James Avirett Jr., 57

Environmental engineer

January 10, 2007

James A. Avirett Jr., an environmental engineer whose specialty was water and wastewater management, died of cancer Thursday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The Cockeysville resident was 57.

Mr. Avirett was born and raised in Cumberland and was a 1967 graduate of Mercersburg Academy in Pennsylvania. He earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1971 from Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., and a master's degree in environmental engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in 1973.

He began his engineering career with Whitman Requardt Associates in the water and wastewater department. Mr. Avirett was the youngest person in the firm when he was made a partner in 1984.

In 2004, Mr. Avirett was named vice president and manager of the Baltimore office of Hazen and Sawyer, a consulting firm in environmental engineering and science.

"Jim always placed a very high priority on teaching our younger engineers the importance of both technical excellence and client service. His work ethic was admired by everyone in the firm," said Mark Bishop, a Hazen and Sawyer colleague. "He always enjoyed a tough and challenging project, and was the first to compliment others for their efforts."

Mr. Avirett was a model railroader and collector of antique model trains. He enjoyed landscaping projects at his home and church and playing tennis, and was a member of the Towson Country Club.

He was a communicant of St. Stephen's Traditional Episcopal Church, 11856 Mays Chapel Road, Timonium, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. today.

Surviving are his wife of 35 years, the former Suzanne Gilford; two sons, James A. Avirett III of Delray Beach, Fla., and John C. Avirett of Baltimore; a daughter, Carrie Suzanne Avirett of Baltimore; and two sisters, Sarah Hoover of Baltimore and Anne Dilts of Bloomington, Ind.

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