Robert W. Ziehm, a retired Howard County Soil Conservation District manager who enjoyed working on projects at his Woodbine home, died there Tuesday of pancreatic cancer. He was 83.
The son of Walter Ziehm, a civilian communications worker at Fort Meade, and Stella Schlueter Ziehm, a homemaker, Robert Walter Ziehm was born in Baltimore and raised in Catonsville, where he graduated from Catonsville High School.
Mr. Ziehm joined the Navy in 1952 and was stationed at Chincoteague Naval Air Station in Virginia, where he worked on communication systems, drones and chase planes.
While pursuing his college education at what is now Loyola University Maryland, Mr. Ziehm worked in electrical engineering for several firms.
He earned his degree from Loyola in 1968, and in 1972, went to work as a district manager for the Howard County Soil Conservation District.
During his tenure, he worked with farmers, homeowners and developers as the county transitioned from rural to urban with the growth and expansion of Columbia.
Family members said he was a "skilled and passionate do-it-yourselfer," and enjoyed home renovations, repairing cars, landscaping, and building dollhouses, swing sets and sandboxes for his children and grandchildren.
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Mr. Ziehm also grew vegetables and fruits and liked cutting wood for a stove in his home.
He like to listen to a wide variety of music and spent time researching his family's genealogical roots.
A varsity lacrosse player during his high school years, he was an avid fan of the sport and followed local college lacrosse teams. He also was a Baltimore Colts, Ravens, Orioles and Virginia Hokies fan.
Mr. Ziehm was an active member for 45 years of Calvary Lutheran Church, 16151 Old Frederick Road, Mount Airy, where funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday.
He is survived by his wife of 44 years, the former Georgia Dove, a retired accountant; four daughters, Michele Ojason and Laura Anderson of Baltimore, Melinda Ittenbach of Laurel, and Amanda Sachtleben of Frederick; and five grandchildren.