Maurice Albert Peter, 83, engineer


Maurice Albert Peter, a former aeronautical engineer who later worked for the U.S. Department of Commerce, died of heart failure Sunday at St. Agnes HealthCare. The longtime Academy Heights resident was 83.

Mr. Peter was born and raised in Washington, and graduated from Gonzaga College High School. After earning his bachelor's degree in 1944 from Catholic University of America, he enlisted in the Navy, where he served in the Pacific as a flight engineer.

Returning to Baltimore after the war, he went to work as an aeronautical engineer at the old Glenn L. Martin Co. plant in Middle River.

From 1948 to 1958, he was a salesman for the National Gypsum Co. and then took a position in public affairs for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration where he worked until 1960.

From 1960 until his retirement in 1984, Mr. Peter oversaw international trade shows that were staged all over the world by the Department of Commerce.

In 1950, Mr. Peter moved to the new community of Academy Heights that featured 487 neo-Colonial style brick houses that were built in the Catonsville neighborhood between 1950 and 1952.

Recalling those early years in Academy Heights, Mr. Peter told a reporter for The Sun in 2003 that "the police would close off the street and we would have the best block parties. Everyone would bring out the one thing they cooked the best."

One of Mr. Peter's cherished mementos was a newspaper clipping from the 1960s when his Greenlow Road lawn was declared "Best Lawn in the Neighborhood."

"He had a lot of talent and could fix anything," said his wife of 59 years, the former Margaret Drach. "All the wives in the neighborhood would fuss and wonder why their husbands couldn't fix things like he did. I'd pray he wouldn't fall off the roof."

Through his more than half-century residence in his home, Mr. Peter built and rebuilt by himself much of the original house. He added a powder room and a screened-in porch, which became a source of contention after the Academy Heights neighborhood banned them.

In addition to being an avid gardener, Mr. Peter enjoyed reading and eating with family and friends at his favorite Catonsville restaurants: the Double T Diner, Candlelight Inn and Jennings Cafe.

Mr. Peter liked to play golf and was an active member of the Knights of Columbus.

He was a communicant of St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church, Route 40 and St. Agnes Lane, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 9 a.m. today.

Also surviving are two sons, James J. Peter of Catonsville and David P. Peter of New York; two daughters, Mary Lynne Toth of Upperco and Kathleen A. Schafer of Glen Burnie; a brother, Albert Peter of Washington; and four grandchildren.

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