Victim of fatal accident is remembered as dedicated Baltimore City paramedic Severn man, his wife and grandson died in collision Saturday


A Severn man killed Saturday with his wife and grandson in an Eastern Shore traffic accident was a much-loved and honored 31-year veteran of the Baltimore City Fire Department.

Wayne Allen Geldmacher Sr., of the 800 block of Stevenson Road, his wife, Patricia Gordon Geldmacher, and grandson Christopher Allen Geldmacher were killed in a collision near Price.

Mr. Geldmacher, who retired in 1992, spent much of his service that time was spent as a paramedic.

"He was like a brother to me. We were very close," said firefighter Bill Hall, who recalled their 11 years as ambulance partners. "He was well liked and very respected."

A wall of the Geldmacher home has plaques from his fire service years -- including one from a man he rescued who sent fruit baskets every fall and one naming him the city's Paramedic of the Year in 1990.

Mr. Hall described his former partner as a man who loved to joke -- he once confused shoppers by meowing the "Meow Mix" cat food jingle into his ambulance's public address system while riding down Howard Street -- and was deeply religious.

He attended Granite Baptist Church in Glen Burnie, and sang Christian works he composed, a their son, Matthew Scott Geldmacher, said. Mr. Geldmacher dreamed of getting them published, Mr. Hall said.

In his 1991 book, "Turnout, A Firefighter's Story," Mr. Hall wrote, "Every paramedic hopes for a partner like Wayne Geldmacher. The best thing about a good partner is his ability to share the unparalleled joys and unfathomable sorrows of ambo duty. Wayne has been that kind of spiritual and moral support for those of us who know and work with him."

Mr. Geldmacher, 56, and his wife, Patricia Gordon Geldmacher, 55, went to see waterfront property Saturday, taking grandchildren Christopher, Allen Geldmacher, 10, and Melissa Marie Geldmacher, 9, said David Allen Geldmacher, the children's father.

He said the Geldmachers had lived by the water in Arnold until they moved to Severn in 1986 and wanted a waterfront home again.

State police said the Geldmachers' van was westbound on Route 405 at 2: 30 p.m. and did not yield to a motor home heading southbound on U.S. 301 at the intersection in Queen Anne's County.

The motor home hit the van, shoved it into a ditch and landed on top of it, killing the couple and Christopher. Melissa was in good condition at Johns Hopkins Hospital yesterday. The motor home driver, Richard J. Dent, 71, of Landover Hills, escaped injury, police said.

Wayne Allen Geldmacher Jr. said his father worked part-time as a phlebotomist -- a blood technician for Corning Clinical Laboratories in Glen Burnie.

Mrs. Geldmacher was a soft-spoken homemaker devoted to the grandchildren she was helping to raise, said family and neighbors.

The couple traveled extensively in their motor home, taking their grandchildren on vacation.

Christopher was a fourth-grader at Quarterfield Elementary School. He was active in Cub Scout Pack 663. Family and neighbors described him as a child who liked to ride his bike and play ball.

The Geldmacher youngsters and the three boys in the Happel family who lived behind them were friends, running from one house to the other, even helping with each others' family chores.

"They were all up there or they were all down here. It's either they had five kids or I had five kids," said Barbara Happel.

Though she explained the deaths to her sons, one 9 and 7-year-old twins. she said she wondered how much they understood.

"P. J., I don't think he realizes he isn't going to have Chris to play with any more," she said, referring to her 9-year-old.

Other survivors include Mrs. Geldmacher's brothers, John Gordon of Hot Springs, Va.; Buck Gordon of Lattrell, Tenn.; and ** James Gordon of Shalimar, Fla.; and her sister, Jean Thacker of Ferram, Va.; and Mr. Geldmacher's brothers, Gary Geldmacher of Glen Burnie; and Tim Geldmacher of Pasadena; and his sister, Charlene Ziegler of Glen Burnie; and five grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete yesterday.

Pub Date: 4/01/96

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