William E. Chalmers Sr., engineer

February 17, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

William E. Chalmers Sr., a mechanical engineer and materials-handling specialist, died Thursday of pneumonia at Anne Arundel Medical Center. He was 90.

Mr. Chalmers was born in Baltimore and raised on East Oliver Street. After graduating from Polytechnic Institute in 1937, he studied engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park.

In 1938, he moved to Los Angeles and went to work for North American Aviation Co., and then returned to Baltimore when he took a position at the old Glenn L. Martin Co. in Middle River.

From 1942 until 1944, he was a civilian employee of the Army, working on gliders.

He enlisted in the Army Air Forces in 1944 and served as a crew chief aboard B-32 heavy bombers and Convair B-36 strategic bombers at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss.

After leaving the service, Mr. Chalmers established Yankee Engineering and Yankee Products, a materials-handling company, in 1946 on Rutland Avenue.

The company designed and installed systems such as overhead conveyors and other devices that assist in manufacturing.

Mr. Chalmers was one of the first in the nation to adapt robotics for industrial use, family members said, and served on an international standards commission.

Mr. Chalmers' clients included NASA, Domino Sugars and The Baltimore Sun, which uses robotics at its Port Covington printing plant. He also had clients in Israel, India and Saudi Arabia.

He sold the business and retired in 1995.

He was a longtime active member of Kiwanis International, SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) and the Engineering Society of Baltimore.

The former Catonsville resident had lived at the Ginger Cove retirement community in Annapolis for the past 13 years.

His wife of 62 years, the former Margaret C. Stroble, died in 2002.

A memorial service will be held from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at Ginger Cove Friendship Hall, 4000 River Road, Annapolis.

Surviving are a son, William E. Chalmers Jr. of Herndon, Va.; four daughters, Jeannette Warner of Easton, Kathleen Kondylas of Newburyport, Mass., Rita Collins of Trego, Mont., and Margaret Chalmers of Raleigh, N.C.; six grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

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