T. Michael McInnis, the retired president of the General Elevator Co., who was an accomplished skier, died of cardiovascular disease June 26 at Sinai Hospital. The former Howard County resident was 82.
Born in Scranton, Pa., he was the son of Joseph P. McInnis, a Bethlehem Steel engineering executive, and his wife, Lena Dolmesch. He moved with his family to Maryland after his father was transferred to Sparrows Point. He attended Towson High School and later earned his GED while serving in the Army. He trained as a paratrooper, made numerous jumps and was stationed in Munich during the Cold War.
Family members said that while overseas, he enjoyed attending Oktoberfests.
He later earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in business administration at what is now Loyola University Maryland.
Mr. McInnis sold shoes and was a bill collector before he joined General Elevator and worked in its accounting department. He later became vice president of his department and in 1993 became president of the firm. He retired in 2000.
“He was very good with numbers,” said Margaret “Marge” Duncan, his companion, who also worked at General Elevator. “He could read down a column of figures with one hand and tap them into into a calculator without looking at the keys. Most everything in life came easy to him. As president, he was low-key and could handle problems calmly.”
Said his daughter, Constance “Connie” Morreale of Phoenix, Ariz.: “My father was a stickler for details who could be quirky. At General Elevator, he was not mechanically inclined. He wouldn’t know the difference between a flathead and Phillips screwdriver. He was a man of fixed habits. At six o’clock each night on the dot he sat down and had one Scotch. During the day, he set out seven Raisinettes on the kitchen counter. That was his daily allotment. He used the same plastic cereal bowl for 30 years. We finally gave him a new one.”
She said her father also had a schedule for walking Columbia’s paths. He walked around Centennial Lake and Lake Elkhorn when weather permitted. He disliked cold, windy weather.
She said that after he retired he joined the Dancel YMCA and went to it five days a week. For three days he worked out on an exercise bike and did strength training, and the other two days he did The New York Times crossword puzzle while he drank coffee and handed out candy.
“My father taught me many things,” his daughter said. “He taught me and my sister to appreciate classical music, drive a manual transmission, manage money wisely, and brave the Wild Mouse roller coaster in Ocean City. He was also generous. He’d take us out to dinner and randomly gives us what he called mad money.”
“Like all of his enthusiasms, when he got into something, he was very enthusiastic,” his daughter said. “If he heard the skiing was good somewhere, he took off. He liked the Canadian Rockies, Lake Tahoe and Brian Head, Utah. After the Winter Olympics were held in Sarajevo, he went there and injured himself. He recovered and got back on the slopes. He skied until he was almost 70.”
His daughter said Mr. McInnis had a love-hate relationship with the Orioles. He had other pet peeves.
“He thought calamari was tasteless and was like chewy rubber bands. He was no fan of CNN,” his daughter said. “He particularly loved telling the same 10 stories over and over again.”
Mr. McInnis liked to weigh precisely 180 pounds. When it dropped, he had a milkshake at Duchess Variety Store in Ellicott City.
“It was not like it was medicine,” his daughter said. “It was a great excuse to drink a milkshake.”
After residing on Greencrest Road in Northeast Baltimore, Mr. McInnis moved to Columbia in 1972. He later lived in Ellicott City and was most recently a resident of the Charlestown Retirement Community.