BomgardnerMerchant seamanSpencer E. Bomgardner, a...

S. E.

January 21, 1994

S. E. Bomgardner

Merchant seaman

Spencer E. Bomgardner, a merchant seaman, died Saturday of cancer at Stella Maris Hospice in Towson. The Rosedale resident was 72.

He spent the last 34 years of his career as a deck officer and retired in 1981 as a navigator for American President Lines.

After a brief tour of duty in the Army before World War II, he joined the merchant marine in 1941 and was a seaman on the Standard Oil Co. tanker Rochester. While steaming in a convoy in the South Pacific, the Rochester was credited with shooting down an enemy plane that had attacked it.

For his wartime service, he was awarded the Merchant Marine Emblem and the Atlantic War Zone, Pacific War Zone and Mediterranean Middle East War Zone bars.

From 1950 to 1970, he was an officer on ships of the Ore Navigation and Calmar Steamship companies, both subsidiaries of Bethlehem Steel Corp., before joining American President Lines.

"He was one of three deck officers who stayed with the captain and chief engineer aboard the S.S. Steel Ore when it was hit by a hurricane in 1954 off of Cape Hatteras," said a son, Paul M. Bomgardner of Perry Hall.

"The rest of the crew was taken off, and they were able to get the ship through the storm and into Baltimore without losing the vessel," he said.

His father was a native of Marysville, Pa., and attended schools there. He was a 1945 graduate of the Merchant Marine Officers Training School in New London, Conn., and did graduate study at the Maritime Institute of Technology. He was a member of the International Organization of Master, Mates and Pilots.

In 1942, he married Mary J. Bitter of Baltimore, who died in 1989.

Private services were held Sunday.

"It was his wish that a ceremonial spreading of his ashes take place at sea," said his son, "and he will, in effect, be signing on for his last voyage. They [the ashes] will be assigned to a master of a U.S. flag vessel, who will stop his ship and perform the service at sea."

Other survivors include two other sons, James S. Bomgardner of Ellicott City and Patrick Bomgardner of Perry Hall; a daughter, Rosemary C. Drennen of Grove City, Pa.; a brother, Grafton Bomgardner of San Diego; a sister, Dorothy McKnight of Roslyn, Pa; and four grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to the Union Memorial Hospice Program, 201 E. University Parkway, Baltimore, Md. 21218; or to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 43025, Baltimore 21236-0025.

Rodney Glen Jones

Fashion designer

Rodney Glen Jones, a Baltimore native who was known in the fashion design business as Rod Jones, died Jan. 14 of cancer at a hospital in New York City. He was 37.

Mr. Jones, who lived in Brooklyn, N.Y., opened the New Heritage clothing store in the late 1980s in a mall across from the Apollo Theatre in Harlem.

Performers such as Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Sinbad and Keenan and Damon Wayans bought clothes there, as did the producers of such television shows as "In Living Color," "The Cosby Show," "A Different World," "HBO's Def Comedy Jam," and "The Fresh Prince of Belair."

From 1990 until 1992, the store had a branch in Mondawmin Mall in West Baltimore.

Mr. Jones also sold his clothing at trade shows and ethnic events such as the AFRAM Festival in Baltimore. In addition, he designed T-shirts for the Apollo and the Alvin Ailey Dance Company.

Born in Baltimore, he was a 1974 graduate of Cardinal Gibbons High School, then attended the Parsons School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology, both in New York.

His wife was the former Belinda Wells. An Eastern High School graduate who also attended Parsons and the Fashion Institute, she was his business partner.

Before opening the store, he was an illustrator for the Daily News Record, a men's clothing magazine, and for other firms.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Bernardine's Roman Catholic Church, 3812 Edmondson Ave., Baltimore.

Other survivors include his father, Harold Jones Sr. of Baltimore; three brothers, Harold Jones Jr., Darryl W. Jones and Brandon Jones, all of Baltimore; and three sisters, Bonnie Jones of New York City, and Linda Jones and Toni Bowman, both of Baltimore.

Olive P. Digges

Active in ancestral clubs

Olive P. Digges, a homemaker, died Sunday of pulmonary complications at the Caroline Nursing Home in Denton where she had lived since 1990. The former Roland Park resident, who moved to Cordova in 1987, was 101.

The former Olive Prescott was born in Providence, R.I., and moved to Pittsburgh with her mother after George L. Prescott, her father, was lost in the sinking of the Portsmouth in 1897.

The family later moved to Washington, D.C., where her mother, a physician, practiced. During World War I, her mother, Ollie J. Baird Bennett, became the first woman to be commissioned as an Army doctor.

Mrs. Digges earned her bachelor's degree in 1921 from George Washington University and, in 1923, became the first woman to receive a bachelor's degree in architecture from the University of Minnesota.

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