Harold Edmund Brandmaier
November 9, 1926 - April 11, 2022
Harrington Park, NJ
Harold E. Brandmaier passed away on April 11, 2022. He loved folk dancing, sundial design, family dinners with the kids and grandkids, feeding the fish in the fishpond, his wood-of-the-month collection and reading the NY Times over a good cup of coffee with Ginny, his wife of 70 years.
Hal admired smart, resourceful people. He loved his mom, Louise Wirth, monotype operator, who raised Harold in Hollis, NY after his father, Cornelius, a WWI veteran and automotive electrician, passed when Hal was 8. Hal married the love of his life, Ginny, after a chance encounter in college over a bowl of peanut butter soup. Being ever timely, he wrote in Ginny’s date book on September 8, 1951,“Time to get married 10:00 St. Pascal’s - Be There!”. Together, they had Neil (Joanne Fazio), Jeff (Muffie Guthrie), Patty (Mike LeFever) and Carol (Lee Monahan). He taught his children to use tools, star gaze, love art and books, and to be respectful and thankful. He loved his four smart, funny and beautiful granddaughters, Jillian Brandmaier, Grace and Katelyn Monahan and Liza Jean Brandmaier, and enjoyed their visits, sharing his newest sundial, feeding the fish and listening to their stories.
Hal’s credentials included 8th grade valedictorian, top 10% at Brooklyn Technical High School, Master of Science, a Mechanical Engineering degree from Columbia, and induction into the Tau Beta Pi and Sigma XI honor societies. Starting in 1953, Hal spent 3 years on active duty as Ensign (the oldest in the Navy) and Main Propulsion Division Officer aboard the Newport News which spend 3-4 months a year in the Mediterranean. His service was completed with a promotion to Lieutenant. During his ensuing career, Hal pursued new concepts: the development of a ground effect vehicle which rode on a cushion of air, nuclear power plants, and the thermodynamic properties of gases and liquids. He was awarded 2 patents, and attended the Apollo 11 Moon launch as NY section head of the NY American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Hal spent his career at Worthington Pump and Machinery, Curtiss Wright, RCA, Burns and Roe and Kulite.
Hal enjoyed making stained glass panels and lamps, ship models, woodworking, photography and travel. Hal led dances and set up music during Ginny’s 25 years of teaching folk dance. Hal and Ginny made beautiful music together, playing the hammered dulcimer and hand drums. Hal was a gnomonist, secretary, treasurer and contributor to the Compendium of the North American Sundial Society (NASS). He co-designed and installed working sundials for a Cooper Hewitt Museum and Smithsonian exhibits and co-designed and installed a permanent sundial for the Greater Newark Conservancy Environmental Center and installed a bronze Kate Pond sundial for 100th anniversary of the town of Demarest, NJ. Hal wrote two books, ”A Sundial for your Garden" in 1995 and "Sundial Design" in 2003. He loved Turkish food, octopus, thick sweaters, first edition books, craft fairs, Sean Connery’s James Bond, and home. He was a steadfast follower of instructions from coffee makers to watches — and each had to be read in full before used. Hal could be found cleaning the gutters well into his 80s.
Hal welcomed everyone with a big smile, a good story and a big wide open heart. He made sure his family knew he loved them through the day he died with his signature kiss on the hand, a big hug and an “I love you”. His family dedicates this sundial motto to him, author unknown,“Time passes by; Now Sun now shade in turn: Let it go by; Lo, Love is over all eternal.” There will be a family burial and a Celebration of Life be held at a time yet to be determined. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for a donation made in his memory be made to the Harrington Park Library.
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