Peter J. Amati, 81, Beth Steel crane operatorPeter J...

September 15, 1996

Peter J. Amati, 81, Beth Steel crane operator

Peter J. Amati, a Bethlehem Steel Corp. crane operator and retired bartender who would readily debate on a wide range of topics, died of heart failure Wednesday at Stella Maris Hospice in Towson. He was 81.

A Baltimore native and longtime resident of Overlea, Mr. Amati went to work in 1942 as a crane operator at Bethlehem's Key Highway shipyard. He worked for the company for 35 years and was active in Local 24 of the shipbuilders union.

His bar-tending work began in the 1930s at the old Emerson Hotel and continued at the Belvedere, where he began working part time in the late 1950s. The establishment's clientele included a steady stream of politicians, who gave Mr. Amati plenty to argue about because he seldom agreed with them, friends and relatives said.

"He was a die-hard Democrat, and he believed that you always had to buy American. He liked to talk and talk about it," said his daughter Janet Bourgue of Kingsville. "And if you didn't agree with him, you were wrong."

A memorial Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow in the chapel of Stella Maris, 2300 Dulaney Valley Road.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Amati is survived by his wife of 55 years, the former Dorothy Brandt; a son, Donald Amati of Abingdon; another daughter, Mary Jean Ward of Ferndale; a brother, Primo Joseph Amati of Rockledge, Fla.; a sister, Mary Higgins of Towson; seven grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. William Fringer Wheeler, part owner of the Wheeler car dealerships in Hampstead and Westminster, died of cancer Thursday at his home in Millers. He was 74.

Born in Hampstead, Mr. Wheeler graduated from Hampstead High School, where he was president of the Class of 1939. He earned a degree in agriculture and biological chemistry at the University of Maryland and served in the Army during World War II.

Joining the family business after the war, he became part owner of Wheeler Chevrolet in Hampstead in 1958. He also was part owner of Wheeler Chrysler-Plymouth in Westminster, which his family bought in 1983.

He also was a board member of the Carroll County Bank for 17 years.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, the former Virginia Wilhelm; a daughter, Diane Virginia Wheeler Jones of Westminster; four sons, the Rev. William Edward Wheeler of Schroon Lake, N.Y., Warren Lee Wheeler of Millers, Wayne Howard Wheeler of Hampstead and Wade Michael Wheeler of Westminster; and 11 grandchildren.

Pub Date: 9/15/96

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