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Kenneth Beem, geology professor

Kenneth Alan Beem, a retired Montgomery College geology professor, has died.

Kenneth Alan Beem, a retired Montgomery College geology professor who was a specialist on Baltimore-made pottery, including the McCormick teapot, died of cardiac arrest June 3 at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He was 72 and lived in Catonsville.

Born in Columbus, Ohio, the son of Richard and Jean Beem, he was a 1960 graduate of Mifflin High School. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees at Tulane University. He received a doctorate in geology at the University of Cincinnati. He was a specialist in micropaleontology and had worked at the Smithsonian Institution.

In 1971, Dr. Beem joined the faculty of Montgomery College in Rockville. He taught geology and biology for more than 36 years before he retired.

In 1974, he married Barbara Miller, a Howard County Times reporter. They moved to Catonsville, where he became interested in antiques and the Bennett Pottery Co. of Baltimore. The Bennett firm once produced the McCormick teapots sold by the spice firm.

Dr. Beem researched and wrote about 19th- and early 20th-century Baltimore potteries. In 1992, he and his wife began writing for AntiqueWeek, a national publication for collectors and dealers. They wrote features and covered antique shows. He wrote a monthly column, the Question Box, beginning in 2011.

He and his wife also wrote about historic homes open to tourists for The New England Antiques Journal. He contributed articles to The Baltimore Sun. They interviewed curators at Williamsburg and Winterthur.

Their article, "A History of Baltimore Porcelain," was published in the 2012 edition of Ceramics in America. At the time of his death, he was researching Rebekah-at-the-Well teapots also made by Bennett Pottery.

He collected cocktail shakers, paint-by-numbers pictures and 78 rpm records. A car enthusiast and fan of Formula One auto racing, he also enjoyed classical music and played the trombone. He was also a founding member of the Catonsville Seven, a local travel writers' group.

A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church, 905 Frederick Road in Catonsville, where he was a member and played in the Salem Brass group.

In addition to his wife of 41 years, survivors include a daughter, Katherine McKerrow of Catonsville; and three grandchildren.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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