Louis Marconi, 75, owner of model shop

March 06, 2002|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Louis Marconi, former owner of a Brooklyn model shop and builder of highly detailed, flying model airplanes, died Saturday at Harbor Hospital from complications of surgery. The Glen Burnie resident was 75.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Brooklyn, Mr. Marconi was attending Southern High School when he enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1944. He served with the 8th Air Force in England as a crew chief aboard Douglas C-54 transport planes. He was discharged in 1946 and returned to Southern, graduating in 1947.

For the next 39 years, he was the proprietor of Marconi's Hobby Center on Patapsco Avenue. He was an authorized Lionel and American Flyer dealer, and sold model trains ranging from HO-gauge to those that operated outdoors in gardens, as well as model airplane kits and parts.

The store was also known for its ship models and extensive parts that brought modelers to the store from throughout the region, family members said.

"It was a nice, old-time 1950s-era mom and pop type of hobby shop, and he was a very, very nice guy. The shop was under a rowhome and had wooden floors. There were stacks of boxes, wooden shelves and items attached to peg boards," said Jim Rogers, a former customer and owner of Yorktowne Hobby Shop in Timonium.

Mr. Marconi had a second occupation from 1961 until 1987, as supervisor of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co.'s Notch Cliff natural gas storage facility.

Although Mr. Marconi had an extensive collection of antique model trains, model airplanes remained his passion. He painstakingly constructed in his home workshop what are known as U-controlled motorized airplanes - flown on hand-held lines that operate the rudder, elevators and ailerons - and was a member of the Chesapeake Bay Radio Control Club.

"He was 8 years old when he started building balsa-wood airplane models because that's all he could afford, and he never stopped," said his wife of 53 years, the former Jackie Robey.

At his death, Mr. Marconi was working on the restoration of a model of a 4 1/2 -foot-long, 17th-century Dutch sailing vessel.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Singleton Funeral Home, 1 Second Ave. S.W., Glen Burnie.

Mr. Marconi is also survived by two sons, David L. Marconi of York, Pa., and Larry S. Marconi of Brooklyn Park; two daughters, Eileen Eaton of Pasadena and Shirley Marconi of Brooklyn; a sister, Elvira Bartnick of Baltimore; six grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

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