Edgar Lee "Peck" Bond Jr., a retired oil company executive and chemical engineer who kept bees, flew his own airplane and called square dances in Carroll County, died Sunday at Cherrywood Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center in Reisterstown of complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 81.
Mr. Bond was born and raised on his family's farm in Cedarhurst, a rural Carroll County community. He graduated in 1940 from Hampstead High School, and earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry and biology in 1944 from what was then Western Maryland College.
His nickname, given to him by his parents, was based on the fictional Henry Peck, a rambunctious prankster created by popular author George W. Peck in the late 19th century.
Mr. Bond's first job after college was working for Seagram's distillery in Relay. "And to think he was a teetotaler," said his wife of 60 years, the former Charlotte Gross, a retired educator who taught at Owings Mills Elementary School.
In 1950, he took a job in the laboratory of the American Bitumiels & Asphalt Co. in the city's Fairfield area. He later supervised asphalt plants in Canada and California for Standard Oil Co. of California and later for what is now ChevronTexaco Corp. He retired in 1987.
A man of many interests, Mr. Bond seemed to master them all with relative ease. He learned to fly and to tap maple trees and boil syrup. He taught himself to hand-decorate eggs in the Ukrainian style to ward off the boredom of a Canadian winter's night. He learned how to build houses in Emory, between Finksburg and Upperco, where he lived for many years.
"His theory in life was, 'There's nothing that I can't do,'" Mrs. Bond said.
Until he was in his 70s, Mr. Bond enjoyed flying cross-country in his four-seater Cessna 172.
"We flew all over and even to Canada," Mrs. Bond said. "He was a very safe pilot and not a cowboy. We were going to Canada once when a storm came up and caught us. He wasn't nervous because he said the plane did what it was supposed to do. I just kept my mouth shut and prayed."
Until three years ago, Mr. Bond kept two colonies of bees on his farm and gave away to family and friends jars of Bond's Bee's Honey. He was a member of the Carroll County Bee Keepers Association.
Mr. Bond built several of his houses and completed his last one in 1998. He also installed all electrical wiring, fixtures and plumbing.
"He had a brilliant mind and was an excellent teacher," said Carlton F. Thomas, a longtime friend and neighbor. "He studied the books and passed the test so he could become a certified electrician and plumber and inspect his own work."
Mr. Bond also was an accomplished furniture maker. "He'd harvest walnut trees on his property, take them to a sawmill and after letting them season for 10 or 15 years, take the wood and make furniture out of the planks," Mr. Thomas said.
Mr. Bond made an all-wooden clock, including the gears. He cut, polished, and faceted gemstones, which he fashioned into earrings and necklaces. He played the piano and wrote music.
"He did all of these things because he wasn't sitting around watching TV," Mrs. Bond said.
Mr. Bond was a longtime member of Emory United Methodist Church, where he founded a Boy Scout troop, was trustee and secretary and treasurer of the Emory Chapel Cemetery.
"Peck was certainly his own person, that's for sure, and he knew more about the physical plant of this church than anybody," said the Rev. Dwight D. Johnson, Emory's pastor. "He was the first guy I turned to when something was wrong. When I was wringing my hands in despair, he was figuring out a solution to the problem."
Mr. Bond enjoyed square dancing, but as with everything else in his life, didn't do it halfway. He founded the Gingham Squares in Westminster and called dances there for more than 40 years. He also called and danced with the Tom Thumbs in Ellicott City.
He enjoyed entertaining family and friends - especially children.
Because he was interested in promoting international understanding and goodwill, he was president of the American Field Service at Franklin High School for many years and took exchange students into his home.
"He loved children, and they loved him," said Mary Ann Summers, a neighbor. The Bonds "were always opening their home and had folks around their pool. When we moved in 16 years ago, they adopted us. He taught me how to play bridge and helped me when I was going through some tough times. They were very giving and sharing people."
Services were yesterday.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Bond is survived by three daughters, Charlotte Q. Wallace of Hayward, Calif., Cynthia Sue Collins of Tallahassee, Fla., and Victoria Helen Kidwell of Danville, Ind.; a brother, Robert O. Bond of Millersville; a sister, Miriam Gilbert of Laurel; and eight grandchildren.