Charles Shoemaker Chemist, designer


A Mass of Christian burial for Charles J. Shoemaker, an authority on respiratory protective equipment who helped design some of the gas masks used by troops in the Persian Gulf war, will be offered at 11 a.m. today at St. John's Roman Catholic Church-Long Green in Hydes.

Mr. Shoemaker, who was 64, died of cancer Tuesday at his Baldwin home.

He was marketing representative for ILC Dover of Frederica, Del., which specializes in production of NASA space suits and chemical protective equipment. "He was extremely knowledgeable in the chemical-defense arena," said John McMullen, ILC's vice president of marketing.

Mr. Shoemaker was born in Cleveland. He began his career as a chemist during the mid-1950s in the U.S. Department of Defense's laboratories at the Edgewood Arsenal and was chief of the Army's Respirator Development Branch from 1962 to 1976 before becoming a program director. He retired in 1978 and joined ILC Dover in 1982.

Mr. Shoemaker, who held numerous patents for his designs, presented technical papers on protective research to the American Industrial Hygiene Association and established safety standards in respiratory protection. He was an adviser in Vietnam during 1967.

A former government representative to NATO technical meetings and consultant to the Atomic Energy Commission, he received the Army's Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

A graduate of Loyola College, Mr. Shoemaker also did undergraduate and graduate studies in chemistry and engineering at the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. In 1970-1971 he took a sabbatical from his federal job to spend a year at the Maryland Institute, where he studied industrial design.

Mr. Shoemaker is survived by his wife of 41 years, the former Mary Ruth James; a son, Charles M. Shoemaker of Phoenix; four daughters, Mary V. Leach of Catonsville; Clare J. Ritterhoff of Towson, Anna L. Klein of Baldwin, and Maura Herman of Towson; a brother, Dudley M. Shoemaker of Parkville; and seven grandchildren.

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