William R. Fefel, 74, aerospace engineer

March 12, 2006

William Richard Fefel, a retired aerospace engineer and avid tinkerer from Monkton, died of liver failure at Gilchrist Hospice Center on Thursday. He was 74.

Born in Detroit, Mr. Fefel grew up in the Baltimore area. He left high school early and in 1951 joined the Navy. He became petty officer second class, helped train pilots and eventually earned a high school diploma.

For 25 years he worked as an aerospace engineer at Bendix, which became Allied-Signal Corp., in Towson. There he was part of a team that developed parts for the Patriot missile.

He earned a bachelor's degree in engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in 1975.

"He was a technical guy," said his daughter, Jennifer Fefel Jahromi of Monkton. "He could talk forever about the space-age adhesive he was using or about how he developed some new design for something."

Mr. Fefel used his engineering know-how at home to wow his children and their friends with wooden trains and spaceships and homemade fireworks. For his grandchildren, he built a playhouse with a sandbox in the shape of a tugboat and a six-room Victorian dollhouse with handmade shingles and siding.

He converted a bread delivery truck into a camper and then took the family on trips to national parks throughout the country.

Mr. Fefel remodeled the lower level of his home, handling everything from plumbing to electrical wiring to drywall.

Services will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Waugh United Methodist Church in Glen Arm.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Fefel is survived by his wife of 47 years, the former Peg Snyder; a brother, Clarke B. Fefel of Royal Oak, Mich.; and two grandchildren.

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