E. Robert Seitz

[ Age 78 ] The retired civil engineer assisted in the designs of many major roadways and Inner Harbor walkways.

"Bob was an engineer's engineer who had a strong command of practical solutions," said a former partner.

December 28, 2007|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,Sun reporter

E. Robert Seitz, a retired civil engineer who assisted in the design of Inner Harbor walkways, the Jones Falls and Northwest expressways and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, died Tuesday at the University of Maryland Medical Center of complications from an unsuccessful kidney transplant. The Severna Park resident was 78.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Walbrook, he was a 1948 Polytechnic Institute graduate. That year he joined a predecessor to the engineering firm RK&K, Rummel, Klepper & Kahl.

His first job was on a land survey crew. When he retired in 1992, he was a partner in the firm.

"Bob was an engineer's engineer who had a strong command of practical solutions," said Bill Hellman, one of his former partners.

Mr. Seitz's colleagues at the engineering business said his first major highway design project was U.S. 50 from Parole in Anne Arundel County to the District of Columbia. In the late 1950s, he helped create plans for the original Jones Falls Expressway and managed its reconstruction nearly three decades later.

He studied nights to earn his degree at the Johns Hopkins School of Engineering and led a design team in the 1970s for the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in West Baltimore. He had a hand in numerous other roadways, including Interstate 395 and Conway Street in downtown Baltimore.

"He was a hardworking, unassuming engineer," said David Wallace, an RK&K partner. "Bob understood details and produced plans so that a contractor could build a road economically."

Mr. Seitz did engineering work on the mid-1970s Inner Harbor promenade from the World Trade Center to the Rusty Scupper restaurant. He also did work on Constellation Pier, Pratt Street, Light Street, Howard Street, Hilton Parkway, the Central light rail line and the Baltimore Convention Center.

He led the design teams for several major interstate projects, including the Northwest Expressway (I-795) and the Arundel Expressway (Route 10).

Mr. Seitz, who worked for many years at RK&K's North Calvert Street offices, oversaw his firm's move to a larger building on Mosher Street in Bolton Hill. One of his last assignments was coordinating Oriole Park at Camden Yards with light rail and Maryland Rail Commuter service train platforms.

He was a board member and past president of the Maryland Association of Engineers.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at the Severna Park Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 110 Ritchie Highway in Pasadena, where he was a member.

Survivors include his wife of 38 years, the former Carol L. Rummel; four sons, Jeff Seitz of Baltimore, Robert Seitz of Severn and Timothy Seitz and Brian Swisher, both of Edgewater; a daughter, Rebekah Seitz of Severn; a brother, Donald Seitz of Sykesville; and five grandsons.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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