Paul Nahnibida, 84, civil engineer, construction company owner, pilot

December 12, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Paul Nahnibida, a retired civil engineer and construction company owner who flew fighter aircraft in the South Pacific during World War II and in the Maryland Air National Guard, died Sunday of complications from cancer and diabetes after a brief stay at Future Care Chesapeake in Arnold. He was 84 and lived in Glen Burnie and Queenstown.

Mr. Nahnibida, who was born and raised in Curtis Bay, was the son of emigrants from Russia and Ukraine who settled in Baltimore. He graduated from Polytechnic Institute and in 1947 earned a degree in civil engineering from the University of Alabama.

Before enlisting for wartime service, he worked at Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point shipyard as a field inspector for the rebuilding of facilities there.

Mr. Nahnibida served in the Army Air Forces, and in 1945 walked away with only minor burns after an engine failed and his plane crashed on takeoff for a mission to Formosa.

"He got right back in" a plane after the crash, said a daughter, Paula M. Morgan of Pasadena. "I wouldn't have, but it was different then."

He was discharged as a second lieutenant in 1946.

Mr. Nahnibida joined the Maryland Air National Guard in 1955, serving with the 175th Fighter Wing from the Edwin Warfield Air Base at Martin State Airport in Middle River. He remained in the Guard until 1980, retiring as a lieutenant colonel.

He began a long career in engineering and construction after the war with the Whiting Turner Contracting Co., working in the design and construction of several chemical plants in Fairfield.

In the late 1940s, Mr. Nahnibida became a resident engineer with the State Roads Commission, now the State Highway Administration, then became assistant district engineer for District 3. Among his projects were work on expressways between Baltimore and Washington, and from Annapolis to Washington, and roads and bridges in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.

In 1956, he joined Clarkeson Engineering Co. Inc., where he was resident engineer on the approaches to the new Harbor Tunnel under the Patapsco River, and projects in Baltimore and in Washington.

In the early 1960s, he and a partner formed the Warfield-Paul Construction company, which became Paul Construction in the late 1970s. During these years, his projects included many roads and bridges in Maryland, Virginia and Washington. He retired in 1986.

Mr. Nahnibida enjoyed spending time with his family and worked around his homes in Glen Burnie and Queenstown.

Services were held Friday.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife of 58 years, the former Rita Donnelly; a son P. Gregory Nahnibida of Sunderland; another daughter, Nancy A. Breitenbach of Stevensville; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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