George Tracy Bertsch, retired general manager and secretary of the A. S. Abell Co., former publisher of The Sun and The Evening Sun, died Wednesday of heart failure at his home in Edenwald, a Towson retirement community. He was 93.
Mr. Bertsch retired at the start of 1966 after more than 45 years with the newspapers.
He contributed editorial cartoons to The Evening Sun during World War I and then joined The Sun as a reporter in 1920. He covered the police districts, wrote features and was a copy editor briefly before switching to the business side of the publishing company and holding a number of managerial posts.
William F. Schmick Jr., a former president of A. S. Abell, said yesterday, "I was always very comfortable with George as general manager. He was conscientious, thorough and imaginative. He was always in good spirits and a pleasure to work with."
Donald H. Patterson, also a former president of A. S. Abell, said Mr. Bertsch "was a fine gentleman, always considerate of others' problems. You would always get an answer if you asked for advice or guidance.
"He carried his load," Mr. Patterson said. "He did his darnedest to let everybody concerned know what he wanted and would help them do it. He was not the type to order you to do something without explaining what he wanted."
Born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, Mr. Bertsch came to Baltimore as a child and was a graduate of the Polytechnic Institute.
After his retirement, he joined the International Executive Service Corps as a volunteer consultant to Herald Publications Inc., spending several months in each of three years in the late 1960s in the Philippines, where the company published newspapers in English, Spanish and Tagalog.
Also in retirement, he was on a committee that set up Maryland Media, a corporation that owned student publications at the University of Maryland. He was a director and secretary for a year.
In 1992, he was cited for having the longest active membership, more than 80 years, in the Second Presbyterian Church in Baltimore, where he had been a deacon, ruling elder and trustee.
He was a member for 70 years of the Centre Lodge of the Masons, a member of the Baltimore Country Club and a charter member and director of the Center Club.
He had been a volunteer for the National Alliance of Businessmen, a director of the Better Business Bureau, president of the Inter-State Circulation Managers Association, vice president of the International Classified Advertising Association and a director of the Newspaper Advertising Executives' Association.
In 1931, he married Charlotte Tickner, who died July 11.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow at the Second Presbyterian Church, 4200 St. Paul St.
He is survived by four daughters, Charlotte B. Loppacker of Ridgefield, Conn., Nancy B. Ratchford of Annapolis, Ann Tracy Bertsch of College Park and Barbara B. Cox of Staunton, Va.; and eight grandchildren.
Memorial donations may be made to the church.