Charles Ira Mumaw, 94, aircraft builder

January 26, 2001|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Charles Ira Mumaw, whose career as an aircraft builder began during World War II and ended in the Space Age, died Tuesday of heart failure at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. He was 94.

Mr. Mumaw had lived in Fallston before moving to Oak Crest Village, a retirement community in Parkville, four years ago.

In 1939, Mr. Mumaw, a sheet metal fabricator, was hired by Glenn L. Martin, the aircraft manufacturer whose Middle River factory was gearing up for America's eventual entry into World War II. He worked on most of the aircraft associated with the Martin plant - the B-26 Marauder bomber, the Martin Mars seaplane, the Martin 202 and 404 class of commercial airliner and the Seamaster jet-powered Navy flying boat.

Mr. Mumaw became general superintendent of the Martin D Building, a huge structure where aircraft parts arrived through one door and a completed aircraft left through another.

In the 1960s, he oversaw the final assembly of Gemini spacecraft rocket boosters for the space program for Martin Marietta Corp., successor firm to the Glenn L. Martin Co. He retired in 1968.

Mr. Mumaw "was an expert fabricator. He could form sheet metal in any shape you could come up with," said Eamonn McGeady Sr. of Lutherville, his son-in-law. "He was so deft with his hands. What someone else could not make with a piece of paper, he could make out of metal."

"He could envision a compound curve to enclose an engine," Mr. McGeady said. "Aircraft designers sought his recommendations."

Mr. Mumaw "was a pioneer of Martin aviation," said Harry Mettee of Hamilton, a friend and director of the Martin Marietta Retirees Association. "He was well-known, well-liked and well-respected."

Born in the Hampden section of Baltimore, Mr. Mumaw attended public school through eighth grade. He liked to say that he then graduated from HKU - Hard Knocks University.

As a young man he was employed as a metal fabricator at the Hutchinson Brothers Co. on South Howard Street, building and installing stainless steel restaurant kitchens in Baltimore, Maryland and Virginia.

He often recalled that he was frequently assigned to take the overnight steamboat from Pratt Street to Norfolk, Va., where he built restaurant and hotel kitchens in the Tidewater area.

In retirement, he and his wife, the former Marie Agnes Hlavin, whom he married in 1931, became volunteers at the old Fallston General Hospital. She died in 1988.

Known around the hospital as Mr. Charlie, Mr. Mumaw accumulated 7,700 hours of volunteer service. On a typical day, he fixed sticky desk drawers or ran the information desk. He also built the hospital's Nativity display.

He also sat on the board of the Madison and Bradford Federal Savings and Loan Association in Forest Hill.

He was a member of Washington Lodge No. 3 of the Masons.

Services for Mr. Mumaw will be at 11 a.m. today in the chapel at Oak Crest Village, 8800 Walther Blvd.

He is survived by a daughter, Mary Elizabeth McGeady of Lutherville; a sister, Edith Mummert of Parkville; four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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