George J. Wonneman Sr., 80, former prisoner of warGeorge...

July 18, 1999

George J. Wonneman Sr., 80, former prisoner of war

George J. Wonneman Sr., a Baltimore native who spent more than three years in a Japanese prison camp during World War II, died yesterday of complications from a heart attack at Cape Coral Hospital in Cape Coral, Fla. He was 80.

Mr. Wonneman attended City College and worked for 39 years as a conductor for the Pennsylvania Railroad, a career interrupted by World War II.

Serving as a corporal in the Army Corps of Engineers, Mr. Wonneman helped build airstrips in the Philippines. He was captured there by the Japanese in 1942 and was on the Bataan Death March before being shipped to a prison camp in Japan.

Released from prison after 3 1/2 years, he returned to Baltimore in 1946 to marry the former Irene Ward. The couple lived on Moreland Avenue in Parkville and moved to Florida after Mr. Wonneman's retirement in 1979.

An avid golfer who loved to travel, Mr. Wonneman visited all 50 states with his wife since 1979, including Hawaii, where they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

Mr. Wonneman was a member and past national commander of the American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, a prisoner of war group. He also belonged to the Order of the Moose, Veterans of Foreign Wars and an American Legion post in Cape Coral, Fla.

A Mass of Christian burial has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday at St. Ursula's Pastoral Minister, 8801 Harford Road in Parkville.

In addition to his wife, survivors include a daughter, Patricia Barber of Winston-Salem, N.C.; two sons, George Wonneman Jr. of Huntingtown and David Wonneman of Baltimore; two sisters, Margaret Fee of Baltimore and Mary Lou Richter of Barefoot Bay, Fla.; and six grandchildren.

John Paul Gnagey, 51, middle school teacher

John Paul Gnagey, a veteran middle school math teacher in Ellicott City, remembered for his enthusiasm in the classroom, died of brain cancer yesterday at Gilchrist Hospice Center in Towson. He was 51.

Mr. Gnagey had taught at Dunloggin Middle in Ellicott City since 1978, serving most recently as chairman of the math department. He taught sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade classes and led an effort in 1993 to establish a weather monitoring facility to teach students meteorology.

"More than any teacher I ever had, he projected his love for what he was doing," said Meghan K. Casey of Ellicott City, a sophomore history major at Yale University and a former student. "I had never been into math before."

Ms. Casey said Mr. Gnagey brought math to life by jumping around and using hand motions to illustrate such principles as how variables are substituted in an equation.

Mr. Gnagey made his last appearance in a classroom on the opening day of classes in 1997. Very ill, he was assisted that day by his wife, who said he simply wanted to see the school after it had been renovated.

In October of that year, more than 800 tickets were sold for a benefit that raised more than $20,000 to help the Gnagey family with medical bills.

A native of Meyersdale, Pa., Mr. Gnagey moved to Ellicott City in 1978 and lived on Labelle Court with his wife, the former Judith Simmons, whom he married in 1975.

He received a bachelor's degree from California State University in 1969 and graduate degrees in education from California State and Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He was a member of the Maryland State Teachers Association and the National Education Association.

Mr. Gnagey was a Civil War buff who loved collecting war memorabilia as well as antique postcards, political buttons, advertising tins and antique furniture.

A memorial service is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Chapelgate Presbyterian Church, 2600 Marriottsville Road in Marriottsville.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two sons, William Stewart Gnagey and Andrew John Gnagey, both of Ellicott City; his parents, William D. and Pauline M. Gnagey of Meyersdale; a twin brother, Edgar W. Gnagey of Meyersdale; and a sister, Carol G. Powell of Sherborn, Mass.

Lucille M. Tessier, 59, Girl Scout leader, volunteer

Lucille Marie Patterson Tessier, a longtime Girl Scout leader and St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen volunteer, died after a long illness on Tuesday. The Randallstown resident was 59.

An avid golfer and bowler, Mrs. Tessier was a member of the choir at Holy Family Church in Randallstown. For many years, she worked at Northwest Hospital Center as a patient registrar.

She and her husband, Gregory Tessier, renewed their wedding vows July 10 to mark their 39th wedding anniversary on July 2. She died at home three days later.

She is also survived by four daughters, Christine M. Seabright of Sharpsburg, Lisa A. Keller of Baltimore, Julie A. Seabright of Middletown and Catherine L. Vlassis of Falls Church, Va.; two sons, Gregory J. of New Park, Pa., and Paul A. Tessier of Westminster; four brothers, Marc Patterson of Hastings, N.Y., Robert Patterson of Sacramento, Calif., William Patterson of Lake Worth, Fla., and Joseph Patterson of Flagler Beach, Fla.; three sisters, Eleanor Lamoreaux of Whitinsville, Mass., Anne M. Michaud of Northbridge, Mass., and Diane Creighton of Uxbridge, Mass.; 15 grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Services were held yesterday at Holy Family Church.

The family asked that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Holy Family Church, 9533 Liberty Road, Randallstown, 21133.

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Pub Date: 7/18/99

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