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Ronald McBee
Ronald McBee (Baltimore Sun)

Ronald Gary "Chief" McBee Sr., who founded a plumbing business, died of cancer Dec. 28 at his Fallston home. He was 67.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Highlandtown, he was the son of Ralph C. "Mac" McBee, a shipyard worker, and Isabelle Nellie Barnes McBee, a homemaker. A 1965 graduate of Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School, he worked in the maintenance shop at Armco Steel and at General Motors on Broening Highway. He became a master plumber in 1984 and then started a business, Best Mechanical Inc., out of his Hamilton home.

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His son, Ronald Gary McBee Jr. of Forest Hill, joined him in the business in 1987 and expanded it to include heating, ventilation and air-conditioning work.

Mr. McBee's son said his father worked on numerous projects, including the restoration of the Hippodrome Theatre on Eutaw Street. Mr. McBee was part of a nine-year renovation project at the U.S. Naval Academy, doing work on Bancroft and Michaelson halls. He also did projects at the Keswick Multi-Care Center in North Baltimore.

"My dad knew how to get the best out of each individual," said his son. "Dad was there every day. He was hands-on with his workers in the field. He was tough but was caring at heart."

Mr. McBee served as a director of the Maryland Plumbing, Heating, Cooling Contractors Assocation. He followed NASCAR and enjoyed boating, fishing and classic cars.

He attended Mountain Christian Church in Joppa.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Jan. 3 at the McComas Funeral Home, 540 W. Broadway in Bel Air.

In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 26 years, Theresa Mullin McBee; another son, James McBee of Perry Hall; two daughters, Bethany-Kate McBee and Kelly McCarthy, both of Fallston; two stepsons, Joshua Cecil of Georgetown, Del., and Jonathan Cecil of Baltimore; a sister, Doloris Pinckney of Forest Hill; and nine grandchildren.

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