John H. Tierney, former head of the Travelers Insurance Co.'s Baltimore engineering department and a World War II veteran, died Feb. 24 of complications from a stroke at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. He was 90.
The son of Edward Tierney, a chauffeur, and Elizabeth Murphy Tierney, a homemaker, John Henry Tierney was born and raised in Fairfield, Conn., where he graduated in 1941 from Roger Ludlowe High School.
He was a graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y., and served in engine rooms aboard merchant marine vessels. He sailed in convoys delivering war materiel to the Soviet Arctic port of Murmansk.
Mr. Tierney later joined the Navy and served in the Pacific as chief engineer and lieutenant commander aboard Fletcher and Sumner class destroyers "whose draw, beam and other dimensions were easily recitable," said a daughter, Barbara Tierney of New York City. "He was sunk twice, once in the Indian Ocean."
During the Korean War, Mr. Tierney was stationed at Cannes and later participated in the successful Inchon landing in September 1950 that resulted in North Korean forces being pushed back across the Yalu River.
After leaving the Navy in 1953, Mr. Tierney worked aboard oil tankers briefly before leaving the sea and returning to Fairfield. He established a small construction business and attended the University of Connecticut.
In 1957, Mr. Tierney married the former Frances Renzulli and took a job with the Travelers Insurance Co.
He worked in Hartford, Conn., and later in Detroit before moving to Towson in 1968, where he ran the company's engineering department, which later merged with the Washington office.
Mr. Tierney conducted inspections of large industrial facilities like Bethlehem Steel's Sparrows Point plant and the terminal at Cove Point. He retired in 1981.
"He had a territory that included Frederick, and he became fascinated by Antietam. He used to go there with a lunch and sit in the small cemetery there, or park near Bloody Lane," recalled Ms. Tierney, who said her father was a student of the Civil and Revolutionary wars.
"When other kids were going to Disneyland, we were going to Antietam and Gettysburg and Revolutionary War sites up north," she said.
The longtime resident of Fairway Court had been a season ticket holder to the Baltimore Colts and the Orioles. He enjoyed gardening, golfing and playing bridge.
He was a member of the Engineering Society of Baltimore.
Plans for a memorial gathering to be held in April are incomplete.
In addition to Ms. Tierney, Mr. Tierney is survived by another daughter, Susan Tierney of Brooklyn, N.Y.; a sister, Grace Brennan of Hawaii; and three grandchildren. His wife died in 2010.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun