Robert L. Seay III

[ Age 88 ] Sparrows Point foreman, veteran

May 21, 2007|By Frank D. Roylance | Frank D. Roylance,SUN REPORTER

Robert Leon Seay III, a World War II veteran, Bethlehem Steel engineer and barbershop quartet singer, died of Alzheimer's disease May 11 at his Dundalk home. He was 88.

Born in Charleston, S.C., Mr. Seay moved to Atlanta as a child. He received his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1939.

After working briefly with the Seaboard Air Line Railway, he joined the Army in June 1941. He met his future wife, Helen McMillen, while he was being processed at Aberdeen Proving Ground, where she was a payroll clerk.

The couple married that year, just before he went overseas, according to a daughter, Kathleen M. Seay of Dundalk.

Mr. Seay served as a first lieutenant in North Africa, Italy and Germany with the 85th Ordnance Battalion, supervising transportation, training and tank maintenance. He was awarded a Bronze Battle Star and American Defense Ribbon, and was discharged in 1946 as a captain.

After the war, he was hired by the steel company and rose to become general foreman of mechanical maintenance at Sparrows Point. He retired in 1981.

A baritone, Mr. Seay founded Chorus of the Chesapeake in 1957. The barbershop chorus won international competitions in 1961 and 1971. He also sang with the Freelancers quartet, which performed on three USO tours during the Vietnam war and with numerous other groups.

One of the groups was the Four Seay-Sons, with his son, grandson and great-grandson - Robert Leon Seay IV, V and VI. "We were singing barbershop in his bedroom the day he died," his daughter said.

He was a member of St. George's and St. Matthew's Episcopal Church in Dundalk, and of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Services were held Tuesday.

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Seay is survived by two sons, Robert L. Seay IV of Colora and John M. Seay of Hamilton; two daughters, Mary Helen Grasso of Perry Hall and Maureen E. Martin of Dundalk; 14 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

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