Edward M. "Mike" Herrmann, a retired Navy engineer whose work during the Cold War reduced the noise submarines emit, died of complications from Parkinson's disease May 27 at Anne Arundel Medical Center. The Severna Park resident was 87.
Born in Baltimore, he was raised at his parents' East North Avenue florist business near the entrance to Baltimore Cemetery. As a young man he helped in their hothouse and made deliveries to customers.
He was a 1936 Polytechnic Institute graduate and a National Honor Society president.
He attended the University of Maryland, College Park but left in 1938 to begin work at the Navy Engineering Experiment Station in Annapolis, where he would spend most of his working years. He attended the Johns Hopkins University's night school until 1942 when he received a degree in mechanical engineering.
In August 1942 he was commissioned as an ensign in the Navy and reported to the diesel section of the New York Navy Yard, according to a life story Dr. Herrmann wrote. He was later transferred to duty in the South Pacific as an assistant radar officer at Guadalcanal in the Solomons.
After seven months there, he was assigned for training in naval architecture at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and remained two years as an instructor.
After the war, he returned to civilian employment. He then worked for the Navy Engineering Experiment Station in the wave mechanics lab for the development of noise reduction in submarines. He developed technology to quiet gears on the undersea craft and received several patents for his inventions.
"He made them so they would sneak through the water," said his wife of 68 years, the former Capitola M. Davis.
Dr. Herrmann visited submarine bases at Connecticut, California and Scotland.
A captain in the Naval Reserve, he later earned a master's degree and a doctorate in engineering from the University of Maryland.
"He was a wonderful storyteller," his wife said yesterday. "And after he retired, he took care of his boat, his home and his kids."
Services are private.
In addition to his wife, survivors include a daughter, Capitola P. Bradshaw of Severna Park; a brother, Louis Herrmann of Severna Park; a sister, Elizabeth Smith of Stuart, Fla.; two grandchildren; and four great-granddaughters.