Raymond K. Hebden, Aircraft Inspector

December 20, 2009|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

Raymond Kenneth Hebden, a retired aircraft inspector and foreman of mechanics at Westinghouse Electric Corp. and a World War II veteran, died Dec. 13 of complications from colon cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care.

The longtime Roland Park resident was 88.

Mr. Hebden was born in Baltimore and spent his early years in Cedarcroft. He later was raised in Elkridge, where his father was superintendent of Parkwood Cemetery and Meadowridge Cemetery.

He graduated from City College in 1939, and enlisted in the Army Air Corps the next year.

Mr. Hebden was stationed at Hickam Field in Hawaii when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

"During the attack on Pearl Harbor, he woke to the sound of bombs, and after a harrowing run across the field to the beach, he spent many days in a foxhole waiting for the next attack," said his wife of 55 years, the former Lynn Taylor, a retired Peabody Conservatory instructor.

"His parents didn't know whether he was alive or dead until they received a letter from him on Dec. 22. He had written only: 'I'm OK,' " Mrs. Hebden said.

In 1943, he left the Pacific and returned to attend the Chemical Warfare School at Edgewood Arsenal.

He was then deployed to the chemical branch of the Army Air Forces, where he later served in England, Belgium and France. He had attained the rank of technical sergeant at the time of his discharge in 1945.

After the war, he attended Roosevelt Aviation School in Mineola, N.Y., and graduated in 1947.

Mr. Hebden, who held a pilot's license, returned to Baltimore, where he went to work as an aircraft mechanic at old Harbor Field working on planes for Standard Air Service, Atlantic Aviation and Baltimore Aero Service.

In 1952, Mr. Hebden joined Westinghouse at what was then Friendship Airport, where he maintained Air Force and Navy jets used in flight test programs.

He later was an aircraft inspector and foreman of mechanics until retiring in 1983.

He coached Roland Park Little League baseball teams from 1964 to 1972.

Mr. Hebden also assisted his wife, who was co-founder of the Walden School, a summer music camp for children from 9 to 18. The camp began in Baltimore and is now in Dublin, N.H. He served as the school's treasurer from 1986 to 1994.

Mr. Hebden, who also enjoyed singing, was an avid Peabody concertgoer.

A memorial service was held Thursday.

Also surviving are three sons, Kenneth L. Hebden of Baltimore, Jeffrey T. Hebden of Ednor Gardens and Douglas S. Hebden of Reisterstown; a sister, Anna Ziegler of Tampa, Fla; and two grandchildren.

- Frederick N. Rasmussen

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