In the words of Harold T. Rubin, president of ITC Inc., Peter F. Osterchrist, the founder and chairman of the Towson-based business, was "a dynamic individual and a consummate entrepreneur."
Mr. Osterchrist, 56, was among four people who perished Tuesday afternoon when their twin-engine turbo prop airplane broke apart and crashed about 2,000 yards short of a runway at the New Castle County Airport in Delaware.
"In addition to building a company, Peter was very adroit at building a staff," said Mr. Rubin. "This is an extremely strong, close-knit organization. Obviously, the mood is very somber. He was the motivating force behind the company."
Also killed in the crash were Mr. Osterchrist's wife, Elisabeth, 56; pilot James W. Ball, 57, of Baltimore;and co-pilot James R. Kestner, 56, of Lititz, Pa. Their nine-passenger Beechcraft King Air 200 had taken off 45 minutes earlier from Martin State Airport in Middle River.
An avid golf and tennis player, Mr. Osterchrist emigrated from Nuremberg, Germany, in 1958. He lived in the 300 block of Lochview Terrace, Timonium, where he and his first wife, the former Ingeborg Weishaupt, raised their two sons, Heiko, 33, and Eric, 26. Ingeborg Osterchrist died in July 1990, and Mr. Osterchrist married Elisabeth last September.
While working as a steel importer, Mr. Osterchrist started the business that later became ITC Inc. in the basement of his home. He opened a New York branch of the European Thyssen Steel Mill Co. for importing and went independent with ITC in 1964.
Since then, the privately held company has grown to include a subsidiary in Tokyo, and branch offices in Korea and Taiwan. The company also sells minerals and fibers used in manufacturing overseas. About 150 people work for the company in its affiliates and subsidiaries. There are 35 employees at ITC's corporate headquarters on Joppa Road in Towson.
Mr. Osterchrist is survived by his sons and two grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. June 27 at the Towson United Methodist Church, Hampton Lane and Dulaney Valley Road, Towson. Memorial contributions may be made to the Ingeborg Osterchrist Oncology Endowment, c/o W. Lee Thomas Esq., 409 Washington Ave., Suite 314, Towson 21204.