Donald H. Seitz, civil engineer

Donald H. Seitz, a retired civil engineer who spent most of his career with McLean Contracting Co. of Baltimore and Norfolk, Va., died Aug. 3 of heart failure at Carroll Hospital Center in Westminster. He was 88.

The son of Henry Seitz, a Baltimore & Ohio Railroad civil engineer, and Leona Altvater Seitz, a homemaker, Donald Henry Seitz was born in Baltimore and raised on Hurley Avenue in the city's Gwynns Falls neighborhood.

After graduating from Polytechnic Institute in 1943, Mr. Seitz immediately joined the Navy's V-5 flight program. He was assigned to Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg, and after suffering a football injury, he was reassigned to the Naval Surface program and commissioned an ensign.

During the waning days of World War II, Mr. Seitz served on vessels in the Pacific. After being discharged, he enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1949 in civil engineering.

A member of the Naval Reserve, he was recalled to active duty during the Korean War and was assigned to a Seabees unit that was stationed in Japan.

In the early 1950s, he joined McLean Contracting Co., a bridge contractor, as a project manager. He remained with the company for 20 years until the early 1970s, when he left to accept a job working on the construction of an artificial island in Nassau, Bahamas.

"It was his dream job, and when the company building the island went bankrupt, he returned to Baltimore," said a son, Donald H. Seitz of Lutherville. "He was too embarrassed to ask McLean for his old job back and went to work for the school construction department of Baltimore City schools."

He later returned to McLean Contracting Co. and continued working there until retiring in 1985.

The longtime Catonsville resident, who moved to the Fairhaven retirement community in Sykesville in 1999, was married in 1954 to M. Patricia Cassels, who taught archaeology at Lansdowne High School. She retired in 1996 and died the next year.

The couple enjoyed going on archaeology digs primarily in Maryland, and some of their discoveries are part of the permanent collection of the Catonsville Historical Society.

Mr. Seitz also was a woodworker who had an extensive home shop. He was a dog fancier and had owned several show dogs.

Mr. Seitz was a deacon and member of Catonsville Presbyterian Church.

Plans for a funeral are incomplete.

In addition to his son, Mr. Seitz is survived by two other sons, James Seitz of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Bruce Seitz of San Diego; a daughter, Dr. Stephanie Seitz Hotchkiss of Greenwich, Conn.; and nine grandchildren.

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