Helen M. Gutowski, 92, ran equipment companyHelen M...

February 27, 1996

Helen M. Gutowski, 92, ran equipment company

Helen M. Gutowski, who ran a Fells Point equipment company with her husband and planted gardens wherever she lived, died of heart failure Saturday at a Towson nursing home. She was 92.

Born and raised in Fells Point, the former Helen Hines wed Vincent J. Gutowski in 1924 and lived most of her life in the Towson area.

They started Vince's Sales and Service Inc. on Aliceanna Street, for the sale, service and rental of industrial material-handling equipment such as forklifts. A grandson now runs the company.

"She ran much of the business," said granddaughter Janet Driscoll. "He had the gift of gab, got the customers; she put the money where it belonged." Mrs. Gutowski bid on jobs for Bethlehem Steel while her husband fought overseas in World War II.

They retired in 1968 and traveled in the United States and Canada.

Among the homemaker arts she enjoyed, gardening was Mrs. Gutowski's favorite. She designed gardens at all of the family's homes, teaching her grandchildren to make compost.

When Mrs. Gutowski moved to a Joppa Road condominium in 1977, after her husband's death, Ms. Driscoll said, "She started digging up the lawn and planted a hill garden. She put a lot into it, and they put up a large bench with a statue for the garden."

Services were to be held at 10 a.m. today at Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

Mrs. Gutowski is survived by a son, Vincent W. Gutowski of Towson; three grandchildren; 10 great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

John J. Nolan, 76, submarine designer

John J. Nolan, a retired Navy captain who helped design nuclear submarines, died Wednesday of cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Annapolitan was 76.

Born and raised in Montana, Mr. Nolan was a 1943 graduate of the Naval Academy and became a submarine officer in the latter part of World War II. His assignments included service in the Pacific as third officer on the USS Sea Dragon.

In 1945, he was sent to the Atlantic fleet and was executive officer on the USS Trumpet Fish, which surveyed the route under the polar ice cap later traversed by the USS Nautilus.

After earning a master's degree in engineering from the Naval Graduate School, he helped design nuclear submarines for the Navy's Bureau of Ships. He retired as a career officer in 1968, then worked until 1985 in the Westinghouse Corp. Oceanic Division.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered Saturday at the Naval Academy Main Chapel, with interment in the USNA columbarium.

Survivors include his wife of 50 years, the former Hazel Johnson, a Navy nurse whom he met during the war; three sons, William D. Nolan of Baltimore, James P. Nolan of Annapolis and John Michael Nolan of San Francisco; a daughter, Julie Nolan Matthews of Baltimore; and 11 grandchildren.

Charles E. Free, 77, auto salesman, pilot

Charles E. Free, 77, a Frederick auto salesman who enjoyed introducing people to flying, died Feb. 18 of complications from progressive supranuclear palsy at his Thurmont home.

Mr. Free retired in 1986 from Frederick Motor Co., where he had been an award-winning Ford salesman for 32 years.

He earned a pilot's license in 1946 and had an airstrip built in front of his house for his Piper Comanche. According to family members, wayward fliers would see the strip and drop in, thinking it was an airport -- and Mr. Free often would invite them in for a meal.

On Sunday afternoons, he enjoyed taking sightseers for a flight around Frederick and the surrounding Catoctin mountains.

A Navy veteran of World War II, he was a member of the Civil Air Patrol and the Thurmont American Legion.

In 1938, he and Jenny Ramsberg were married. She died in 1986.

Mr. Free donated his body to the Maryland Anatomy Board. A memorial service was held Sunday at St. John Lutheran Church in Creagerstown, where he was a member.

Survivors include two sons, Bill Free of Reisterstown and Ron Free of Thurmont; two sisters, Josephine E. Gills of Thurmont and Helen Eyler of Frederick; and five grandchildren.

Patricia H. Bradford, 66, executive secretary

Patricia H. Bradford, 66, a former executive secretary, died Sunday at her home in Worton of cancer. She was 66.

Mrs. Bradford retired in 1985 from Boston Metals Co., where she had been executive secretary for 11 years to the firm's president, John D. Schapiro. Fluent in French, she also worked in Paris for five years for an international accounting firm.

The former Patricia Hoffhines was born in Norfolk, Va., and moved to Baltimore as a teen-ager. She was a 1948 graduate of Eastern High School and earned her bachelor's degree from Goucher College. She lived in Ruxton before moving to the Eastern Shore eight years ago.

Mrs. Bradford had been a member of the English-Speaking Union, the Woodland Garden Club, Woman's Club of Roland Park and the Society of Virginia Women of Maryland.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. today at St. James Episcopal Church, 3100 Monkton Road, Monkton.

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