William Henry Zeidler Jr., a retired electrical engineer and decorated World War II fighter pilot, died of heart failure Wednesday at Sinai Hospital. The Roland Park resident was 87.
Mr. Zeidler was born at home on William Street in Federal Hill. He was a 1937 graduate of Polytechnic Institute where, as a shortstop on the baseball team, he was named to the 1936-1937 all-state team.
In 1939, he began his career with the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. Two years later, he left to enlist in the Army Air Forces.
Trained as a pilot, Mr. Zeidler was sent to England, where he flew the P-38 Lightning on 38 missions escorting bombers over Germany.
Mr. Zeidler was a captain, and his decorations included the Air Medal with two oak leaf clusters.
He returned to the C&P; and earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in 1955. When he retired in 1983, he was director of data processing for the company's Mid-Atlantic region.
From 1983 to 2003, he was director of the bookstore at the Cathedral School in North Baltimore. He also volunteered in the alumni office of the Johns Hopkins University and with the Poly Alumni Association.
Mr. Zeidler enjoyed playing golf until he was 82. He was an avid Orioles fan.
He was married for 18 years to Catherine M. "Kitty" Barrett, who died in 1964.
Mr. Zeidler was a communicant of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles St., where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today.
Surviving are his wife of 39 years, the former Kathleen Fallon Mitchell; three sons, Joseph F. Zeidler of Timonium, Dr. William H. Zeidler Jr. of Haddam, Conn., and John F. Zeidler II of North Codorus, Pa.; two daughters, Sallie Z. Grandi of Malvern, Pa., and Barbara Z. Kimmitt of Laurel; two stepsons, James H. Mitchell III and Michael Mitchell, both of Baltimore; four stepdaughters, Stacey M. Kuzma of Kensington, Megan M. Jacob of Odenton, Molly Mitchell of Baltimore and Mary M. Gruschow of Carlisle, Pa.; and 25 grandchildren.