Charles F. E. Guertler Jr., a retired Lockheed Martin executive

Charles F. E. Guertler Jr., a retired Lockheed Martin executive who maintained a lifelong interest in science, died Monday of heart failure at the Glen Meadows Retirement Community in Glen Arm.

He was 96.

The son of Charles F. E. Guertler Sr., a Bethlehem Steel Corp. shipyard worker, and Bertha E. MacKenzie Guertler, a homemaker, Charles Frederick Ernest Guertler Jr. was born at home in the 2000 block of Harford Road near Clifton Park.

He was a 1939 graduate of City College, and after studying at what was then Towson State Teachers College for two years, he decided he didn’t want to be an elementary school teacher and left college in 1941.

“He said he didn’t want to do all that singing,” his daughter, Sharon L. Guertler of Northeast Baltimore, said with a laugh.

Instead, Mr. Guertler went to work as a dispatch clerk at the old Glenn L. Martin Co. in Middle River. He left in 1944 when he joined the Navy and was stationed at the naval air station in Alameda, Calif., as an aviation storekeeper.

He was later assigned to the escort carrier USS Vella Gulf in the Pacific and was en route to Japan when World War II ended.

Mr. Guertler, who lived in Middle River and later on Buttonwood Road in Chase, returned to the Martin Co. In 1952, he earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial management from the University of Baltimore, where he won magna cum laude honors. He additionally took courses in tool engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Mr. Guertler rose from being an industrial engineer to finance manager, program manager and assistant controller of pricing and cost at the Martin Co., which later became Lockheed Martin.

His work, which took him to Ohio, Florida, Louisiana, Denver and Washington, also included negotiating contracts and presenting seminars.

“His work took him from the world of airplanes to the Gemini Project and outer space,” his daughter said.

He retired in 1983.

Mr. Guertler enjoyed going to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, the Smithsonian Institution and the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

He eagerly awaited the monthly arrival of National Geographic magazine, which he read from cover to cover, and particularly liked articles related to evolution, astronomy and geology.

Mr. Guertler enjoyed vacationing in Ocean City where he liked to swim, fish and take long walks with his dog.

He was a fan of the old Baltimore Colts, Orioles and Ravens.

“Because he was a Maryland guy, he loved eating crabs and oysters,” Ms. Guertler said.

Since 2002, he had lived at Glen Meadows, where he enjoyed observing and feeding birds and squirrels.

His wife of 40 years, the former Ethel Coster, died in 2016.

Plans for a gathering to celebrate his life are incomplete.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his son, Charles E. Guertler of Northeast Baltimore; a stepdaughter, Kathleen Armetta of Rosedale; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. An earlier marriage ended in divorce.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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