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Harry W. Strovel, 64, ironworker, union official, racehorse caretaker


Harry W. Strovel, an ironworker and union leader in Baltimore who turned to managing and raising racehorses, died Friday of liver failure at the Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. He was 64 and a longtime resident of Whiteford.

He served as the business manager of the Ironworkers Union Local No. 16 for a decade.

Among the projects he helped to build were the federal office building, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, various mills at Sparrows Point and the Peach Bottom nuclear power plant in Delta, Pa.

He later managed the thoroughbred horse racing operation of Orioles owner Peter Angelos.

A Baltimore native, Mr. Strovel was a 1958 graduate of Patterson High School. He worked for his father's appliance delivery service. He became an apprentice ironworker with Local 16 in 1960 and a journeyman ironworker in 1962, later serving as a foreman.

While representing the ironworkers as shop steward at Peach Bottom in 1972, he was appointed as a union business agent to represent Local 16 members in Maryland and in parts of Delaware and Pennsylvania.

In 1976, he became the business manager of Local 16, representing 1,100 workers. He held the job until he retired in 1986. His other positions in the local included vice president, chairman of the pension fund and chairman of the political action committee.

He also was a delegate to the Maryland-Washington section of the AFL-CIO.

He was vice president of the Ironworkers Mid-Atlantic States District Council and vice president of the Baltimore Building Trades Council. He served as a delegate to two ironworkers international conventions.

"He was never afraid of heights," said his wife, the former Patricia Wagner.

The couple met as teenagers on a blind date and married in 1959. They lived in Dundalk and then Carney before buying a farm in Whiteford in 1969. He raised and bred horses there, some of which raced at the Pimlico and Laurel tracks.

He and his family cared for horses for Mr. Angelos, and he managed Mr. Angelos' racing operation for a decade.

In 2002, he moved to the outskirts of Lake City, Fla., where he continued to raise thoroughbred horses.

In May 2005, he learned that he had a serious liver disease. He returned to Baltimore for medical treatment last June, and found that he also had stomach cancer.

He had been a volunteer with the Baltimore Association for Retarded Citizens and other groups. He enjoyed traveling, and took his children and grandchildren to Disney World many times and to Myrtle Beach, N.C.

Funeral plans are private.

In addition to his wife of 47 years, survivors include a son, Jeffrey Strovel of Laurel; two daughters, Deane Schwapka of Butler and Amy Simmons of Chase; two sisters, Jean Scoville and Gerri Forti, both of Parkville; six grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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