Howard L. Stroterhoff, 83, chemist and musician

December 05, 2004

Howard Lee "Howdy" Stroterhoff, a patent-holding chemist and lifelong musician, died Tuesday of cancer at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. He was 83 and lived in Baltimore.

Born in Baltimore, he took up music at an early age as a bugle player in Hamilton Junior High School's Drum and Bugle Corps. He played the trumpet during his four years at City College.

He entered Loyola College after graduation, but before long his chemistry studies were put on hold by World War II. He entered the Navy, where he was a trumpet player in a band assigned to the Philippines.

After returning home, Mr. Stroterhoff earned his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Loyola in 1947 and later went to work at what is now Aberdeen Proving Ground. He earned six patents related to developments in chemical detection kits and co-authored numerous technical reports.

He loved to sail and to golf - and was a member of the County Club of Maryland for 47 years - but music remained his passion. On weekends, he and other musicians would play gigs throughout Baltimore. When he retired from Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1980, he started playing the trumpet full time - he worked in a band aboard a cruise ship.

"He was always practicing, and we were always doing something concerning music," said the former Peggy Riley, his wife of 46 years.

Mr. Stroterhoff's last performance was about three months ago, playing for residents at a Towson nursing home.

Funeral services will be held today at Ruck Towson Funeral Home, 1050 York Road.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Howard Lee Stroterhoff II of Baltimore.

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