Simon August Gustav Ploger, 101, aerospace engineer

August 07, 2005

Simon August Gustav Ploger, a retired aerospace engineer whose career spanned four decades, died of natural causes July 30 at Multi-Medical Center in Towson. He was 101.

Mr. Ploger, who was known as Gustav, was born in Hasbeck, Germany, and grew up on a farm in Rentorf.

He studied at the University of Munich and in 1931 enrolled in a technical school in Danzig, which is now Gdansk, Poland.

Mr. Ploger, whose specialty was wing design, began working in 1936 in Bremen for Messerschmidt and Fokke-Wulf. Daily Allied air raids on Bremen during World War II forced the plant to move to Buckeburg and later Bad Eilsen.

After the end of the war, he moved to Argentina, where he worked for the Institute of Aeronautical Engineering. In 1956, he was recruited by the old Glenn L. Martin Co. and moved to Hamilton.

In 1966, because of his work on a movable-wing aircraft, Mr. Ploger was sent by the Martin Co. to McDonnell Corp. in St. Louis to help design the Thunderbird, a fighter jet with a movable wing.

During the 1970s, he worked on the design of communication satellites for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Beltsville. He later held positions at the Computer Science Corp. and Fairchild-Hiller in Gaithersburg, from which he retired in 1978.

Mr. Ploger, who lived in the Campus Hills neighborhood of Towson for over 40 years, enjoyed making jewelry, including cutting his own stones and doing the required metalwork.

There are no services.

Survivors include his wife of 71 years, the former Elisabeth K. Sebastian; a son, Hans Ploger of Rio Negra, Argentina; two daughters, Karla Reinhardt of Roswell, Ga., and Cristina Loizeaux of Mount Washington; 10 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

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