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Raymond J. Piechocki, a Baltimore architect who established Piechocki Consultants, dies

Raymond J. Piechocki, a retired architect who specialized in institutional, governmental and franchise retailing, died Feb. 23 of a cerebral hemorrhage at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Fla.

The former Timonium and Middle River resident, who moved to Savannah, Ga., in 2008, was 78.

“Ray was always full of ideas, suggestions and thinking outside of the box. He was always thinking of new ways to do things and maintain his professional work,” said Gino J. Gemignani Jr., who retired in 2014 from Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., where he had been senior vice president.

Mike J. Batza Jr., chairman of Heritage Properties Inc. and a Towson resident, was a longtime friend.

“He did a lot of work for us, consulting, evaluation, and architecture,” Mr. Batza said. “Ray was a very good guy, upbeat, always optimistic and an enthusiastic problem-solver.”

Raymond Joseph Piechocki, the son of Joseph P. “Pat” Piechocki, a Baltimore deputy fire chief, and his wife, Theresa Jeskiewicz, a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised in Gardenville.

He was a 1958 graduate of Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School, and after serving in the Army, attended McCoy College at the Johns Hopkins University. In 1978, he received his architectural license from the Maryland Board of Architects.

While working as a senior associate for Gaudreau Inc., architects, he worked on the Kodiak bear exhibit at what is now the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

In 1968, he joined Mark Beck Associates as vice president of production and construction services, and then in the 1980s, was named manager of sales and marketing for McCormick Construction Co. Inc., a subsidiary of McCormick Properties Inc.

After McCormick sold the division, Mr. Piechocki was appointed vice president of business development for Riparius Construction Inc.

“I first got to know him as a competitor when he was with Riparius Construction. We never had any ill feelings and only mutual feelings of respect for one another,” said Mr. Gemignani, a Homeland Mews resident. “Ray then left Riparius and went into private practice.”

In 1991 he established Piechocki Consultants, an architectural design and production studio, where he served as president and CEO.

“We did a lot of work with Ray, and it always was a lot of fun. He was a quality guy who really knew his work,” Mr. Gemignani said

“I remember we were reviewing a plan for a building addition in Anne Arundel County and no one had prepared a master plan. Ray absolutely insisted that no one could come in without a master plan.and the relationship of the building to the campus,” he said. “He was definitive and determined when it came to master plans.”

Some of the projects that Mr. Piechocki’s firm undertook for Heritage Properties Inc. included Radio Park in the old East Joppa Road Bendix Radio complex in Towson, Joppa Center, White Marsh Retail Center, Ridge Professional Center as well as Krispy Kreme franchises on Belair Road, Timonium, and Gov. Ritchie Highway.

“Radio Park was a complex and interesting project,” Mr. Batza said.

Other work handled by the firm included Celebree learning centers in Mount Airy, Frederick, Westminster, Columbia, Ellicott City, Waverly Woods and Northview.

Mr. Piechocki also oversaw design projects for the Deerfield Adult Day Care Center, Direct Marketing Associates, Double Eagle Enterprises Inc. golf driving range, Baltimore Yacht Club, Bowleys Quarter Marina, 20 Rite Aid drugstores, and Burger Kings in Aberdeen, Perryville and Middle River.

The firm was also the owner’s representative for the Maryland Institute College of Art for 20 years, and his last MICA project was The Gateway, a mixed-use student residence facility in 2008.

“Ray was easygoing and had a great sense of design and a wonderful knowledge of construction and could work with all parties involved,” said Fred Lazarus IV, who headed MICA for 35 years before retiring in 2014.

“The success of the Gateway project and the Brown Center were due to Ray’s contributions, and the Gateway project was not a particularly easy one,” said Mr. Lazarus, a Roland Park resident. “But both were done without any change orders.”

Working with the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, he worked on remodeling studios on the fifth and 10th floors of the Bromo Seltzer Arts Tower.

Mr. Piechocki was a volunteer and member of the building committees of St. Mary’s Seminary and University and the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore.

“Ray also did a lot of pro bono work,” Mr. Batza said.

He was on the boards of Kennedy Krieger Institute, KinderGala, Norbel School, Baltimore Museum of Industry and Baltimore Yacht Club.

An avid sailor, Mr. Piechocki was a member and president of the board of Operation Sail, which was founded by Mayor William Donald Schaefer in 1975 to celebrate the 1976 U.S. bicentennial and brought a flotilla of historic ships to the city.

In 1980, he accepted an opportunity to go to sea on the original Pride of Baltimore, which was lost in 1986.

In 1988, former Baltimore County Executive Dennis F. Rasmussen appointed Mr. Piechocki to the Baltimore County Economic Development Commission.

In addition to sailing, he enjoyed wearing hats from his vast collection, fishing, carpentry, crabbing and driving his 1946 Ford T-bucket, a 1948 Ford sedan, and a 1956 Buick.

After moving to Savannah, he was a St. Patrick’s Day parade volunteer and was a communicant of St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church and a member of the Knights of Columbus.

A funeral Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. May 11 at Christ the King Roman Catholic Church, 1102 Hart Road, Towson.

He is survived by his companion of 20 years, Pam Rurka of Savannah; two daughters, Alicia Banghart of Arnold and Karen Williams of Acworth, Ga.; and three grandchildren. His marriage to the former Marge Chipman ended in divorce.

fred.rasmussen@baltsun.com

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