Samuel Grant Gingher, 81, Beth Steel manager

May 16, 2004

Samuel Grant Gingher, a retired Bethlehem Steel manager who witnessed the signing of the Japanese surrender ending World War II, died of a heart attack Thursday at his Kingsville home. He was 81.

Born in Lancaster, Pa., he moved to Sparrows Point as a child. He was a 1939 graduate of Sparrows Point High School, where he played lacrosse.

Mr. Gingher joined Bethlehem Steel Co. in 1940 and helped handle the arrival of ore ships from South America.

He enlisted in the Navy in 1941, serving for the duration of the war as a machinist's mate aboard the USS Missouri. He was known as a "plank owner" because he was stationed on the ship when it was commissioned and remained on it throughout the war.

Mr. Gingher was a witness to the signing of the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay, which took place aboard the ship.

After the war, he resumed his employment with Bethlehem Steel, where he taught machinist apprentices to operate milling machines and other devices. He became a foreman of the No. 2 Machine Shop at Sparrows Point.

After he retired in 1981, he gardened, fished and followed sports teams.

He was also an active member of the USS Missouri Association and attended reunions. He was recently invited by the Associated Press to attend a "Memories of World War II" exhibit at Union Station in Washington.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Schimunek Funeral Home, 9705 Belair Road, Perry Hall.

Mr. Gingher is survived by his wife of 54 years, the former Margaret Bands; two sons, Roy Gingher of Cub Hill and Christopher Gingher of Catonsville; three daughters, Consuelo Miller of Bel Air, Mary Harper of Joppatowne, and Monica Rau of Louisville, Ky.; nine grandchildren; and a great-grandson. A son, Grant S. Gingher, died in 1988.

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