Lawrence R. Eisenhart, 78, Bethlehem Steel superintendent

March 21, 1998|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Lawrence R. Eisenhart, who was superintendent of the steelmaking department at Bethlehem Steel Co.'s Sparrows Point plant, died March 14 of cardiac arrest at his Towson residence. He was 78.

Mr. Eisenhart was born and raised in the steel town of Bethlehem, Pa., one of 12 children.

The son of a maintenance worker, he graduated from Liberty High School, where he was a Golden Gloves boxer. He enrolled at Lehigh University, Pa., but left to enlist as a private in the Army at the outbreak of World War II in 1941.

He graduated from Officer Candidate School and served with the Army Corps of Engineers, building airstrips in the Middle East and along the Burma Road.

He was discharged when the war ended with the rank of captain and earned a degree in metallurgical engineering in 1948 from the Michigan College of Mining and Technology.

He began his career at Bethlehem Steel Corp. in 1948 and moved his family to Sparrows Point.

He was named assistant general foreman of the Bessemer department and in 1953 became shop superintendent of the open-hearth steelmaking operation. In 1969, his department set a record for the amount of steel manufactured in a year.

He was promoted in 1976 to superintendent of the steelmaking department, a position he held until he retired in 1982.

"He was well-recognized in the industry as one of its leaders. He was the kind of man who looked for challenges everyday," said Robert M. Weickert, retired superintendent of the company's pipe mill and a friend for 40 years.

Mr. Eisenhart was much in demand as a speaker and consultant, traveling to steel plants in Japan and Mexico. He was a member of the Iron and Steel Society and wrote numerous papers on steel production.

He was an avid stamp collector, golfer and wildfowl hunter. He also was an expert cabinetmaker and converted his garage into an elaborate woodworking shop, which had a sign designating it "Larry's Mill."

He was also a gifted storyteller and liked entertaining his grandchildren with elaborate tales of his own creation, relatives said.

He was a member of Ascension Evangelical Lutheran Church, 7601 York Road in Towson, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. today.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife of 55 years, the former Martha Malburg; a son, Lawrence R. Eisenhart Jr. of Cockeysville; three daughters, Patricia M. Eager of Baltimore, Sharon L. Woods of McDonough, Ga., and Elise E. Converse of Fairfax, Va.; a brother, Luther "Buddy" Eisenhart of Levittown, Pa.; a sister, Grace Cunningham of Bethlehem; and 12 grandchildren.

Pub Date: 3/21/98

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