Joseph S. Reppert, 83, Chessie aide

March 30, 2006

Joseph S. Reppert, a retired Chessie System executive secretary, died in his sleep Monday at his Timonium home. He was 83.

Mr. Reppert was born and raised in Buckhannon, W. Va., where his father was the city's sheriff. After graduating from high school in 1941, he moved to Baltimore when he took a job with the Calvert Distillery.

Two years later, he went to work in the office of Col. Roy B. White, who was president of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, as an executive secretary. He was later assigned to the office of the railroad's secretary and ended his career in 1991 with successor Chessie System in the office of the vice president of transportation.

"Railroad secretaries were very high-level and well-paid jobs. In fact, in those days, they were some of the best-paid jobs in the city and were held by men because there was required traveling. Joe knew everyone on the railroad and was well-liked," said E. Ray Lichty, a longtime friend and retired vice president with successor company CSX.

"I first met him in the president's office in the 1950s, and he was one of the fastest typists I've ever known. He was good and very efficient at his work. He was also jovial and a friend to everyone," said Spence Sullivan, an executive secretary who retired from the railroad in the early 1980s.

When Mr. Reppert was 61, he went to night school at the University of Baltimore, where he earned a bachelor's degree in accounting.

He was an active member of RABO, a B&O retirees' association, and had served as the first editor of the organization's newsletter.

Friends and colleagues recalled his gregariousness and sense of humor yesterday.

"He always had a story and a good one-liner. And after talking to you, he'd say, `Well, I'm glad you got to see me,'" Mr. Lichty said.

Mr. Reppert was the brother of Ralph Reppert, the Sun Magazine feature writer and staff humorist, who died in 1979.

He was a member of the Country Club of Maryland, where he golfed. He also enjoyed reading and writing.

Mr. Reppert was a member of Grace United Methodist Church, 5407 N. Charles St., where services will be held at 2 p.m. tomorrow.

Surviving are his wife of 62 years, the former Anna Lee Garton, a former sales associate at Peck & Peck and a caterer; a son, Joseph Lee "Spanky" Reppert of Auburn, Ala.; and four grandchildren.

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