Charles E. Halm, head of recreation center


Charles E. Halm, retired director of the Mount Royal Recreation Center, died Monday of leukemia at Stella Maris Hospice. He was 80 and lived in Glen Meadows retirement community in Glenarm.

He retired in 1978 as director of the Mount Royal center, a job he had held since it opened in 1948.

In a 1977 letter, A. Katherine Gross, then-principal of Mount Royal Elementary School, which housed the recreation center, thanked him and his staff for their work and their cooperation. In the letter, she said of Mr. Halm, "What a beautiful world this

would be if all people exemplified as you do, the spirit of brotherhood."

Thomas V. Overton, assistant superintendent of recreation who was Mr. Halm's district supervisor, described him as "a fine man with terrific energy, a tireless worker."

Mr. Overton said that when he was starting his own career, Mr. Halm was his mentor. "I learned to shoot marbles from him," he said.

Mr. Halm was a champion marble shooter in Yonkers, N.Y. He coached shooters at his center and conducted citywide contests, often taking the winners to national championships in Wildwood, N.J.

In the nationals, three of his charges won the best sportsmanship trophy; three were runners-up in the girls' contests, and many finished in the top eight.

He also was on a team of recreation leaders that organized regional and national Frisbee tournaments here.

Mr. Halm's work was not limited to sports. He started preschool programs at Mount Royal and O'Donnell Heights elementary schools that included the basics of what later was the federal Headstart program, and organized senior citizen clubs in the Mount Royal area.

In 1963, the Mount Royal Center received the first Governor's Physical Fitness Award.

Mr. Halm received the Mount Royal Improvement Association's merit award, and citations from the school and related groups, and from the the American Athletic Union for the center's physical fitness program.

He was a member of city government committees and advisory groups, and the Maryland Recreation and Parks Society.

Born in New York City and raised in Yonkers, N.Y., Mr. Halm earned a bachelor's degree in health, physical education and recreation from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa., in 1938 and a master's degree in education from Columbia University in New York in 1940.

Before coming to Baltimore in 1948, he taught at Ursinus and at high schools in the New York City area, and directed a day camp and a farm school for boys, both in the New York area.

In 1941, Mr. Halm enlisted in the Army and served in an anti-aircraft unit before being commissioned and serving as a morale officer on New Caledonia, Guadalcanal and New Georgia in the Pacific, and in the United States.

During the war, he was, for a time, the private lifeguard for Admiral of the Fleet William F. Halsey Jr.

He was a member of the Army Reserve, retiring in 1975 as a major.

During his lifetime, he donated more than five gallons of blood to the American Red Cross.

He was a member of what is now the Govans-Boundary Parish of the United Methodist Church, 5210 York Road, where he was a lay leader, president of United Methodist Men, chairman of the Council of Ministries, administrative board member, usher, and teacher of the Adult Fellowship Class.

Services for Mr. Halm were to be held at 11 a.m. today at the church.

He is survived by his wife, the former Thelma Mae Eaton; a son, Charles E. Halm Jr. of Baltimore; a daughter, Beverly Halm Levin of Santa Fe; and three grandchildren.

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