John Alfred Aldrich dies at age 87

Electronics engineer who was an accomplished sailor

September 14, 2010|By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun | Baltimore Sun reporter

John Alfred Aldrich, a retired electronics engineer and avid sailor, died Saturday of pulmonary fibrosis at the William Hill Manor retirement community in Easton. He was 87.

The son of a Bethlehem Steel Corp. chief naval draftsman and a homemaker, Mr. Aldrich was born in Baltimore and raised in Hamilton.

After graduating from the Polytechnic Institute in 1940, he attended Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., for a year.

He attended the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., from 1943 to 1945 and then served in the merchant marine.

From 1951 to 1957, he was a senior engineer at the old Glenn L. Martin Co. plant in Middle River, and then at the company's Orlando, Fla., plant from 1957 to 1962.

He returned to Baltimore in 1962 and joined AAI Corp. in Hunt Valley as a project manager, and from 1970 until retiring in 1986, was a senior engineer with Gould Electronics.

The former Timonium resident moved in 1986 to Sherwood, Talbot County, where he lived for 20 years at the Deep Harbour Farm Community.

Mr. Aldrich learned to sail as a boy while spending summers at Chance Farm, his parents' farm in McDaniel, Talbot County, and enjoyed sailing on the bay for the remainder of his life.

He had owned the Caprice, a Rhodes Ranger sloop; a MacGregor Lightning Class sailboat; and a Beetle Cat.

He also wrote about his sailing experiences in various publications, including SpinSheet, and built models of sailboats.

"He loved all the beauty and quiet of the Eastern Shore and its many bays, rivers and creeks," said a daughter, Nancy L. Aldrich of Silver Spring. "He said his only regret was that he always wanted to be a native of the Eastern Shore but, alas, was born in Baltimore."

He was a former member of Havenwood Presbyterian Church in Timonium, and at his death was a communicant of Christ Episcopal Church in St. Michaels.

Services are private.

Also surviving are his wife of 60 years, the former Lee Brittingham; another daughter, Joan M. Aldrich of Portland, Maine; and a grandson.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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