Charles B. Scharp, 75, BGE mechanical engineer

April 16, 2001|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Charles B. Scharp, a Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. mechanical engineer who was highly regarded for his expertise in monitoring power plant performance, testing and analysis, died Wednesday of leukemia at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He was 75.

In a career that spanned nearly four decades in BGE's Fossil Power Department, the Towson resident had more than 37 years of experience in monitoring performance of power plants.

He was responsible for directing the productivity improvement program and the operation and performance of BGE power plants that were fueled by coal and oil, as well as by nuclear power.

He also formulated the codes used to monitor performance of steam turbines used to produce electricity.

Mr. Scharp began his career with the Baltimore utility in 1948, and was a supervising engineer in the performance section. Until retiring in 1986, he had spent the last 1 1/2 years of his career as a consulting engineer to the company's Fossil Operations Department.

"During most of his career, he had been associated with performance testing," said Richard W. Perry of Pinehurst, a retired BGE mechanical engineer who had worked with Mr. Scharp for many years.

"His work encompassed the capacity of the equipment and emissions. He formulated the code for testing steam turbines that others who followed him still use in performing those tests. At Calvert Cliffs, he was most instrumental and played a key role in establishing the procedures for testing steam turbines used in nuclear power plants," he said.

Mr. Scharp's work was not only abstract and cerebral but also took him onto the floor of power-generating stations.

"He was hands-on, and after running a test, he'd interpret the instrumentation and data. He had a keen analytical mind and was able to look at problems, suggest different approaches, and then solve them. And he was a good collaborator and had wonderful personal skills when working with the other engineers," Mr. Perry said.

Mr. Scharp had been chairman of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' Board on Performance Test Codes for steam turbines. He also served on ASME's Board on International Standards, Board on Pressure Technology Codes and Standards, and the Council on Codes and Standards.

A registered professional engineer, Mr. Scharp was author or co-author of 12 technical papers written for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

Born and reared in Dundalk, Mr. Scharp was a 1943 graduate of Polytechnic Institute. Enlisting in the Navy during the latter days of World War II, he attended pre-flight school as part of the naval V-12 program at Drew University in New Jersey.

After being discharged from the Navy, he returned to Baltimore and earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in 1948. In 1954, he earned a master's degree in the discipline from JHU.

He was a longtime parishioner and had served on the church council of Ascension Lutheran Church, 7601 York Road, Towson, where a memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, the former Phyllis Jeanne Zimmerman; a son, Robert Craig Scharp of Thurmont; two daughters, Carole Lynn Cover of Fallston and Caron Scharp Ward of Charlottesville, Va.; a sister, Virginia Precht of Parkville; and six grandchildren.

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