The obituary Oct. 31 of Joseph Lee Proctor incorrectly reported the name of his wife, Mildred. (Published 11/03/1999)
Joseph Lee Proctor, 94, a one-time professional boxer and retired D.C. police officer whose beats included harbor patrol and the old burlesque theaters of Washington's red-light district, died of congestive heart failure Oct. 28 at the Charlestown Senior Campus Living Community in Cantonsville, Md.
On the beat of burlesque houses in the early 1950s, cops were known as "chicken inspectors" because part of their assignment was making sure that dancers didn't violate dress codes against total nudity.
He had his own brush with the law when as a young, accomplished local boxer he was arrested after putting on a boxing exhibition in Maryland, where boxing was illegal at the time.
Born in Fredericksburg, Va., and raised in Washington, he got into boxing after graduating from Central High School and serving a year in the Merchant Marine. Under the tutelage of legendary Washington boxing coach Goldie Ahearn, Mr. Proctor won the Mid-Atlantic amateur heavyweight championship in 1927 and 1928. A solid figure at 6 feet and 185 pounds, he showed promise as a professional prizefighter.
At the request of his wife, Peggy, who was worried about his health, he hung up his gloves to pursue less hazardous careers, first as a bank bookkeeper and then as a policeman. But his first few years on the police force did little to satisfy those expectations as he twice crashed his police motorcycle, once while chasing a speeding motorist. In that accident, he suffered a broken shoulder and wrenched back.
After 27 years with the police and after breaking his wrist when he seized the runaway helm of an ice-breaking patrol craft, he retired in 1962 and moved to Crofton four years later. He became a lay leader at Baldwin Memorial United Methodist Church in Millersville and retired from that post in 1987.
His wife of 63 years died in 1994. Survivors include three children, Joseph L. Proctor III of Millersville, Patricia Ciazza of Bannockburn, Md., and Janice Proctor of Alexandria; and four grandchildren.