Elliott Franklin Sears, a World War II veteran who later worked as an assistant chief engineer for the Navy Department in Washington, died Sept. 5 of heart failure at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home in Southern Maryland. The longtime Woodmoor resident was 86.
Born in Baltimore and raised near Druid Hill Park, Mr. Sears graduated in 1943 from City College. He was 17 when he enlisted in the Navy and was assigned as a pharmacist's mate aboard the light aircraft carrier USS San Jacinto in the Pacific.
After the war ended, Mr. Sears worked for Westinghouse Electric Corp. until 1948, when he began studies in what was then a new field, television, at the New York Institute of Technology.
He returned to Baltimore in 1951, and joined his father-in-law, Maurice Morganstein, selling appliances and repairing televisions, and also was employed at the old Glenn L. Martin Co. in Middle River, where he worked on sonar projects.
In 1954, Mr. Sears worked for WBAL-FM and as a cameraman for its TV station, until 1960 when he took a job at the Defense Department in Washington as a civilian employee for the Air Force.
He later moved over to the Army and then the Navy, where his job as an assistant chief engineer was traveling around the world setting up TV studios aboard naval vessels and at bases. He retired in 1990.
Because he was a civilian employee at the Pentagon, he wasn't required to follow a military dress code or wear his hair according to military regulations.
"Dad had mutton chop sideburns, hair that touched his collar, and often wore blue jeans and orange Hush Puppies for shoes, because there was a lot of walking in the Pentagon and they were very comfortable," said a daughter, Lynn Dee Sears of Coral Springs, Fla.
"He was often referred to as 'The Hippie Engineer,' and was even used as an example by Gen. William C. Westmoreland when the Army was bringing out their new Army regulations, as an example of 'hair too long,' " said Ms. Sears.
Mr. Sears was a member and board member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars' Odenton post. He was also a model airplane enthusiast and built and flew remote-controlled planes for years.
His wife of 60 years, the former Ansella "Ann" Morganstein, died in 2006.
Services were held Sept. 7 at Sol Levinson & Bros.
Also surviving are a son, Dr. Bobby Sears of Ashburn, Va.; another daughter, Laurie Sears of Crofton; a brother, Malcolm Sears of Pikesville; six grandchildren; a great-grandson; and several nieces and nephews.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun