Carl E. Hessler, a licensed professional engineer who was the former owner of Eastern Sales & Engineering Co., died Sept. 10 at Gilchrist Hospice Care of complications from a stroke. The Mercy Ridge resident was 96.
The son of Edwin Hessler, a tavern owner, and Crecentia Rammer Hessler, a homemaker, Carl Edwin Hessler was born and raised in Sheboygan, Wis., where he graduated from high school.
After graduating in 1941 from the University of Wisconsin at Madison with a degree in civil engineering, Mr. Hessler joined the old Glenn L. Martin Co. in Middle River in its structural design division.
He accepted a commission into the Navy in 1943, but when Martin Co. officials stated in a letter to the Navy Department that Mr. Hessler was one of the few engineers in the country with a stress analyst rating, the War Manpower Commission determined that his knowledge was essential to the design and production of war aircraft. He remained at the company's Middle River plant for the duration of the war.
In 1948, Mr. Hessler joined Eastern Sales & Engineering Co., which designed, manufactured and installed municipal lighting systems.
When Mayor Thomas L.J. D'Alesandro Jr. began conversion in the 1950s of an estimated 10,000 gas lamps to mercury vapor, many of the street lampposts and reflective street name signs that could be read at night throughout Baltimore were designed and manufactured by Eastern.
In 1966, Mr. Hessler was named president of the company, and six years later, he purchased the business, which is now owned and operated by his son, David Patterson Hessler of Monkton.
Mr. Hessler retired in 1990.
He joined the Engineering Society of Baltimore in 1950, and was a member of the Baltimore County Electrical Contractors Association. He had been vice president of the National Association of Lighting Maintenance Contractors.
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He enjoyed spending time at a summer house he owned on Kent Island. He was also an inveterate swimmer and golfer and was a member of the Hunt Valley Golf Club. He enjoyed gardening and building stone walls, and was still walking a mile a day at his death, family members said.