For more than three decades, Ben Isaacs worked as a Pullman porter, one of the uniformed railway men who served first-class passengers traveling in luxurious sleeping cars — a much-coveted job for African-Americans between the 1870s and late 1960s.

Isaacs, a charismatic centenarian who was believed to be the oldest surviving Pullman porter, died of kidney failure Wednesday at his home in Victorville, Calif., according to his brother, Andrew Isaacs. He was 107.

Andrew Isaacs said his brother, who in his later years went blind, was hospitalized Aug. 10 and released a couple of days later. “His kidneys shut down,” said Isaacs, 89, who lives in Sacramento, Calif. “In three weeks he would have been 108.”

Born Sept. 8, 1904, in Kansas City, Kan., Ben Isaacs was one of five children of Breckenridge “B.R.” Isaacs, a butcher, and Cora, a school teacher and beautician. Andrew Isaacs said his brother graduated from the local Sumner High School, which educated black children.

Straight out of high school in the early 1920s, Isaacs landed a job with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. He labored “in the shop where they worked on steam engines,” Andrew Isaacs recalled.

While working for the Santa Fe, Ben Isaacs fell ill with pneumonia. His employer sent him to a hospital in Albuquerque, and he remained in New Mexico for a couple of years before relocating to San Diego and then Los Angeles in 1929, Andrew Isaacs said.

By then, Ben Isaacs had married a girl from his hometown, in what would be the first of at least four marriages, his brother said.

His life-changing plum assignment came in April 1936 when he began working as a Pullman porter, according to the Chicago-based Newberry Library, which keeps data on Pullman employees.

The Pullman Palace Car Co. was founded by George Pullman in 1867 and was most famous for developing the railroad sleeping car.

In a 2010 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Isaacs fondly recalled his days on the trains. Though challenging — at times he would service up to 50 berths — the job opened up Isaacs’ world.

“I just kind of liked traveling around and seeing the country, and helping people,” he said.

Andrew Isaacs said that passion for adventure stuck with his brother, who in later years bought a trailer and took it on road trips across the country.