John Munhall Niedringhaus, an architect, businessman and avid sailor, died Tuesday at Anne Arundel Medical Center after a long illness. He was 78.
After starting his career in marketing with the Grand Rapids Store Fixture Co. in Pittsburgh, Mr. Niedringhaus moved to Baltimore during World War II. He worked on the B-33 airplane at the old Glenn L. Martin Co. before going to work for the Knipp Co. and the American Store Fixtures Co. in the early 1950s.
He later founded American Supply Co., where he was a manufacturer's representative selling interior fixtures and cabinets to schools and businesses. He retired in 1985, and the business -- later known as Contract Supply Co. -- was dissolved.
Mr. Niedringhaus was born in Pittsburgh and graduated from Shadyside Academy there and from Princeton University with honors. He received a master's of architecture from Carnegie Mellon University. As a teen-ager, he received the Gold Carnegie Hero Award for saving a drowning man's life.
An ardent sailor, Mr. Niedringhaus cruised and raced his Triton sailboat until he was well into his 70s. He was a past commodore of Windjammers and the Chesapeake Bay and National Triton fleets.
He was a life member of the Annapolis Yacht Club, charter member of the Severn Sailing Association and longtime member of the Sailing Club of the Chesapeake.
He was a member of the Rotary Club of Baltimore for more than 35 years and until recently was active in many organizations. He enjoyed returning to school via the Anne Arundel Community College Seniors Program.
His wife, Barbara Chess Niedringhaus, died in 1982. He is survived by a son, John Andrew Niedringhaus of San Diego; a daughter, Nancy Niedringhaus Bennett of Annapolis; a sister, Margaret Niedringhaus Palmer of Pasadena, Calif.; and three granddaughters.
A memorial gathering for friends and relatives will be held at 5 p.m. tomorrow at his home in Rugby Hall, Arnold. Mr. Niedringhaus' body has been donated to the Anatomy Board of Maryland.
The family suggested contributions to the John Munhall Niedringhaus Continuing Education Endowed Scholarship Program, in care of Anne Arundel County Community Foundation Inc., Anne Arundel County Community College, 101 College Parkway, Arnold, Md. 21012.