Gregory Schummers

Industrial arts teacher became a cabinetmaker and woodworker and established his own company

March 07, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Gregory William Schummers, a former high school industrial arts teacher who later became a noted Baltimore cabinetmaker and architectural woodworker, died Tuesday of pancreatic cancer at his Homeland residence.

He was 62.

Mr. Schummers, the son of a career Army officer and a homemaker, was born in San Mateo, Calif. He was a 1965 graduate of Fort Hunt High School in Alexandria, Va.

He earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1969 from Dickinson College, where he met his future wife, the former Linda Harman, who was also a student at the Carlisle, Pa., college.

Both were active in the anti- Vietnam War movement. Mr. Schummers was an active member of the Students for a Democratic Society.

In 1971, the couple settled in Lauraville, where they lived for 25 years before moving to Homeland more than a decade ago.

Mr. Schummers taught wood shop at Brooklyn Park Middle and High School from 1971 to 1986 and at the Maryland Institute College of Art during the 1980s.

For the past 25 years, he worked as a manager, vice president and business owner in the field of architectural woodworking.

In 1985, he established Baltimore Woodworks, which was near Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

One of Mr. Schummers' early projects that gave him local notice was the installation of the woodwork in the entranceway of the old Alex. Brown & Sons building on East Baltimore Street.

His work can be found in offices, stores, lobbies and hospitals in the Baltimore- Washington area.

The business was later purchased by LCM Associates.

"He started as my general manager and then moved up to executive vice president. I thought the world of the guy," said George French, who owns LCM Corp.

"He knew more about architectural millwork than anyone I knew in Baltimore, and he lived to work and he worked long hours," he said. "I first knew him in the late 1980s when he was a competitor of mine. Once he went to work for us, our sales tripled as a result of his direct involvement."

Mr. French said one of the last large projects that Mr. Schummers worked on was the entrance to the heart institute at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson.

"He would do whatever it took to get a customer and get a project done," Mr. French said.

For the past five years, Mr. Schummers had been executive vice president and project manager at Cabinet Max Corp. in Woodlawn.

Patrick Martin, who is vice president of sales for Thompson Industries, a Rosedale architectural millwork firm, said, "Greg was well-known in the architectural millwork community, which is very small in Baltimore, and he had been a prominent member of it for 25 years. He was the very embodiment of the architectural woodwork business.

"Greg was an excellent craftsman and was a personal mentor to me. That was one of his strongest characteristics ... to take people and mold them," Mr. Martin said. "He shaped hundreds of people and gave them the opportunity to improve. He realized their potential."

So devoted were his employees, family members said, that they often followed Mr. Schummers from company to company.

A fan of the blues, folk and rock 'n' roll, Mr. Schummers enjoyed playing the guitar he had constructed and joining his family in a cappella singing.

He also was an avid reader of philosophy and politics.

"Greg was an unwavering advocate for egalitarianism and peace," said his wife.

Mr. Schummers was an enthusiastic Orioles, Ravens and Terps fan. He also liked camping and making taco dinners on Sundays, family members said.

A memorial service was held Saturday.

Also surviving are two sons, David Schummers of San Francisco and James Schummers of Cambridge, Mass.; a daughter, Laura Schummers of Vancouver, British Columbia; and two brothers, John Schummers of Concord, Mass., and Mike Schummers of Versailles, Ky.

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