William G. Fandek, 91, ship captain

Obituaries

July 25, 2006

William G. Fandek, a retired ship captain, died of a heart attack Saturday at his longtime Riderwood home. He was 91.

Captain Fandek was born and raised in Ashland, Wis., a port on Lake Superior. He joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s and later became a deckhand on Great Lakes ore carriers before World War II.

He joined the Navy during World War II and served aboard naval vessels in the Atlantic and Pacific as chief mate. After the war, he went to work for Moore-McCormack Lines and earned his master's license in 1954.

"He preferred being master of combined passenger and cargo ships than regular passenger liners," said his wife, the former Kari Bunkholdt, whom he met in 1947 while recuperating in an Oslo hospital after breaking his leg during a storm in the Baltic Sea.

"He would later tell his children, `That Norwegian nurse came into my room -- right away I knew she was the one,'" said his son Neal W. Fandek of Columbia, Mo.

After marrying in 1949, the couple moved to Baltimore. They also lived for four years in Copenhagen, Denmark.

During his long career at sea, Captain Fandek visited every continent with the exception of Antarctica.

"He transported circuses from South America, shipped war materiel to Korea and Vietnam, and hams from pre-Communist Poland," his son said.

Captain Fandek retired in 1981.

He was an avid reader of sea stories and biographies.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. today at First Lutheran Church of Towson, 40 E. Burke Ave., where he was a member.

Also surviving are another son, Philip B. Fandek of Raleigh, N.C.; two daughters, Kari-Ann Lynne of Monkton, and Ingrid Obrecht of Chattanooga, Tenn.; and 11 grandchildren.

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