Herbert Wilmer Findeisen Jr., a retired Baltimore educator and middle school principal, died Saturday at York Hospital in York, Pa., after being injured in an automobile accident near Bonneauville, Pa. The former longtime Randallstown resident was 77.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation by Pennsylvania State Police, family members said yesterday. Mr. Findeisen had lived in Orrtanna, Pa., since 1992.
Mr. Findeisen, the son of a Baltimore Transit Co. streetcar motorman and a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised on Pelham Avenue.
He was a 1949 graduate of Polytechnic Institute and earned a bachelor's degree from what is now Towson University.
From 1953 until 1957, he served in the Navy as quartermaster aboard the escort carrier USS Gilbert Islands.
Mr. Findeisen later earned a master's degree in mathematics from Catholic University of America in Washington and a second master's degree in education from Western Maryland College, now McDaniel College, in 1974.
In 1960, he began his nearly three-decade career teaching math at Benjamin Franklin Elementary and Junior High School in Curtis Bay.
In 1973, he was named assistant principal at the old Eastern High School on East 33rd Street, across from the now-demolished Memorial Stadium.
"He came to Eastern as my vice principal, and I was absolutely delighted," said Betty Williams, who was principal at the time and was an administrator at the time of her 1982 retirement.
"Herb had an unusual name, and before he arrived, I got on the intercom and told the students one day that he was to be called 'Mr. Fin-dess-in,' and not 'Mr. Fin' or 'Mr. Di,'" Mrs. Williams said.
"Herb was one of the finest men I've ever known or worked with. I remember one time when we needed some painting done, and he and his wife and their kids came in, and we painted the hallways one weekend," she said.
Mrs. Williams praised Mr. Findeisen for being a "firm disciplinarian and straightforward with the students. He was never vindictive and always fair, and they loved him."
Looking for a way to raised money for their school, Mrs. Williams and Mr. Findeisen decided to turn their school's parking lot into a paying proposition for baseball fans looking for a place to park during Oriole home games.
"We had a big parking lot, and we used it to raise money. And did we raise money," Mrs. Williams said, laughing.
"Herb was an honest and fair gentleman, and we just got along famously," she said.
After leaving Eastern in 1979, Mr. Findeisen was principal of Robert Poole Elementary School in Hampden, and spent the last two years of his career, until retiring in 1988, as principal of Hamilton Middle School.
In addition to his work for city schools, he also served as an evening administrator at Carroll Community College and an arbitrator for the Baltimore City Public School Disciplinary Board.
Mr. Findeisen had been active for many years as a coach, umpire, president and board member of Liberty Road Baseball, a youth baseball league that had 2,000 youth participants.
He had been president of the Liberty Road Umpire Association and had been a past president and referee for the Randallstown Optimist Football League.
Mr. Findeisen was also active in Masonic affairs and was a member of Sharon Lodge 182, Bonnie Blink Daylight Lodge 001, the Boumi Temple, Scottish Rite and the Tall Cedars of Lebanon.
For more than 30 years, Mr. Findeisen, who had earned a pilot's license, enjoyed flying his Cessna 182, a four-seat, single-engine airplane.
"He kept the plane at BWI and later moved it to the Westminster Air Park. He and my mother enjoyed flying up and down the East Coast, and to Florida and Mississippi," said a son, Steven M. Findeisen, of Westminster.
Mr. Findeisen was a classical music fan and enjoyed attending Baltimore Symphony Orchestra concerts.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Burrier Queen Funeral Home, 1212 W. Old Liberty Road, Winfield.
Also surviving are his wife of 47 years, the former Shirley Ann Quidas; two other sons, Hebert W. Findeisen III of Mount Airy and James H. Findeisen of Berkeley Heights, N.J.; and six grandchildren.