Robert A. Waidner, 89, philanthropist, president of Standard Fusee Corp.

September 12, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Robert A. Waidner, former chief executive officer and president of Standard Fusee Corp. and a philanthropist, died Sept. 5 of respiratory failure at Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) Medical Center. The Riderwood resident was 89.

From 1948 until the early 1990s, when he sold the business, Mr. Waidner headed Standard Fusee, the nation's largest manufacturer of colored flares that are used for signaling purposes by railroaders, mariners and highway authorities.

He also was briefly the owner of the famed McShane Bell Foundry Co. in Baltimore, which he bought in 1947 but sold a year later.

Until recently, Mr. Waidner, through his Waidner Corp. in Towson, managed trusts and other investments, and made bequests to Johns Hopkins Hospital, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, and educational and charitable organizations.

Born and raised in Forest Park, Mr. Waidner received his bachelor's degree in 1932 from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., and a law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1936.

He began his business career in the late 1930s with the Savings Bank of Baltimore, before enlisting in the Army Air Forces. An aide to Maj. Gen. Claire Chennault, he served with the 14th and 1st Air Forces in the Pacific theater of operations and attained the rank of colonel.

He was a trustee of Dickinson College for nearly 50 years and a former member of the Bank of Maryland board.

For many years, he was president of the education fund of the Baltimore Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Mr. Waidner maintained homes in North Palm Beach, Fla., and Riderwood. He was a member of the Baltimore Country Club and the Center Club.

In 1941, he was married to the former Wilhelmina Hahn, who died in 1984.

Services were held yesterday.

He is survived by his wife, the former Elizabeth Reed, whom he married in 1985; a stepson, Lane C. Kaley of Fort Collins, Colo.; two stepdaughters, Prudence "Prue" Kaley of Fort Collins and Linda K. Erekelens of San Francisco; and four step-grandchildren.

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