G. Wayne Burgmeister

G. Wayne Burgemeister (Baltimore Sun / March 6, 2012)

G. Wayne Burgemeister, a retired Baltimore County public schools official and sailing enthusiast, died of cancer March 1 at Stella Maris Hospice.

The Mercy Ridge resident was 81.

The son of a Glenn L. Martin Co. aircraft worker and a homemaker, Graber Wayne Burgemeister — he never used his first name — was born in Baltimore and raised in Middle River.

After graduating from Kenwood High School in 1947, he earned a bachelor's degree in 1951 from the University of Maryland, College Park.

He began a teaching and coaching career at Kenwood until being drafted into the Army in 1953, and served in France until being discharged in 1955.

After returning from the service, he joined the faculty of Dundalk High School, where he was chairman of the physical education department. He then returned to Kenwood, where he served as assistant principal, remaining there until 1970, when he was appointed principal of Sparrows Point High School.

In 1977, he was appointed to the Office of Pupil Services.

"That's when I got to know him," said Dr. Robert Y. Dubel, who headed Baltimore County public schools for 16 years until retiring in 1992.

"He was known for implementing an anti-drug and -alcohol education program," he said. "It was a tough but compassionate program and one of the best in the nation."

Dr. Dubel then appointed Mr. Burgemeister northeast area superintendent, a position he held until retiring in 1990.

"He was a great fellow and very likable," said Dr. Dubel. "He worked very well with staff and students."

Mr. Burgemeister was a runner and a member of the Baltimore Roadrunners, and during his running career he completed 15 marathons, including the Boston Marathon, in which he competed six times, the last time when he was 60.

"We'd have a staff meeting at 8:30 a.m. and Wayne, who had gotten up at 4 a.m., had already run 10 or 12 miles," said Dr. Dubel.

A lifelong sailing enthusiast, he raced boats on the bay and was a member of the Glenmar Sailing Association.

A shipwright, Mr. Burgemeister also held a Coast Guard license for small passenger vessels of 100 tons, which qualified him to develop boats and conduct marine surveys.

He also helped build the Lady Maryland and was later hired to help in the construction of the Pride of Baltimore II. He crewed on several Pride voyages, including a trans-Atlantic crossing.

Mr. Burgemeister and his wife of 61 years — the former Claudenia Carmen, who had been his Kenwood High sweetheart — were world travelers and had visited 44 countries and islands.

The former longtime Phoenix resident was an avid reader and Civil War buff.

Mr. Burgemeister was a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Lutherville, where a memorial service will be held Saturday.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Burgemeister is survived by a daughter, Lisa Waldasin of Hanover, Pa.; and two granddaughters.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com