Kenneth Armstrong McCord, who helped design Columbia's water and sewage infrastructure, died of complications from kidney failure Friday at his Towson home. He was 80.
Mr. McCord, a former managing partner at the architectural and engineering firm of Whitman, Requardt and Associates, also helped plan the water and sewage services for Richmond, Va., Joppatowne and Ocean City.
Born in Baltimore, he graduated from Polytechnic Institute. He attended the Johns Hopkins University and earned an engineering degree in 1941. While in school, he also worked part time at Whitman, Requardt.
After graduating from Hopkins, he joined the Army and fought in World War II in North Africa, earning a Silver Star and the Croix de Guerre, an award from the French government for his meritorious conduct in fighting alongside the French on the Tunisian front.
Upon returning to the United States, he took a full-time job at Whitman, Requardt, where he eventually rose to managing partner.
Mr. McCord led many of the company's biggest projects, including the 10-year process of planning Columbia, because of his honesty and thoroughness, said managing partner Richard Lortz.
He would double-check and triple-check plans to make sure everything was perfect, and when he found something wrong, "he felt free to give answers that people didn't want to hear," Mr. Lortz said.
While the firm was designing a tank project in Howard County during the 1970s, Mr. McCord found that the tank didn't need to be elevated - a discovery that saved the county several hundred thousand dollars, but essentially killed any chance for his firm to do the project.
Mr. McCord also enjoyed working on smaller projects, "where he could go out and roll up his sleeves and have lunch with the local sanitation department," said his wife, the former Carol Blanton, whom he married in 1946.
Mr. McCord taught hydraulics at the Johns Hopkins graduate night school during the 1950s. He was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Engineering Society of Baltimore and the St. Andrews Society, and was an avid boater.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. today at Towson Presbyterian Church, 400 W. Chesapeake Ave., where Mr. McCord was a longtime member and had served as an elder.
In addition to his wife, Mr. McCord is survived by four sons, Thomas B. McCord of Towson, Kenneth A. McCord Jr. of Hingham, Mass., William C. McCord of Cary, N.C., and David M. McCord of New Haven, Conn.; a daughter, Jean E. McCord of Stow, Mass.; a brother, Marshal McCord of Towson; and eight grandchildren.