Born in Baltimore, Maryland; his father and maternal grandparents were German immigrants. Garmatz attended the public schools, including the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute. He engaged in the electrical business from 1920 to 1942, and was associated with the Maryland State Racing Commission from 1941 to 1944. He served as police magistrate from 1944-1947.
Garmatz was elected July 15, 1947 by special election to fill the vacancy left by Thomas D'Alesandro Jr., who had resigned the seat to become Mayor of Baltimore. He was re-elected to the twelve succeeding Congresses and served from July 15, 1947 to January 3, 1973. From the Eighty-ninth through the Ninety-second Congresses, Garmatz served as chairman of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries. He was not a candidate for reelection in 1972 to the Ninety-third Congress, and became employed by the International Organization of Masters, Mates, and Pilots Union. He was a resident of Baltimore until his death there.
In 1978, a federal bribery conspiracy case against Garmatz was dismissed at the urging of Justice Department officials who said they had discovered that their key witness had lied to a grand jury and forged documents. This information was brought to their attention through the investigation of Garmatz's attorney, Arnold M. Weiner.
The federal courthouse in Baltimore is named after Garmatz. After his acquittal, Garmatz stood before the courthouse that bears his name, took out his handkerchief and began wiping the courthouse sign. When asked what he was doing he replied that he was wiping the tarnish from his name.
|U.S. House of Representatives|
Thomas D'Alesandro Jr.
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 3rd congressional district
Herbert C. Bonner
| Chairman of House Merchant Marine and Fisheries Committee
Leonor K. Sullivan