!
    I’m sorry for your loss but I’m sure your father is enjoying the beautiful dwelling place of our Lord and please be reassured that we will see him by and by.

    His life was always an example for everyone watching, in life and even in his passing, because you can see how well he lived. The comments here alone show the world just a fraction of the lives he touched and you can catch a glimpse of the immense outpouring of love for him by reading the stories of people who were inspired by his life.

    I never had a father, mine walked away when I was 4 and never looked back. If I had a dad, I would have wanted him to be like yours.

    Thank you so much for sharing your dad with all of us through your writing, and not just keeping him to yourself. I’m a better person for reading about him and his influence on you and everyone he met. This is how a Christian should walk. Bless him and you for your example!

  28. Adam
    June 2, 2018 at 9:56 am

    A man who can inspire us all to be better. Thank you for sharing and reminding us what character is. Jackie Robinson is rightfully famous, but there are so many like your dad who deserve to be too. Or maybe not, because he wasn’t famous, the world wasn’t watching, and he was this man of exemplary character anyway. And I am so grateful that it was recognized that coming together with other men of character was important in surmounting some of his life’s trials. This brought to me that it’s not really about race, or other differences, but about banding with brothers of good character for change. I am sure your father’s character inspired many of his peers to courageously show their own when it may have been eaiser to go-along and get-along with the mob mentality. Inspiring.

    • June 4, 2018 at 10:21 am

      So saddened to here if your father’s passing.
      Keep giving us those stories of a bygone time…
      He was truly a hero.

  29. Andy Cobb
    June 10, 2018 at 7:29 pm

    What a remarkable man, and what a wonderful legacy.
    Thanks for sharing.

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