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Robert E. English, former Loch Raven Middle School principal and World War II veteran, dies

Robert E. English and his second wife went on more than 30 cruises.
Robert E. English and his second wife went on more than 30 cruises.

Robert E. English, former longtime principal of Loch Raven Middle School, who served with the Navy in the South Pacific during World War II, died Nov. 4 of complications from pneumonia at Oak Crest Village in Parkville. The former Carney and Perry Hall resident was 96.

“Bob was one of our best principals and had very high standards,” said Robert Y. Dubel, superintendent of Baltimore County public schools for 16 years until retiring in 1992. “He was an outstanding principal and spent most of his career at Loch Raven Middle School. He was a guy who worked very hard reaching out to communities and having a good relationship with them.”

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Robert Eugene English, son of Oscar Hagey English, a Pennsylvania Railroad worker, and his wife, Mary Grace Hewitt English, a homemaker, was born and raised in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

After graduating from Altoona High School in 1942, Mr. English worked briefly for Western Electric Corp. before enlisting in the Navy that year, training as a gunner’s mate. He was assigned to the Pacific theater and served aboard the USS LSM 494, an amphibious assault ship.

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Mr. English was discharged in 1946; his decorations included the Victory Medal and American Campaign Asiatic-Pacific Medal.

After graduating in 1949 from Shippensburg State Teachers College, now Shippensburg University, in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, with a bachelor’s degree in education, he began his career in education teaching bookkeeping at Dundalk Senior High School.

He also had two part-time jobs, working in the accounting department at Bethlehem Steel Corp.’s Sparrows Point facility and for the Pinkerton Detective Agency at Pimlico Race Course.

In 1955, he earned a master’s degree in administration from the University of Maryland, College Park and five years later was appointed vice principal at Dundalk Senior High School.

Mr. English was named principal of Loch Raven Middle School in 1963, remaining in that position until his retirement in 1978.

“I think was of Bob’s most notable achievements was serving on the principals’ committee of our Values Program that had developed a strong disciplinary code for students who were using drugs and alcohol,” said Dr. Dubel, a Glen Arm resident. “He was the architect of the program and led the committee.”

Dr. Dubel said Mr. English “helped put in that program.”

“It had three prongs: detection, counseling and education,” Dr. Dubel said. “Students were sent to night school, and after they improved their behavior they were able to return to their regular schools. We had a zero-tolerance program when it came to drugs and alcohol. It was a no-nonsense program.”

Mr. English was a popular figure with the school’s faculty, Dr. Dubel said.

“Bob was outgoing and friendly and had a good relationship with the teachers, who loved him,” he said. “He was a very optimistic person who always looked for the bright side.”

He was a member of numerous professional educational organizations and was an officer of the Kiwanis Club of Dundalk.

In 1955, Mr. English married the former Doris Oglesby, a Baltimore County educator who taught at Orem Elementary School. She died in 1975. He married the former Sara Gertrude Fischbeck, a secretary at Kenwood Senior High School, in 1980. She was 100 when she died in 2018, family members said.

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A thoroughbred horse racing fan, he enjoyed going to Pimlico Race Course, Laurel Park and Timonium Race Track.

“He forever loved horse racing and always talked about owning a racehorse, but he never did,” said a daughter, Laura Kathryn Schaefer of Monrovia in Frederick County.

Mr. English enjoyed working in his yard and taking cruises.

“Dad married his second wife after he retired, and they went on cruises all the time, at least 35 of them, and managed a few trips to Europe as well,” Ms. Schaefer said. “I think he wore down cruise companies trying to arrange cruises, and I think they finally just gave in to him.”

Services and interment were private.

In addition to his daughter, Mr. English is survived by another daughter, Elizabeth Anne Whiteleather of Fallston, and five grandchildren. His son, John David English, died in 1983. A stepson, William Fischbeck, died in 1999, and a stepdaughter, Deborah Fischbeck, died in 2007.

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