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Myron "Mike" Beatty, paint company executive, dies

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Myron O. "Mike" Beatty, a retired paint company executive, died June 26 of complications from pulmonary fibrosis at Homewood at Plum Creek in Hanover, Pa. The former Lutherville resident was 84.

He was born in a caretaker's house at the Concord Cemetery in Grove City, Ohio. Family members said his parents were tenant farmers and he was expected to contribute to the family finances. As a boy, he helped deliver movie reels to theaters for the Film Transit Co. As a part of the job, he saw new releases and occasionally met film stars.

Mr. Beatty later washed delivery trucks and worked at the J. Fred Schmidt Packing Co. He painted fences at Columbus' Olentangy amusement park, and delivered morning and afternoon newspapers, among other jobs. He sang in the Broad Street Church Boy Choir, later the Columbus Boy Choir.

He recalled to his family that while distributing My Weekly Reader magazines, he was the beneficiary of the generosity of local business owners who contributed funds to purchase warm clothes for newsboys through the organization known as Charity Newsies. He said the clothes provided a wardrobe that enabled him to work and attend school.

Mr. Beatty left South High School in Columbus before graduation to work in defense jobs during World War II. He worked in the spare-parts division at the Defense Supply Center, also in Columbus. He recalled that he dipped and wrapped munitions with an anti-rust agent, Cosmoline, to prevent corrosion. He also worked in an Army Corps of Engineers mailroom before joining military service.

He was assigned to an Army military police unit and was stationed at Fort Hood in Texas, Camp Gruber in Oklahoma, Camp Maxey in Texas and Camp Atterbury in Indiana. While attending a dance at Fort Meade, he met his future wife, the former June Kauffman. They married in 1946.

Mr. Beatty received a GED from the state of Maryland after he was discharged from the Army. He attended the McCoy College of the Johns Hopkins University. Many years later he was awarded a diploma from South High School through a program called Operation Recognition-Veterans Diploma Project, administered by the Columbus school district.

Mr. Beatty remained in Baltimore and took a job as a roller mill operator cleaning vats at the old C.M. Athey Paint Co. on Bayard Street in Southwest Baltimore. He rose through its ranks and retired in 1991 as its vice president and general manager. He also had been a salesman and chemist.

"He had a really good eye, and he trained as a colorist," said a daughter, Kathleen B. Francis of Finksburg. "He told us he named all the paint colors they sold. His favorite color was American Heritage white."

Family members said Mr. Beatty helped Athey develop a latex paint using surplus ingredients from World War II. He developed the curbing paint and wall finish for the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and created a type of highway line stripe-paint. After a 1961 fire largely destroyed the Church of St. Michael and All Angels on St. Paul Street, he created the dark wood stains for its interior beams. He also worked on fire-retardant paints.

"In the 1960s, as environmental concerns about paint began to be known, Mike strove for the best ways of making his products. He was conscientious about wanting to eliminate the hazards associated with paint," said Vi Giusto, a former Hanline Brothers and Lasting Products paint executive who lives in Glen Burnie. "He was a smart guy who loved a good laugh."

He also developed the colorings used to paint the miniature mountains sold by the Life-Like toy train product firm. His paints were used on numerous public buildings, including the U.S. Capitol and White House, and interstate highway bridges.

Mr. Beatty also created a type of maritime paint used on the restoration of the Liberty Ship SS John W. Brown.

Mr. Beatty was active in Baltimore's paint and varnish industry and helped set up the display at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

He was a past member of Arlington Presbyterian Church and Timonium Presbyterian Church, and most recently attended United Church of Christ in Hanover.

He had been active in the Lutherville Community Association. He was a member of the Rolling Road Country Club. He enjoyed golf, woodworking, playing cards, travel and square dancing. He also had a workshop where he made his own stains.

He and his wife retired to Hanover, Pa., in 2005.

A memorial service was held Thursday in Hanover.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include two other daughters, Nancy L. Thayer of St. Albans, Vt., and Janice L. Bryant of Mint Hill, N.C.; two granddaughters; two step-grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and a great-great-granddaughter. His wife of 63 years died in 2009.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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