John R. Reckord Sr., 85, sailor, Beth Steel rate setter

August 13, 2005

John R. Reckord Sr., a retired Bethlehem Steel Corp. rate setter and avid Chesapeake Bay sailor, died Tuesday at his Baynesville home of complications from a fall he suffered last month. He was 85.

Mr. Reckord was born at home in Cockeysville and was raised there and in Towson. He was a 1938 graduate of Towson High School and completed a correspondence course in industrial engineering from International Correspondence Schools.

He began working at Sparrows Point as a toolmaker in 1939 but left in 1944 to enlist in the Navy. He served as a petty officer and worked in germ warfare at Fort Detrick in Frederick.

He returned to Bethlehem Steel in 1946 and in 1959 transferred to the company's industrial engineering department as a rate setter. He was promoted to chief rate setter at the company's No. 2 Machine Shop in 1970 and held that position until retiring in 1979.

Mr. Reckord began sailing in 1939, and through the years won 300 sailing trophies. He also built boats for family members and often named the vessels after the types of shore birds he liked, family members said.

He refurbished an Alberg 30 and an Allmand 31, the Avocet. He was still sailing the Avocet at the time of his death.

He also helped establish a junior sailing program at the Bush River Yacht Club.

Mr. Reckord was a member of the Potapskut Sailing Association on the Magothy River.

He and his wife of 62 years, the former Janet Walker, also an accomplished sailor, enjoyed sailing together from Maine to Florida. They also would spend winters on their boat in the Florida Keys.

Mr. Reckord was a longtime member of Babcock Presbyterian Church, 8240 Loch Raven Blvd., where services will be held at 11 a.m. today.

Surviving, in addition to his wife, are a son, John R. Reckord Jr. of Baltimore; a daughter, Betsy R. Bell of Sparks; a brother, Raymond C. Reckord of Seabrook, N.J.; a sister, Julia Reckord Smith of Rehoboth Beach, Del.; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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