John Fleming Chittenden, 83, supervisor of Bethlehem Steel's ship repair division

August 03, 2005

John Fleming Chittenden, retired planning supervisor of Bethlehem Steel's ship repair division, died of pneumonia Sunday at Union Memorial Hospital. The Roland Park resident was 83.

Born in Burlington, Iowa, and raised in Owings Mills, he was a 1940 graduate of Gilman School and played on its varsity football team. Studies at the University of Virginia were interrupted by service in World War II, when he joined the merchant marine and served as a navigator.

After the war, he sailed with United States Lines before joining Bethlehem Steel Corp. in 1951 as a safety engineer. He rose to become head of the Key Highway ship repair yard's planning department.

"The planning department at Key Highway was a very efficient operation, and John had a lot to do with this," said Helen Delich Bentley, a former congresswoman and maritime editor for The Sun. "Key Highway was the foremost ship repair yard on the East Coast in the 1950s and 1960s."

In 1982, after retiring from Bethlehem, he joined the engineering firm of Hughes Bendix & Holmes and lived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, during two years as a consultant to the Royal Saudi Navy.

In the 1960s, Mr. Chittenden was a Roland Park Little League baseball coach. He enjoyed jogging and bicycling, and was 1977 chairman of the Baltimore Ride a Bike for the Retarded fundraiser.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the Roman Catholic Shrine of the Sacred Heart, Smith and Greely avenues, Mount Washington.

Survivors include his wife of 18 years, the former Frances Smith Boone; two daughters, Mary Braden "Molly" Helfet of New York City and Lucy Carroll Chittenden of Baltimore; a sister, Mary Macneil Holton of Pelham Manor, N.Y.; two stepsons, Jake Boone of Baltimore and William McG. Boone of Rodgers Forge; a stepdaughter, Mary Jenkins Hutson of Hydes; and nine grandchildren. His previous marriage to the former Kate Carroll Nash ended in divorce.

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