John W. Trageser Jr., a retired mechanical engineer who headed a contracting firm, died of cancer Sunday at his Lutherville home. He was 88.
Born in Baltimore, he was the son of John W. Trageser Sr., who owned Trageser's Cozy Inn, and the former Elizabeth Faul, who ran the family business' restaurant.
Raised on Gorsuch Avenue, Mr. Trageser wrote in a memoir that he sold Christmas trees and drove an ice delivery truck as a young man. He also worked at Bethlehem Steel and at the old Albert Goetze meatpacking plant.
He was a 1944 graduate of Polytechnic Institute, where he was a member of the swim team.
He earned a degree in mechanical engineering from Marquette University and later completed several semesters as a graduate student at the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied power plant engineering
He joined Lloyd E. Mitchell Inc. in 1956 and rose to become its president. In 1974, he joined the Poole and Kent Co. and retired in 1988.
He served as local president for the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers, the Engineering Society of Baltimore and Building Congress and Exchange.
He spent two months each winter on a golf vacation, often in the Southwest. A member of the Baltimore Country Club, he also played cards.
He served on the boards of Maryvale Preparatory School and Bon Secours Hospital.
A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Friday at Shrine of the Sacred Heart Church, 5800 Smith Ave. in Mount Washington, where he was member of the parish council.
Survivors include his wife of 62 years, the former Marian E. Kreutz, a retired Johns Hopkins Hospital nurse; two daughters, Michelle L. Trageser of Baltimore and Kelly T. Collett of Randolph, N.J.; and six grandchildren.