William M. `Ping' Kricker, 97, worked at the Pentagon

March 04, 2006

William Mathias "Ping" Kricker, a retired career Air Force officer and Pentagon procurement official, died Feb. 23 at Charlestown Retirement Community. He was 97.

Mr. Kricker was born and raised on his family's farm at Patapsco Neck overlooking Bear Creek. He was a 1926 graduate of Sparrows Point High School and earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland School of Agriculture in 1933.

After Prohibition ended in 1933, Mr. Kricker joined his father's business, the Baltimore Pure Rye distillery in Dundalk.

While a student at the University of Maryland, he joined the Maryland National Guard Horse Artillery and attained the rank of lieutenant. In 1941, he joined the Army Air Forces and became a procurement officer and aide to Air Force Gen. Henry H. "Hap" Arnold at the Pentagon.

After leaving the Air Force with the rank of colonel, he worked in New York City from 1947 to 1950 for Henry Lewis Co., buying and selling wool used to make men's suits.

He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War and served in the Air Force until 1954. He then became a civilian procurement official at the Pentagon for 15 years before retiring in 1969.

In 1950, he purchased a 30-acre, 1830s-era farm in Sandy Spring in Montgomery County, where he raised Hereford cattle and lived until moving to Mesa, Ariz.. For the past decade, he had lived at the retirement community in Catonsville.

Mr. Kricker enjoyed golfing and playing poker.

"He swam every day and did so the day before he died," said a daughter, Caroline K. Hussman of Sandy Spring.

His wife of 33 years, the former Rosemary Handy McGinnis, died in 1998. His previous marriage to the former Agnes McNutt ended in divorce.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Monday at Our Lady of the Angels Chapel at Charlestown, 711 Maiden Choice Lane.

Also surviving are a son, Frank M. Kricker of Harrington, Del.; another daughter, Louise K. Megginson of Sandy Spring; 11 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

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