R. Mergenthaler, 72, technician for newspapers

February 02, 1997|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Robert Paul Mergenthaler, a retired newspaper technician and former Baltimorean, died Tuesday of cancer at his Gloucester Point, Va., residence. He was 72.

Mr. Mergenthaler, formerly of Northwood, retired in 1988 after 20 years as technical support manager and chief computer room technician for the Press and Times Herald newspapers in Newport News, Va.

It was an appropriate career for Mr. Mergenthaler -- the great nephew of German immigrant Ottmar Mergenthaler, who invented and patented the Linotype machine in Baltimore in 1884. Before the development in the 1970s of computerized "cold type" processes, 200,000 Linotype machines were in use worldwide, casting molten metal into lines of type for books, magazines and newspapers.

Born and raised in Howard Park, Robert Mergenthaler attended Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School and later earned a General Educational Development diploma from Polytechnic Institute. He earned a bachelor's degree in industrial education from the University of Maryland and an associate's degree from the Johns Hopkins University.

From 1946 to 1955, he was chief composing room machinist for The Sunpapers. He taught Linotype operation to students at Mergenthaler from 1955 to 1964, when he established a typesetting-machine maintenance company. He moved to Virginia in 1967.

A World War II Army veteran, he served with the 175th Infantry Tank Company and participated in the Battle of the Bulge.

Services were held Friday in Gloucester, Va.

He is survived by his wife of 12 years, the former Dolores Martin; ZTC three sons, Alan P. Mergenthaler of Ellicott City, Robert G. Mergenthaler of Richmond, Va., and T. Jonathan Hargis of Gloucester Point; six daughters, Andrea M. Thomas of Hampstead, Jan M. O'Brien of Towson, Debbie Dun of West Point, Va., Laura H. Baxter of Gloucester Point, Susan H. King of Powhatan, Va., and Emily H. Irvin of Chesapeake, Va.; a brother, Ronald Mergenthaler of Fallston; and 15 grandchildren.

Pub Date: 2/02/97

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