Charles Sandlass, a retired computer instruments worker who competed in numerous wheelchair sports competitions, died Wednesday at the Baltimore Washington Medical Center. Family members said no cause of death has been determined. He was 74 and lived in Essex.
Born in Baltimore and raised in Highlandtown, he attended City College. Family members said he lost the use of his legs in an accident and later enrolled at the Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking and Repair at Woodside in Queens, N.Y., where he lived in the 1960s and 1970s.
He became an instrument technician and worked on surgical instruments, aircraft instrument panels and computer parts at the Computer Instruments Co. in Hempstead, N.Y. He also learned to drive a car.
Mr. Sandlass decided to start playing basketball in a wheelchair league sponsored by the Bulova School. He played in the 1965-1966 season. For the next two decades, he competed in the discus throw, javelin and shot put at the World Wheelchair Games. He traveled to competitions in Japan, Israel, Canada, Germany, China and the Netherlands.
"Charlie did not let his disability stop him from achieving his dreams," said his niece, Connie Tinkham of Hunt Valley. "He was a positive, upbeat person. He overcame all the obstacles and odds."
He moved to Maryland about 25 years ago and enjoyed playing cards with his brothers.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Duda-Ruck Funeral Home of Dundalk, 7922 Wise Ave.
In addition to his niece, survivors include five brothers, Louis H. Sandlass Jr. of Annapolis, George J. Sandlass and Robert F. Sandlass, both of Baltimore, Richard E. Sandlass of Millsboro, Del., and Jack D. Sandlass of Laurens, S.C.; a sister, Betty L. Pullara of Baltimore; and 18 other nieces and nephews. His marriage to Blanche E. Malloy ended in divorce.