Benjamin T. Rome, led construction firm


Benjamin T. Rome, chairman emeritus of the board of the George Hyman Construction Co., died June 10 of cardiac arrest at his home in Washington. He was 88.

He worked for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. before working for Hyman -- then headed by an uncle -- in 1927 and was named chairman emeritus at his retirement in 1987.

The company, started in 1906, built many projects in Baltimore, Washington and elsewhere, including Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the new Veterans Hospital downtown and buildings at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. The firm also helped build Baltimore's subway.

Born in Washington, he was a graduate of Baltimore City College. In 1925, he received a civil engineering degree with honors from the Johns Hopkins University. He was elected to Tau Beta Pi engineering honorary society. In 1934, he earned a master's degree in architecture from Catholic University in Washington.

During World War II, he supervised construction of a Navy torpedo factory in Alexandria, Va., winning an E award for the company and a Meritorious Civilian Service award for himself.

He was a member of the advisory council of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington and the board of Catholic University.

Both schools awarded him honorary doctorates and named buildings for him, as did George Washington University in the District of Columbia.

He was named a knight commander of the Order of St. Sylvester by Pope Paul IV.

Mr. Rome was named Washingtonian of the Year in 1985 by Washingtonian magazine and in 1990 was named a laureate of the Washington Business Hall of Fame. He was a charter member of Beth Tfiloh Congregation in Pikesville.

Services were private.

Survivors include a niece, Ilsa West of Elkins Park, Pa.; and a nephew, Robert Edelson of Brooklandville.

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