Abraham Eagle, 75, chemist, swim instructor

January 26, 2004

Abraham Eagle, a chemist who taught thousands of people to swim through the Catonsville Recreation and Parks Council's Learn to Swim Program, died Thursday of heart failure at his Catonsville home. He was 75.

Mr. Eagle was raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., and graduated from Lafayette High School in 1944. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from New York University and went on to work as a chemist, specializing in plastics.

After working in New York for several years, he moved to Baltimore to work for National Plastics. He married Tobianne Banowitz in 1959.

The family moved to Delaware for seven years while Mr. Eagle worked for DuPont, and then returned to the Baltimore area, where Mr. Eagle spent 19 years working for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. He retired in 1994.

Mr. Eagle started the Catonsville swim program more than 30 years ago, offering programs for children and adults.

"His biggest joy was teaching kids to swim," said his son Michael Eagle of Arbutus. He always taught as a volunteer and kept the price low so that all children could join, Mr. Eagle said of his father. He bought children swimsuits if necessary. "He believed that everyone should know how to swim," his son said.

Mr. Eagle often worked as a lifeguard, starting as a teen-ager at Jones Beach in New York and later at the Milford Mill Swim Club. He also taught cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid and lifesaving for the American Red Cross and the National Safety Council. He was a merit badge counselor in those topics for the Boy Scouts.

He was a member of a Masonic lodge in Talleyville, Del., retaining his affiliation while living in Baltimore.

Services were held yesterday.

In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by a brother, Irwin Eagle of Owings Mills; a sister, Dorothy Katz of Miami Beach, Fla.; two other sons, Harry Eagle of Charlotte, N.C. and Mark Eagle of Fawn Grove, Pa.; three daughters, Susan Morris of Scottsdale, Ariz., Sarah Quirk of Catonsville and Terri Warren of Columbus, Ohio; and 11 grandchildren.

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