Wilbur C. Hossfeld, president of engineering company

September 27, 1999|By John Murphy and Jill Hudson Neal | John Murphy and Jill Hudson Neal,SUN STAFF

Wilbur C. Hossfeld, a retired engineer who worked his way up from draftsman to president of a Baltimore engineering and consulting firm, died Thursday of pneumonia at Pickersgill Retirement Community in Towson. He was 92.

The longtime Stoneleigh resident moved to Pickersgill in 1993.

Born and raised in Annapolis, Mr. Hossfeld left Annapolis High School in the 10th grade to work at Charles Chance's Eastport shipyard, building boats the Coast Guard used to catch rum runners during Prohibition.

At night, he commuted from Annapolis to Baltimore to attend drafting classes at the Maryland Institute for the Promotion of Mechanical Arts, the predecessor to Maryland Institute, College of Art.

In 1926, on a recommendation from one of his instructors, Mr. Hossfeld was hired as a draftsman by the Office of James Posey, a mechanical engineering firm based in Baltimore. He graduated from Maryland Institute in 1927.

As a draftsman, he learned to design heating, plumbing, air-conditioning and electrical systems for buildings. In 1940, he was registered as a professional engineer and later became a partner in the firm.

When James Posey died in 1961, Mr. Hossfeld founded the firm of James Posey Associates Inc. He was president until 1981, then worked part time and retired in 1983.

During his career, he designed and oversaw the mechanical and electrical engineering for hundreds of buildings throughout Maryland and Virginia, including some at then-Catonsville Community College, Community College of Baltimore and Northern High School in Baltimore.

Mr. Hossfeld's enthusiasm for engineering never waned during 57 years in the profession, his son said.

"He loved to work. When I was a kid, he worked six days a week, and he would go back [to work] at night three or four nights a week," said W. Carl Hossfeld Jr. of Ruxton, president of James Posey Associates Inc. since 1981.

That enthusiasm has been carried on by other family members. Mr. Hossfeld's two grandsons are pursuing careers in mechanical engineering.

In his later years with the firm, Mr. Hossfeld cherished his role training young engineers.

"He really liked to mentor younger people and train them. He really got a lot of enjoyment from that. Some of the people he trained are still with the company today," his son said.

Mr. Hossfeld was a life member of the National Society of Professional Engineers and the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers. He was also a 42-year member of the Rotary Club of Baltimore, serving as president in 1975.

His wife of 57 years, the former Dorothy Payne, died in 1992.

He was a former member and vestryman of Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Cedarcroft.

He was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church of Towson, 120 Allegheny Ave., where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday.

In addition to his son and two grandsons, he is survived by a stepdaughter, Barbara S. Mosher of Mays Chapel; two granddaughters; and a great-grandson.

Pub Date: 9/27/99

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