John J. Pertsch, 75, engineer, Navy reservist

September 20, 2004

John J. Pertsch, a career engineer in Baltimore, died Sept. 13 of cancer at his Virginia Beach, Va., home. He was 75.

A Baltimore native and son of late Baltimore schools Superintendent Charles Pertsch, he graduated from Polytechnic Institute in 1947 and earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1951.

He was in the ROTC program and served four years in the Navy with the Amphibious Fleet in the Atlantic. He served 16 years in the Naval Reserves at Fort McHenry in the Military Sealift Command. He retired in 1974 as a commander.

Mr. Pertsch was a civil engineer for 34 years with Whitman, Requardt and Associates before retiring in 1989 as a project engineer.

He married Helen Elaine Suit in 1951. They lived in Baltimore before moving to Timonium in the early 1960s. The couple moved to Virginia Beach in 1995.

Mr. Pertsch maintained many professional and personal memberships and retained his professional engineer's license in Maryland until his death. During his working years, he was a member of the Society for Professional Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers, the American Waterworks Association and the Engineers Society of Baltimore.

He also was a member of the Retired Officers Association and the Naval Reserve Association.

Mr. Pertsch enjoyed the outdoors and was a longtime member of the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club. For 20 years, he was a volunteer trail overseer who maintained four miles of the trail from the Potomac River to South Mountain.

"He was really devoted to giving back to the community," said a daughter, Katherine Ryan of Virginia Beach.

In Maryland, he volunteered at the former Homewood Hospital Center and the Johns Hopkins Medical Service Corp. He also volunteered at the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, Va.

In Timonium as well as in Virginia Beach, he created model train gardens, inviting children and small groups to visit. He was a member of the Train Collectors Association.

When growing up in Baltimore, he was an altar boy at St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church, and later was a member of the Church of the Nativity and St. Joseph, Roman Catholic churches in Timonium.

In Virginia, he was a member of Virginia Beach United Methodist Church, where a memorial service was held Saturday.

In addition to his wife and daughter, survivors include another daughter, Mollie Doyle of New Bern, N.C.; a son, James Pertsch of Hillsborough, Calif.; a brother, Charles Pertsch of Baltimore; and eight grandchildren.

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