Michael J. Shields Jr., 48, NSA employee, volunteerMichael...

March 18, 1996

Michael J. Shields Jr., 48, NSA employee, volunteer

Michael John Shields Jr., a National Security Agency employee and volunteer for the Negro League Players' Association and the Babe Ruth Museum, died of cancer March 7 at his Catonsville home. He was 48.

An NSA employee in Europe and at Fort Meade, his love of history and baseball led him to become a museum volunteer.

"He just came in as a visitor and we struck up a conversation about baseball and the Civil War. They were his two favorite things," said Teresa Egbert, head of the museum's weekend volunteers.

Mr. Shields, who also was considered an authority on The Alamo, wrote a movie script about General Lewis "Chesty" Puller Sr., whose heroism in the Pacific during World War II made him the most decorated Marine in U.S. history. Mr. Shields' wife, the former Arlene Bowman, said the script drew the attention of Hollywood producers but his illness prevented him from continuing the project.

In 1993, he anonymously delivered a Negro League shirt to the home of the late Hall of Famer Leon Day and later struck up a friendship with Mr. Day.

"They had such a nice bonding friendship, it was nice to see," Ms. Egbert said.

Born in New Britain, Conn., Mr. Shields married and moved to Catonsville in 1969. He graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and worked in public relations at Union Memorial Hospital before becoming an NSA employee in the late 1970s. He also served in the Marine Corps.

A Mass of Christian burial was offered March 11.

Other survivors include two sons, Michael and Robert Shields; and a daughter, Kathleen Shields, all of Baltimore; his mother, Mary Shields of New Britain, Conn.; and two sisters, Marge Wisk of Southington, Conn. and Dorothy Shields of Albany, N.Y. Laurence John Zimmerman Sr., who retired as custodian of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.'s records repository in 1978, died of heart failure March 2 at a nursing home in Olney. He was 83.

A graveside service was held Saturday at Parkwood Cemetery. The East Baltimore native worked 42 years for BGE, starting as a truck driver. After several years, he was assigned to the records repository on Bayard Street, where he and others filed by hand the millions of copies of utility bills, letters, documents and other forms. "It was long before the records were put on microfilm or in computers," said his son, Laurence John Zimmerman Jr. of Rockville.

Mr. Zimmerman also formerly worked part time as a pressman for The Sun.

His wife of 45 years, the former Ruth Magdalene Baker, died in 1981. Surviving, in addition to his son, are a brother, Alfred G. Zimmerman of Silver Spring; and three grandchildren.

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Pub Date: 3/18/96

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