George W. Nitsch, a former Baltimore police sergeant and guard for the National Security Agency, died of heart failure Wednesday at Chester River Hospital Center in Chestertown. He was 87.
Mr. Nitsch - known as Bill to family and friends - was born and raised in Southwest Baltimore. His early world was the neighborhood around his Ashton Street home. He went to grammar school at St. Benedict Church, and he ended up marrying a schoolmate, Rita M. Heaney, whom he met through her brother, who was his best friend.
They were married for 23 years and had two sons and two daughters. She died in 1965.
Mr. Nitsch, who had attended Mount St. Joseph High School for a year before studying welding at a trade school for two years, took his first job at Glenn L. Martin Co. He worked as a sheet metal department supervisor from 1939 to 1944, his eldest son, George W. Nitsch Jr. - also called Bill - said yesterday.
In 1944, Mr. Nitsch joined the Navy and served as a radarman. He was awarded Pacific Theater and American Theater ribbons, as well as a Victory Medal. He was discharged in 1946.
He returned to Glenn L. Martin for a time before joining the Baltimore Police Department, where he had risen to the rank of sergeant before retiring from a 25-year career in the mid-1970s.
He later worked for 15 years as a security guard for the NSA, retiring in the early 1990s.
In 1968, he remarried. He and Gloria L. Nitsch lived in Severna Park for about 35 years before they moved to Chestertown in 2004.
"He was a soft-spoken man, a very gentle man," said Dean Nitsch, his youngest son by his second marriage.
Mr. Nitsch liked puzzles such as crosswords and cryptograms. Retirement also gave him the chance to catch up on his reading; he enjoyed a variety of books.
Bill Nitsch Jr. described his father as "very loving and fair, trustworthy."
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Benedict Church, 2612 Wilkens Ave.
Survivors also include another son, James E. Nitsch of Dundalk; two daughters, Mary Rita Wilson and Elizabeth J. Ballwanz, both of Baltimore; a brother, Charles Nitsch of Baltimore; 12 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.