F. Roderick Deland, government engineer

March 03, 1994|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Sun Staff Writer

F. Roderick Deland, an engineer for two government agencies and a fan of the Towson July Fourth parade, died Saturday of respiratory failure at Meridian Nursing Center in Towson, where he had been a resident since 1987. He was 91.

He retired in 1969 as chief of the construction division of the Army Corps of Engineers, where he had worked since 1951. At the agency, he worked on flood control projects and the construction of the National Security Agency complex at Fort Meade.

Known as "Rod," Mr. Deland was born and reared in Washington. After graduating from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1925, the civil engineer went to work for the Veterans Administration. At the VA, he worked on the construction of hospitals in Waco, Texas, St. Petersburg, Fla., and Passamaquoddy, Maine.

In 1948, he came to Baltimore to oversee construction of the VA hospital on Loch Raven Boulevard.

During World War II, he joined the Army and was the resident engineer on an Army Air Corps airfield near Syracuse, N.Y. He was discharged with the rank of major in 1946 and joined the Army Reserves, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was awarded the Army Commendation Citation for Exceptional Meritorious Service.

He applied his engineering knowledge to his leisure activities and enjoyed building a fireplace, patio and retaining wall for his Towson home. Another project he completed in the late 1940s is the path that enables Towson State University students to take a faster route across Alabama Court through woods to the intersection of Georgia Court and Florida Road and the school's campus, said his son, David P. Deland of Towson.

"He loved the July Fourth Parade in Towson and every year would go up to the corner of Chesapeake Avenue and York Road, right in front of Kaufmann's Pharmacy, and sit on his folding chair to watch the parade," the son said. He "wore the same vertical-striped red and white shirt and straw hat year after year."

Mr. Deland was a member of Calvary Baptist Church, where he was a deacon.

His wife, the former Helen Johnson, whom he married in 1932, died in 1984 after a 30-year struggle with multiple sclerosis.

Services were to be held at 12:30 p.m. today at the Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road, with burial set for 3 p.m. at Arlington National Cemetery.

In addition to his son, he is survived by three daughters, Diane D. Herbert of Timonium, Carol D. Heffner of Jacobus, Pa., and Frances D. Tokar of Summit, N.J.; a sister, Dorothy Dowd of Albuquerque, N.M.; and six grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to Calvary Baptist Church, 120 W. Pennsylvania Ave., Towson 21204.

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