Eamonn McGeady, 69, advocate for city's port

October 28, 2001|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Eamonn McGeady, who owned a marine construction firm that helped build the National Aquarium and other harbor installations, died Friday at his Lutherville home. He was 69.

Family members said he was working at his computer when he was stricken. The cause of death had not been determined.

A longtime advocate for the port of Baltimore, he frequently gave tours of the harbor and commented on its history. He was president of Martin G. Imbach Inc., a Curtis Bay-based marine and heavy equipment construction firm that built and repaired many of the shipping piers and bulkheads along the harbor. He was currently involved in rebuilding a Fells Point pier for the RTKL office building off Thames Street.

"He was a civic-minded man who always knew just where he was going," said former U.S. Rep. Helen Delich Bentley. "He was a pleasant guy who always had a great big heart and a smile on his face. The company he ran had a reputation like he had -- everything was done to the best possible degree."

Born Manus Eamonn McGeady in Baltimore and raised on 38th Street, he was a graduate of Blessed Sacrament Parochial School and Polytechnic Institute. He earned an engineering degree from the Johns Hopkins University in 1961 and a law degree from the University of Baltimore. While at Hopkins he was a member of the varsity pistol and rifle team. He later helped run annual giving campaigns.

He began his career on Baltimore's waterfront in the early 1950s at the Maryland Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., where he was vice president of industrial relations. He left the city for duty in the Army Corps of Engineers and was stationed in Germany from 1955 to 1957. In 1968, he was named president of Martin Imbach, a firm his father had headed since 1944.

"Mr. McGeady's work is not usually so visible or so glamorous. Much of it is underwater and out of sight. And all of it serves undramatic but vital functions, such as holding up piers or buildings," said a 1987 Sun profile.

One of his first tasks at Imbach was to halt erosion on the Potomac River's St. Clement Island, where Maryland colonists landed in 1634. He later built the foundation pilings for the National Aquarium and a landfill at Piers 5 and 6, site of the Columbus Center and a hotel.

In 1981 he became a vocal advocate for changing federal tax law governing small businesses. He testified in favor of a federal income-tax cut before the House Ways and Means Committee.

Mr. McGeady was active in local charities, including Santa Claus Anonymous, the Red Cross and the United Way. He was a longtime board member of the Pride of Baltimore. In 1976 he was named Maryvale Preparatory School's first board chairman. He was a Roland Park Little League coach from 1965 to 1975.

A Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5300 N. Charles St., where he was a member and lector.

He is survived by his wife of 46 years, the former Mary Elizabeth Mumaw; two sons, M. Eamonn McGeady III of Annapolis and Michael C. McGeady of Baltimore; two daughters, Anne C. Laband of Auburn, Ala., and Mary L. McGeady of Baltimore; three brothers, Joseph K. McGeady of Severna Park, J. Glenn McGeady of Michigan City, Ind., and F. Xavier McGeady of Severna Park; and four grandchildren.

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