J. Leonard Witzel, purchasing agent

May 14, 1994|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,Sun Staff Writer

J. Leonard "Len" Witzel, who was a purchasing agent for several area defense contractors and did woodworking as a hobby, died May 6 of cancer at his Hamilton residence. He was 58.

He had worked for Martin-Marietta, AAI, Rockwell International and Allied Signal. He then worked as an independent contractor until illness forced him to retire in 1991.

He married Nancy L. Von-Bussenius in 1958. They spent years restoring a house they bought on Westfield Avenue.

"A friend told him about a library they were taking down at the Naval Academy, so he went down there and took a lot of the shelving from which he built all sorts of things, such as a glider for the front porch, a hi-fi cabinet and a roll-top desk," Mrs. Witzel said.

"A dry wit, soft manner of speaking and a perceptive mind were Len's hallmarks," Jef Dauber, a friend of several years, recalled.

"He was a caring man, active at church and a fine home remodeler -- his workmanship was immaculate," Mr. Dauber said. "If you had a question, he was generous with his time in answering it, offering to help in any way. He gave of him

self freely and there was plenty there to give. He was a gentle soul.

"He was also proud as could be of his son, who was an Air Force navigator and an academy graduate, and his daughter, who was a flight engineer on Air Force C-5s [and] flew on planes from Dover, Del., to Iraq during Operation Desert Storm. He had photos of them and memorabilia scattered throughout his house."

Mr. Dauber continued: "He wore a Royal Air Force tie on occasion at church, forwarded to him by his son stationed in England as well as Air Force lapel pins. And he loved to tell anyone who inquired why he wore them.

"He was trying to extend his life until his son, Joel, could get here from England in June."

Born and reared in Hamilton in Northeast Baltimore, Mr. Witzel was a 1954 graduate of the Polytechnic Institute and attended the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. He served in the Army in Italy from 1958 until he was discharged in 1960.

A memorial service was planned for 2 p.m. today at Atonement Lutheran Church, 9121 Old Harford Road, Carney, where he was a member for many years.

In addition to his wife, survivors include his son, Air Force Capt. Joel L. Witzel of Mildenhall, England; his daughter, Andrea R. Campbell of Magnolia, Del.; his mother, Mary Ethel Witzel of Lochearn; and a granddaughter.

Memorial donations may be made to the church or the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 43025, Baltimore 21236-0025.

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