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Mariano ‘Mario’ Cuba, decorated Korean War veteran, dies at 88

Folded flag resting on a headstone. (MaxPixel/Released/TNS)

Mariano “Mario” Cuba, retired BGE meter reader who had worked an ice delivery route and was a decorated Korean War veteran, died of a fall at his Carney home May 26. He was 88.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Gorsuch and on Woodstock avenues, he was the son of John Cuba, who owned an ice delivery business and a tavern, and his wife, Rose, a seamstress and homemaker. Both his parents were immigrants from Sicily.

He attended St. James the Less School and Clifton Park Junior High School.

After three years at Clifton Park, he went to work full time for his father. He had been working the ice route part-time since he was 12.

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He joined the Army in 1952 and was assigned to Korea. He served in a mobile army surgical hospital or MASH unit. He was awarded the Bronze Star. He left military service as a private first class.

Mr. Cuba joined the old Baltimore Gas and Electric Company and became a gas and electric meter reader. He walked a route through neighborhoods and often finished his rounds early.

“He’d go back and say, ‘Give me something to do.’ He had an incredible work ethic,” said his nephew, John Mangione of Towson.

Mr. Cuba was a bachelor and lived at home until he was 51. In 1982 he married Elsie Heim, his next-door neighbor. They enjoyed driving together and visiting destinations in the Pennsylvania Dutch country. They dined at Cracker Barrel restaurants.

“They had a warm and supportive marriage,” said his nephew.

Mr. Cuba was an opera fan and had a strong baritone voice. He identified with singer Mario Lanza.

He was also a duckpin bowler and belonged to several leagues.

A small private family service was held at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens.

Survivors include his sister, Mary C. Mangione of Baltimore. His wife of nearly 30 years, who sang with the Sweet Adelines, died in 2011.

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© 2020 The Baltimore Sun