Frank William Grunder, 96, city police lieutenant

June 09, 2005

Frank William Grunder, a retired Baltimore police lieutenant who ran the department's polygraph lab, died of kidney failure Saturday at Anne Arundel Medical Center. The Linthicum resident was 96, and the father of a slain city police sergeant.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Fort Avenue, he graduated in 1926 from Calvert Hall College High School, where he played tennis and football. As a young man, Lieutenant Grunder rowed for the old Arundel Rowing Club in the Patapsco River and was an alternate for the 1932 Olympic games held in Los Angeles.

He joined the Police Department in 1938 and was assigned to the criminal investigation division. He earned a law degree in 1943 from the Eastern School of Law, and was a 1952 graduate of the FBI National Academy.

He later worked in homicide and the crime lab and, from its inception in 1955 until his 1971 retirement, ran the polygraph unit.

"During the first month of operation in 1955, I administered two tests," he told a reporter for The Evening Sun in 1968. "Last month alone, we administered close to 100."

Lieutenant Grunder was a past president of the Arundel Optimist Club and lieutenant governor of the Maryland Chapter of the Optimist.

A son, Sgt. Frank W. Grunder Jr., head of the department's escapee and apprehension unit, was off duty and out with his wife and three young children Aug. 1, 1974, when he spotted a bank robbery suspect and was killed in a shoot-out.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 9 a.m. today at St. Philip Neri Roman Catholic Church, 6405 S. Orchard Road, Linthicum.

Survivors include his wife of 68 years, the former Gertrude Nelligan; a son, Joseph Alan Grunder of Pasadena; a daughter, Lynda Marie Koch of Linthicum; 10 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

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