Elizabeth M. Dunn, 83, draftswoman

August 14, 2006|By LAURA MCCANDLISH | LAURA MCCANDLISH,SUN REPORTER

Elizabeth M. Dunn, an aircraft draftswoman for the old Glenn L. Martin Co. plant and an operator of early computers at the Maryland Department of Motor Vehicles, died Aug. 7 of complications from a hip fracture at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson. The longtime Perry Hall resident was 83.

She designed tools for B-26 Marauder "hot rod" bomber planes at the Martin plant in Middle River during World War II and was one of the first women to perform that job, said her son, William Dunn of Perry Hall. When pilots returned from their missions in Europe and the Pacific, they came to the plant to thank Mrs. Dunn and other designers for their work.

"A lot of the pilots couldn't handle [the plane] because it was almost too fast," Mr. Dunn said. "But the ones that could said it got them out of a lot of tough situations in the war."

She took part in volunteer activities to help those serving in the military from World War II through the Vietnam War. With the Order of the Eastern Star and VFW Ladies' Auxiliary, Mrs. Dunn boxed toiletries and cookies for the troops abroad. She also played bingo with wounded soldiers recovering at the Perry Point VA hospital in Perryville.

"For a lot of people, it was very difficult to see soldiers who were amputees, not in real good shape," Mr. Dunn said. "She would always try to go and boost their spirits."

Elizabeth M. Schaefer was born in Perry Hall to William J. Schaefer, a U.S. Customs officer, and Margaret Schaefer, a German immigrant who later worked with her daughter at the Martin plant. She graduated from the old Kenwood High School in 1939.

With her mother and sister, Mrs. Dunn traveled by ocean liner from New York to Germany in 1931 during the Great Depression. They visited her mother's southern Bavarian family, leaving behind clothing for their impoverished German relatives. Fifty years later, Mr. Dunn accompanied his mother back to Germany to visit that same ancestral town, Essingen.

She married Edward Gori, a Glenn L. Martin colleague, in the early 1940s. The pair divorced 13 years later, after the birth of a son and a daughter.

In 1955, she married her high school sweetheart, Andrew Dunn, a World War II veteran and steelworker. They lived in Perry Hall until 1970. They then lived in Fullerton for 15 years before moving back to Perry Hall to be with their son. Mrs. Dunn's husband died in 1995.

She left Martin at the end of the war, but returned in the late 1950s to do clerical work.

In the early 1960s, she went to work at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Glen Burnie as a computer data-entry clerk. She retired in 1977.

Mrs. Dunn loved tending the blackberry and raspberry bushes in her Fullerton garden. She often donated food and supplies to needy families in Harford County, her son said.

She was a longtime member of St. Peter's Lutheran Church in Fullerton.

Services were held Friday.

In addition to her son, survivors include another son, John Gori of Fullerton; a daughter, Linda Gasiorowski of Parkville; a sister, Pauline Bell of Parkville; and two granddaughters.

laura.mccandlish@baltsun.com

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