Albert Goetze Jr.

[Age 84] A World War II veteran, he was honored by Gov. Parris N. Glendening for his devotion to the welfare of the bay.

September 02, 2007|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,Sun reporter

Albert F. Goetze Jr., a decorated World War II veteran who headed his family's meatpacking business and later became an advocate for the Chesapeake Bay, died of cancer Aug. 25 at his St. Michaels home. He was 84.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Mayfield, he was a McDonogh School graduate. He left his studies at Cornell University to enlist in the Army. He was assigned to an infantry unit fighting in Europe during World War II.

According to notes Mr. Goetze kept, he fought continuously from November 1944 through February 1945 in Belgium and Germany. As a 22-year-old private, he described a "hell before us" as he and his company attempted to cross the Siegfried Line while being shelled by German Panzer tanks in the Battle of the Bulge. When his superiors were killed in heavy fighting, he received a battlefield promotion to technical sergeant and platoon leader.

Mr. Goetze was hit by enemy fire and lost a finger while carrying ammunition bandoleers to his fellow soldiers.

Awarded the Purple Heart, he was also given the Bronze Star for "heroic service, courage and initiative in assisting in the capture of a German officer under fire."

Decades later, he was a founding member of the Military Order of the Purple Heart on the Eastern Shore.

After the war, he returned to Cornell, earned a degree in mechanical engineering and joined his family's business, Albert F. Goetze Inc., a meatpacking company founded by his father that once employed about 1,000 people.

He spent most of his career in manufacturing and operations management at its Belair Road and Sinclair Lane plant, and oversaw equipment involved in ham, sausage, scrapple and frankfurter making. He became the firm's president and in 1968 was elected president of the Eastern Meat Packers Association.

He closed the plant in the mid-1970s.

In 1980, he moved to a farm on the Tred Avon River.

"As a child, he spent his summers at Sherwood Forest and he loved the bay - for the beauty, the sport and the abundance it had to offer. When he saw its decline, he devoted his time and energy to working on environmental issues," said his son, Albert F. Goetze III of Peru, Vt.

Mr. Goetze was a Chesapeake Bay Foundation trustee for 18 years and worked to help preserve supplies of bay fish, including striped bass, flounder, yellow perch, shad and menhaden.

Mr. Goetze organized fellow owners of the Great Fox Island Gunning Club, at Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds, to donate the island to the Bay Foundation as a way to protect the wetlands and use it for educational programs.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening awarded him a citation in recognition of his dedication to the welfare of the bay and its tributaries.

He served on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Fishery Management Council, and was a founding member of the Maryland Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association. He was also an organizer of the Talbot Rivers Protection Association.

While living in Baltimore, he attended Second Presbyterian Church, serving as trustees chairman and ruling elder.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Sept. 10 at the Christ Episcopal Church in St. Michaels, where he was a member.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 60 years, the former Barbara Ann Hendrickson; three daughters, Linda G. Clary of Easton, Marcia G. Haggie of Millington and April G. Snyder of Freeland; a brother, Robert C. Goetze of Oxford; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandsons.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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