William Tuerke Jr.Former Tuerkes ownerWilliam A. Tuerke...


William Tuerke Jr.

Former Tuerkes owner

William A. Tuerke Jr., retired chairman and president of Tuerkes-Beckers Inc., the leather-goods chain, died Thursday of emphysema at Memorial Hospital in Easton. He was 84.

Mr. Tuerke, who retired in 1983, inherited the leather-goods retailing business from his father, who had founded it in 1899.

The company now has 13 stores, including several in Maryland. Shops sell luggage, handbags and other leather items, as well as an array of specialty and gift merchandise.

At its peak in the mid-1980s, the business included 40 retail stores in Maryland, Northern Virginia, Washington, Philadelphia and Delaware. The Savage-headquartered company was purchased in 1986 by a group of investors, including a grandson, William A. Tuerke IV.

Mr. Tuerke, who was born in Baltimore in 1910, attended the Gilman School in Baltimore, the Hun School in Princeton, N.J., and the University of Baltimore.

He began working in the family business while in school. He left the company in 1942 to join the U.S. Navy and served as a supply officer throughout the South Pacific for the rest of World War II.

After his discharge in 1945, he rejoined the family business, taking over management in the Philadelphia area. He became company president after his father died in 1972.

He lived in Philadelphia for 40 years. After retiring, he and his wife moved to North Palm Beach, Fla. They maintained a summer residence in Easton.

Mr. Tuerke had been a member of the Rotary Club of Philadelphia and the Old Port Yacht Club in North Palm Beach.

He is survived by his wife of 44 years, the former Audrey E. Faulk; a son, William A. Tuerke III, of Frederick; eight grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren.

Services are to be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Lorraine Park Mausoleum Chapel, 5608 Dogwood Road, Woodlawn. A viewing will be held at Ruck-Towson Funeral Home in Towson tomorrow from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The family suggests that memorial donations be made to the Talbot Hospice Foundation, 100 S. Hanson St., Easton 21601.

B. R. McCormick

Railroad engineer

Blaine R. McCormick, who worked 35 years for the Pennsylvania Railroad in Baltimore, died Thursday of pneumonia at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center in Towson.

Mr. McCormick, who was 83, retired from the railroad, then Penn Central, in 1975. He started as a maintenance man and successively became a lineman, fireman and engineer.

Born in Adkins, Va., on Feb. 17, 1911, Mr. McCormick moved to Baltimore during the Great Depression to look for work. His first job here in 1929 was as a farmhand, and he drove a truck part time.

Mr. McCormick lived in Parkton, then moved to Lutherville in 1956.

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Laura M. Simpson of Lutherville; a daughter, Doras A. Rodney of Lutherville; three sons, Maurice E. McCormick and Larry W. McCormick of Dundalk and Ralph B. McCormick of Baltimore; 10 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. A fourth son, Garney V. McCormick, is deceased.

Services were to be held at 11 a.m. today at Jacksonville Church of God, 14523 Old York Road in Phoenix, with burial at West Liberty Cemetery in White Hall.

Mr. McCormick requested memorial contributions to the Wilmer Eye Institute, Development Office, Wilmer 112, 600 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore 21287.

Harrison Shorter Jr.

Retired pipefitter

Harrison W. "Sonny" Shorter Jr., a retired pipefitter, died Tuesday of heart failure at his Edmondson Village home. He was 53.

He retired in 1981 because of ill health from Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Sparrows Point plant, where he worked for 16 years as a pipefitter. Earlier, he drove a taxi for the Diamond Cab Co.

He was raised in the McCulloh Homes in West Baltimore and graduated from Douglass High School in 1963.

After serving in the Army as a medic at Fort George G. Meade, he went to work for the steel company in 1966.

He enjoyed playing basketball and visiting his family and friends.

Private services are to be conducted today.

Mr. Shorter is survived by his parents, Harrison W. and Nora Shorter; a brother, Warner G. Shorter; two sisters, Vonzella Perry and Constance Maria Shorter, all of Baltimore; and several uncles, aunts and cousins.

Memorial donations may be sent to St. Joseph Monastery Parish, 251 S. Morley St., Baltimore 21229.

Dane D. Damkoehler

Retired airman

Dane Douglas Damkoehler, a retired airman, died April 26 of AIDS-related complications at his home in Columbia. He was 33.

Mr. Damkoehler, who joined the Air Force in 1985, was an honor graduate of Lackland Air Force Basic Training School and Kessler Air Force Base Information Systems Operations School.

He was assigned to Chicksands Royal Air Force Base in England and Langley Air Force Base in Virginia before he retired in 1987 on a medical disability. He lived in Los Angeles for several years before he returned to Columbia in 1993.

Born in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in 1960, Mr. Damkoehler lived with his parents in Alabama, Michigan, Virginia, Maryland, Nepal and Saudi Arabia.

A 1978 graduate of Wilde Lake High School in Columbia, he attended Washington College and the University of Maryland before joining the Air Force.

An avid traveler, Mr. Damkoehler visited more than 30 countries and especially enjoyed Greece, where he lived for a year. His other interests included boating, painting, sculpting and reading.

He is survived by his parents, Martha Gail and Gary L. Damkoehler of Columbia; two brothers, Shawn Damkoehler and Tod Damkoehler, of Columbia; his paternal grandparents, Dolly and Walter Damkoehler of Gadsden, Ala., and his maternal grandfather, Charles Entrekin, also of Gadsden.

The family requests memorial contributions to the AIDS Alliance of Howard County, c/o Hospice Services of Howard County, 5537 Twin Knolls Road, Suite 433, Columbia 21045.

Marion F. Balcerzak

Postal worker

Marion F. Balcerzak, a retired postal worker, died Friday of heart failure at Levindale. He was 91.

He worked as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service for 38 years and was assigned to the Main Post Office in Baltimore during the later years of his career.

Mr. Balcerzak, who was born in East Baltimore, lived in Locust Point until he moved to Northwood in 1952.

He was a 70-year member of Oriole Branch No. 176 of the National Association of Letter Carriers and for many years represented the organization as a delegate to national conventions.

From the 1930s to the 1970s, Mr. Balcerzak also was the director and secretary of the Paderewski Building and Loan Association in Locust Point.

Mr. Balcerzak and the former Cecilia Mazur, of Baltimore, were married on May 6, 1928. She died 25 years ago.

"He left us to join his wife on the day of their 66th wedding anniversary," said Mr. Balcerzak's daughter, Regina M. Balcerzak of Ellicott City.

Mr. Balcerzak loved gardening, especially growing roses and azaleas.

He also was fond of sports and telling his grandchildren about the days he went to the ballpark to watch Babe Ruth play baseball.

Services will be conducted at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church on Harford Road. Interment will be in Holy Rosary Cemetery.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. Balcerzak is survived by two sons, Dr. Marion J. Balcerzak of Northbrook, Ill., and A. Edwin Balcerzak of Reisterstown; a brother, Peter Balcerzak of Baltimore; and eight grandchildren.

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