Christopher W. Kapp, a retired general contractor who had been an urban planner, died of progressive supranuclear palsy Oct. 11 at his home in the Tuxedo Park neighborhood in North Baltimore. He was 73.
Born in New York City, he was the son of William R. Kapp, a foreign service worker who was later an economist for Pfizer Labs, and his wife, Dora Bryant, who taught nursery school. He lived in New York and in Morristown, N.J., where he was a 1963 graduate of Morristown High School.
Mr. Kapp served in the Navy during the Vietnam War era and was stationed on ships in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.
He earned a bachelor’s degree with a major in economic geography at Rutgers University and a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the same school.
In 1973 he moved to Baltimore and joined the Regional Planning Council as a planner. After five years as an urban planner with the Planning Council and the Maryland Department of Transportation, he formed a company that specialized in housing renovation and home improvements.
After several years of working in an office, he pursued a new career, becoming a carpenter and general contractor.
“Chris was a real pioneer in what we know today as Federal Hill, but when he started, it was South Baltimore,” former City Council member George Della said. “He was an excellent carpenter who always did quality work. He sought out good flooring and windows, and made sure sure that things would come out square in an old house where nothing was really straight. He was a real craftsman.”
Mr. Kapp worked on homes in the Federal Hill-Riverside neighborhoods and later became active in the Mount Vernon neighborhood, where he renovated homes on West Preston Street.
He was honored in 1987 by the Baltimore Chapter of the American Institute of Architects for his work in renovating historic structures.
In 1992 he assisted in the renovation of the St. Ignatius Loyola Academy in the 700 block of N. Calvert St.
Mr. Kapp was an accomplished skier and took trips to Austria. While on one of these vacations, he met an Austrian family with a 400-year-old building in Pettneu Am Arlberg in the Tyrol region. He spent three months renovating several floors of the structure.
“Chris was a man of varied interests,” his wife, Elizabeth “Betsy” Clinton, said. “His love of lacrosse prompted him in 2008 to become certified as a lacrosse official. He was also a windsurfer and distance walker.”
For many years he returned to Austria with his family for skiing vacations. He loved the beach and vacationed in Stone Harbor, N.J.
Mr. Kapp was a volunteer tutor with the Dyslexia Tutoring Program in Baltimore. He had been active with the Beans and Bread Soup Kitchen in Fells Point.
Mr. Kapp was a volunteer at the Maryland State Boychoir, a musical group based in Northeast Baltimore’s Mayfield neighborhood.
Its artistic director, Stephen Holmes, said: “Chris was a faithful and reliable choir proctor. He had a firm but gracious rapport with the boys. He had a quick wit and dry humor that brought levity to any situation."
A memorial service will be held at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Maryland State Boychoir Center for the Arts at 3400 Norman Ave.
Survivors include his wife of 33 years, Elizabeth “Betsy” Clinton of Baltimore; a son, William “Woody” Kapp of Florham Park, N.J.; a brother, Justin Kapp of Morristown, N.J.; a sister, Elissa Kapp Phelan of Morris Plains, N.J.; and nieces and nephews.