Eugene A. Esker, 78, radar engineer

September 07, 2006

Eugene A. Esker, a retired engineer who worked in aircraft radar, died of a lung ailment Friday at his Annapolis home. He was 78.

Born and raised in Effingham, Ill., he served in the Navy at the end of World War II and taught electronics for the military at Corpus Christi, Texas. He then earned an electrical engineering degree at the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana.

He moved to Baltimore in 1951 and worked for 30 years in electronics, communications systems and management for Westinghouse in Linthicum and Cockeysville. He spent three years in Iran in the 1970s. He retired from the aircraft communications business ARINC 15 years ago.

He was a Boy Scout troop leader at St. William of York Roman Catholic Church in Baltimore and a district commissioner for Boy Scouts of America in Annapolis.

His interests included world travel, fishing, boating, playing bridge, bowling and long car drives.

"He took the whole family to get the best view of the Fourth of July fireworks," said his son, Karl Esker of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. "If he had to walk a little farther to get there, he did."

A funeral Mass was offered yesterday at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, 109 Duke of Gloucester St., Annapolis, where he taught catechism for a decade and organized the parish Red Cross blood drive twice yearly for the past 15 years - and had donated 66 pints of blood.

Survivors also include his wife of 57 years, the former Rita Zumbahlen; three other sons, John Esker of Silver Spring, Erick Esker of Taneytown and Paul Esker of Ellicott City; four daughters, Karen Dickhaut of Cary, N.C., Linda Esker of Silver Spring, Elaine Reed of Vienna, Va., and Francine Glavy of Quantico, Va.; a brother, Andrew Ted Esker of St. Louis; 11 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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