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Richard O. "Dick" Beall, civil engineer

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Richard O. Beall, a civil engineer who was a founder of Century Engineering Inc. in Hunt Valley, died Dec. 29 of cancer at his Stevenson home. He was 82.

"There was no better human being than Dick Beall. He was a wonderful person who had a phenomenal love of our company that spanned more than 40 years," said Francis X. Smyth, CEO of Century Engineering. "He was loyal, committed and passionate about the business. His whole life revolved around the business."

The son of former U.S. Sen. J. Glenn Beall and Margaret Schwarzenbach Beall, a homemaker, Richard Olin Beall was born and raised in Frostburg.

After graduating in 1951 from McDonogh School, he earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1956 from the University of Virginia. From 1956 to 1958, he served in the Navy as a lieutenant and was assigned to the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Mr. Beall worked for U.S. Steel and National Steel from 1958 to 1971, when he came to Baltimore and joined Green Associates in Towson.

In 1974, allegations were made public by Mr. Beall's brother, George Beall, who at the time was U.S. attorney for Maryland, that Allen Green of Green Associates had admitted paying kickbacks to Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, who resigned Oct. 10, 1973.

Mr. Green had told federal prosecutors in Baltimore that he had paid Mr. Agnew about $50,000 in kickbacks between 1966 and 1972 for contracts to his firm when he was governor and vice president, and that no one else in the firm knew of the arrangement.

Mr. Green later pleaded guilty to an income tax charge and served four months of a one-year prison term for his cooperation in the Agnew probe before being paroled in 1975.

Mr. Beall was one of the firm's executives who purchased Green Associates and renamed it Century Engineering, serving as vice president and member of the board.

"They bought the company and rebuilt themselves," said Mr. Smyth.

Since 1988, Mr. Beall was senior vice president in charge of marketing and development, and after the company was sold to Mike McCarthy, he remained in that position.

"He enjoyed working with our clients and because he was from Western Maryland, he had wonderful contacts in Garrett, Washington and Allegany counties. He had access," said Mr. Smyth, who has owned the company since 1996.

"One of Dick's values to our company was client relationships. We sometimes work with or partner with other firms, as well as having relationships with developers, architects and county governments," he said. "He was a people person, and they just gravitated to Dick."

Mr. Smyth stressed that even though Mr. Beall was no longer on the engineering side of the business, he always made his technical expertise available when needed.

"We learned a lot from him," said Mr. Smyth.

Mr. Beall, who was semiretired at his death, was still coming to work four days a week for several hours a day, said Mr. Smyth. "He was a gem, and we're going to miss him," he said.

His professional associations included the Greater Baltimore Committee, American Public Works Association, Society of Marketing Professional Services, Society of Military Engineers, Maryland Association of Engineers, Consulting Engineers Council of Maryland, and the Engineering Society of Baltimore.

During his college days at Virginia, Mr. Beall was captain of the lacrosse team, and he and Mr. Smyth, who played at Princeton, enjoyed sparring over the respective virtues of their college teams.

"No doubt about it, Virginia lacrosse was his passion," said Mr. Smyth.

John B. Howard, a retired Venable LLP lawyer, was a longtime friend.

"We first met in college. I played lacrosse at Washington & Lee and he was at Virginia, and we had mutual friends," recalled Mr. Howard. "When he moved to Baltimore in 1971, we revived our friendship.

"We went duck hunting together and played golf at the Rolling Rock Club in western Pennsylvania," said Mr. Howard. "Dick was a mild-mannered, soft-spoken person who had a marvelous sense of humor. He was just an all-around good person and a total gentleman."

In 1988, Mr. Beall joined the Jefferson Scholars Program, interviewing Baltimore-area high school students for the scholarship.

Mr. Beall was elected to the Raven Society at the University of Virginia in 1992, and was also elected to the Thomas Jefferson Society of Alumni for 50 years of service to the university. He was a former member of the Virginia Engineering Foundation.

An avid golfer, Mr. Beall and his wife of 29 years, the former Beverly Ann Gordy, traveled to Ireland and Scotland. He was a member for many years of TAGS, a golfing group at the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club.

He was a member and board member of the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club. He was also a member of the Maryland Club, Rolling Rock Club and Farmington Country Club.

Mr. Beall enjoyed spending winters on Hutchinson Island near Stuart, Fla., family members said.

He was a former communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer and St. John's Episcopal Church.

Plans for a celebration of Mr. Beall's life to be held in the spring are incomplete.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Beall is survived by two daughters, Charlotte Ashley Beall of Seattle and Margo Beall King of San Francisco; a stepdaughter, Laura Poole Mathiesen of Annapolis; his brother, George Beall of Naples, Fla.; two grandchildren; and two step-grandchildren. His other brother, former U.S. Sen. J. Glenn Beall Jr., died in 2006. An earlier marriage to the former Charlotte Dent ended in divorce.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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