Ralph F. Stritzinger, 82, machinist, veteran

September 22, 2003|By Linda Linley | Linda Linley,SUN STAFF

Ralph F. Stritzinger, a retired machinist who enjoyed designing and making model airplanes and houses out of balsa wood, died of cancer Tuesday at his home in Edmondson Heights. He was 82.

He was born in Glendale, Pa., and moved with his family to the Highlandtown area when he was about 10 years old. He graduated from the old Boys Vocational School, at Howard and Centre Streets, in 1938 and then went to work as a machinist for the former Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Co., building airplanes.

During World War II, he served as an electrician's mate third class with the Coast Guard from 1942 to 1945 and was stationed at Morehead City, N.C., St. Louis and Groton, Conn. It was at a roller-skating rink in North Carolina that he met Inez P. Guthrie of Beaufort, N.C., whom he later married.

They were married for 59 1/2 years and lived in the same house for 46 years, said a daughter, Air Force Col. Janice Stritzinger, who is stationed at the Pentagon.

The couple was the third consecutive generation in the family to be married for more than 50 years, said a son, Bobby Stritzinger of Baltimore.

After the war, Mr. Stritzinger worked for 27 years at the Burt Machine Co. on East Oliver Street and then at the Doughnut Corp. of America in Jessup. He retired from there 17 years ago.

"He loved working with his hands and could fix anything," Colonel Stritzinger said. "He was so precise with everything he did."

She said her father also loved to bake and would make eclairs, cream puffs and pies for his family. "He also made pies for his children to take home after a visit," Colonel Stritzinger said.

Mr. Stritzinger started making model planes and houses in his early teens, aided by his sister, Rita Guthrie of Towson, who helped decorate the models, his son said. One of the models included Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Highlandtown.

Bobby Stritzinger said his father loved to bowl. "It was a Friday night ritual: first it was Mass and then bowling with friends and family, including his own father. They called the bowling team Pop's Team," he said.

"He also was a devoted Orioles fan," said his son. "He would turn on the television, turn off the sound and tune the radio to Chuck Thompson to listen to the games."

Services were held Friday.

In addition to his wife, daughter, son and sister, Mr. Stritzinger is also survived by two other daughters, Nancy Sabella of Hamden, Conn., and Peggy Platt of Baltimore; another son, Paul Stritzinger of Finksburg; a brother, Aloysius Stritzinger Jr. of Long Green; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Contributions can be sent to the World War II Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 96766, Washington, D.C., 20090-6766.

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