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Joseph E. Pipkin, former Glenn L. Martin engineer, dies

Joseph E. Pipkin was a retired electrical and standards engineer who worked for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for nearly three decades.
Joseph E. Pipkin was a retired electrical and standards engineer who worked for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for nearly three decades.

Joseph E. Pipkin, a retired electrical and standards engineer who worked for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for nearly three decades, died Monday from cancer at Lorien Mays Chapel in Timonium.

The Towson resident was 91.

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The son of Joseph William Pipkin, a pattern layout designer for women's clothing, and Catherine Pipkin, a homemaker, Joseph Edward Pipkin was born in Baltimore and raised on North Luzerne Avenue near Patterson Park.

He was a 1943 graduate of Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and began his electrical engineering studies at the Johns Hopkins University

Those studies were interrupted when he enlisted in the Navy. Mr. Pipkin served primarily in intelligence aboard the command ship USS Mount Olympus off China, which had a mission to monitor Japanese troop movements.

Discharged in 1945, he returned to Hopkins and obtained a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1947. In 1955, he received a master's degree in electrical engineering, also from Hopkins.

He began his career as a design engineer for the old Glenn L. Martin Co. in Middle River. He subsequently worked in the same capacity for Westinghouse Electric Corp. and GTE-Sylvania.

Mr. Pipkin joined the U.S. Department of Labor in 1964. During his tenure with the agency — working in what became the Occupational Safety and Health Administration — he wrote eight electrical and mechanical engineering safety standards.

He also was OSHA's liaison on the National Materials Advisory Board of the National Academy of Sciences for evaluation of hazardous industrial atmospheres. He also served as an expert government witness involving electrical safety.

Mr. Pipkin retired in 1991, and the next year was presented the Distinguished Service Award from the Department of Labor.

"He loved to fix things," said a daughter, Kate Pipkin of Parkville. "Toys, bicycles, lawn mowers, you name it, he could fix it. He was the consummate engineer who was always finding or devising projects."

He was an active member of a China/Burma/India veterans group.

Mr. Pipkin was a communicant of Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church, 8501 Loch Raven Blvd., where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Thursday.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife of nearly 60 years, the former Mary L. Connor; a son, Joseph W. Pipkin of Towson; another daughter, Elizabeth M. Pipkin of Owings Mills; and four grandchildren.

— Frederick N. Rasmussen

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