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Charles A. Conklin III, founded energy firm


Charles A. Conklin III, retired president and chairman emeritus of an energy management and automatic temperature control firm and benefactor of the G.W.C. Whiting School of Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University, died Wednesday of cancer at his North Charles Street residence. He was 88.

He retired in 1982 from Machinery and Equipment Sales Inc. and M & E Systems Inc., which he founded in 1932. The Hampden-based companies sell and install electrical, heating and air conditioning temperature controls for commercial structures.

Charles R. Higdon Jr., who has been with the company since 1956 and is its president, described him as "a man for all seasons who could be at home with a laborer on a job and could identify with his problems. He was a raconteur with a great many stories to tell and it was impossible to be bored in his company."

"He was a keen businessman who was an uncommonly sociable person," recalled his nephew, Ned Thompson of Baltimore.

After selling a family-owned business, Lyon-Conklin and Co. Inc., a wholesaler for mechanical subcontractors, to an investment company, he invested the profits in a municipal bond fund that enabled him to donate $100,000 to the Johns Hopkins engineering school in 1987.

Mr. Conklin grew up at 25th and St. Paul streets and attended city schools.

He was a 1924 graduate of Polytechnic Institute. He earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Johns Hopkins in 1927 and began his business career as the London representative of the Davison Chemical Co.

He returned to Baltimore after the 1929 stock market crash curtailed the chemical company's expansion plans.

He was an avid fisherman and sailor and for many years participated in the New York to Bermuda yacht races.

also was fond of spending summers at the Chalfonte Hotel in Cape May, N.J., a 103-room hotel built in 1876 by Civil War veteran Col. Henry Sawyer.

Mr. Conklin donated money toward the hotel's restoration during the 1970s and 1980s.

He was a member of the Johns Hopkins Club, the Cane Club, the Maryland and Elkridge clubs and had been past president of the St. Andrews Society.

He was married to the former Katharine Macdonald, who died in 1984.

Friends may call from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. today at his home, 3900 N. Charles St. Graveside services will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Druid Ridge Cemetery, Park Heights Avenue and Old Court Road, Pikesville.

He is survived by a sister, Katherine C. Fausel of Baltimore; and 10 nephews and nieces.

Donations may be sent to the Johns Hopkins University School of Engineering, 3400 N. Charles St., Baltimore 21218.

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