Robert W. Awalt Sr., home builder

Robert W. Awalt Sr., who built homes in West Baltimore and Howard County, died of kidney failure July 26 at his Annapolis home. He was 91.

Born in Baltimore, he was the son of George W. Awalt, a home builder, and E. Grace Freeland, an artist and homemaker. A 1940 graduate of Mount St. Joseph High School, he enrolled at Loyola College of Maryland, where he joined the Army Air Corps Reserve Officers Training Corps.

During World War II, he flew a P-51 fighter plane in England, Italy, France and Germany as a member of the 336th fighter squadron. He rose to the rank of flight officer and was discharged in 1945.

While on a blind date in 1948, he met his future wife, Jeanne Burgess, a nurse.

After his father died, Mr. Awalt joined his brother, J. Richard Awalt, and founded Awalt Builders Inc., a business that remains in operation.

They constructed homes in Ten Hills and Hunting Ridge, and in 1959 they moved to Ellicott City. They built homes and commercial properties and developed Chatham and Dunloggin in Howard County. Family members said they built more than 500 single-family homes between 1959 and 1976.

The brothers also organized two swim clubs, Hunting Hills and Forest Hill, and developed five apartment communities, Chatham Garden apartments in Ellicott City, Caton House and Rock Glen in Baltimore, Old Orchard apartments in Catonsville, and Burnam Woods in White Marsh.

"He was a wonderful guy and business partner," said his brother. "In 60 years of working together, we never had a serious disagreement. He knew how to talk to the men in the trades, and they respected him."

In 1977, Mr. Awalt purchased a summer home in Pasadena and soon retired.

Mr. Awalt golfed as a member of Hobbit's Glen Golf Club.

He also became an artist and carved wildfowl from wood. He made ducks, owls and shorebirds and gave them to family members. He visited Downs Memorial Park to study live birds there, held for rehabilitation or protection.

A funeral Mass will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, 109 Duke of Gloucester St. in Annapolis.

In addition to his brother, survivors include three sons, Robert Awalt Jr. of Annapolis, Stephen Awalt of Baltimore and Thomas Awalt of Pasadena; two daughters, Suzan Rouse of Baltimore and Diane Evans of Annapolis; 10 grandchildren; and a great-grandson. His wife of 56 years died in 2004.

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