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Thomas J. Shafer, partner in engineering firm

Thomas J. Shafer helped create the Charles Village Community Benefits District.
Thomas J. Shafer helped create the Charles Village Community Benefits District.(HANDOUT)

Thomas J. Shafer, former managing partner of Whitman Requardt & Associates LLP, died Tuesday from cancer at the Gilchrist Center in Columbia. The Ellicott City resident was 90.

Thomas Jacob Shafer, son of Jacob Shafer, an Anderson Oldsmobile auto mechanic, and his wife, Elizabeth Blase, a homemaker, was born in Baltimore and raised in the Wilhelm Park neighborhood of Southwest Baltimore.

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He was a 1948 graduate of Polytechnic Institute and earned his bachelor’s degree in 1952 in civil engineering from the Johns Hopkins University. He began his career at Whitman Requardt & Associates in 1952, then left and served as a lieutenant in the Army for a year before returning to the firm.

Mr. Shafer eventually rose to become managing partner of the Baltimore engineering firm, which was founded in 1915. Notable projects he was associated with during his tenure include projects in Joppatown, three villages in Columbia, Harborplace and the St. Charles Community in Charles County.

He was director of the South Charles Village Business Association during the time Whitman Requardt & Associates was located on St. Paul Street in lower Charles Village.

In December 1990, David Gordon, a 25-year-old engineer and Crofton resident who worked for the firm, was murdered by two teenage boys in the company’s parking lot at North Calvert and 24th streets.

As a result of the crime, Mr. Shafer, who as head of the businessman’s association was joined in his efforts by the Charles Village Civic Association and the Greater Homewood Community Association, pursued benefits district legislation in 1993 before the General Assembly, which eventually passed in 1994 and resulted in the creation of the Charles Village Community Benefits District.

He retired in 1997, but continued working as a land planning consultant until 2017, and served on the board of the St. Charles Development Co.

The former Edmondson Heights resident, who moved to Ellicott City, was a sports fan. He also enjoyed traveling and vacationing with his family in Ocean City.

He attended Bethany United Methodist Church in Ellicott City.

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His wife of 66 years, the former Maurie Fitzmaurice, who worked in guidance counseling at Edmondson High School, died in 2018.

Mr. Shafer is survived by three sons, Thomas J. Shafer Jr. of Fulton, Mark Shafer and Stephen Shafer, both of Ellicott City; a daughter, Susan Thyden of Westminster; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Because of the pandemic, plans for a memorial service are incomplete.

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