Walter O. Brandau Jr., 74, car salesman, coach

March 19, 2006

Walter O. Brandau Jr., a car salesman and children's sports coach, died in his sleep March 12 at Warren Place senior housing and senior center in Cockeysville. He was 74.

Mr. Brandau grew up in Baltimore, where he attended City College. After graduating, he joined the Navy, serving from 1951 to 1954. Mr. Brandau was aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bennington on May 26, 1954, when a catapult exploded, killing 103 crew members and injuring 201. He felt fortunate to survive but lost many friends, said his son, Mark W. Brandau of Timonium.

In 1955, Mr. Brandau married Betty Berger, who survives him. They divorced after 32 years of marriage but remained close friends, drinking coffee together every morning.

He earned a business degree from the University of Baltimore, attending school at night while working. Over the years, he held jobs as a purchasing agent at a concrete company and as a sales manager for a moving company. He worked at numerous car dealerships in the Baltimore area before retiring about a decade ago.

"He was probably the least pushy person you'd ever meet on a car lot," his son said.

Mr. Brandau coached recreational football, basketball and baseball teams, and led the Cockeysville Springlake Council Royals to an undefeated season in 1969, said his son, who played on the winning football team.

Mr. Brandau was an avid Colts and Orioles fan. His favorite car was a 1970 Ford Torino convertible, but more than anything, he cared about his family, his son said.

A funeral service was held yesterday.

In addition to his son, he is survived by a daughter, Lisa Stickel of Vienna, Va.; two sisters, Betty Rodgers of Timonium and Joan Wibbe of Pasadena; and six grandchildren.

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