Ferdinand W. "Ferd" Germershausen Sr., longtime owner of a Federal Hill automobile repair shop and a World War II veteran, died Saturday of unknown causes at his Pasadena home. He was 91.
"I picked him up for work Friday morning, took him home later in the day, and gave him his dinner. He passed away in his sleep Saturday morning," said a son, Christopher Germershausen of Pasadena, who began working alongside his father 35 years ago and now operates the business.
The son of a mechanic and a homemaker, Ferdinand William Germershausen Sr. was born and raised in the 1200 block of Riverside Ave. and also in a home on Warren Avenue.
He was a 1940 graduate of Polytechnic Institute and enlisted in the Army Air Forces during World War II. He was trained as a tail gunner and flew aboard Boeing B-29 Superfortresses in the Pacific. He was also an aerial photographic laboratory technician assigned to the 20th Reconnaissance Squadron.
At the end of the war, Mr. Germershausen, who attained the rank of staff sergeant, returned to Baltimore. He designed tools for several years for a machine tool company before opening Federal Motors in the 1000 block of Covington St. in Federal Hill in 1949.
As a youngster, Mr. Germershausen learned mechanics from his father, who owned and operated a gas station at Riverside Avenue and Grindall Street.
For the last 64 years, Mr. Germershausen has worked from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. five days a week repairing cars.
"We have been taking our cars to Ferd and his shop since 1986 — even after we moved to Anne Arundel County — because Ferd and Chris are so honest, forthright, reliable and excellent at what they do, so we never even thought to change mechanics," said Ann Lolordo, a Crownsville resident.
"We have friends who bring their car to the South Baltimore shop even though they live in Takoma Park," said Ms. Lolordo. "The shop is always super busy because a good, honest car mechanic is hard to find."
Mr. Germershausen's wife of 55 years, the former Leona Beksinskii, handled the business side of the repair shop. She died in 2007.
For the last 46 years, Mr. Germershausen lived in a home overlooking Bodkin Creek, where he enjoyed fishing and boating.
Mr. Germershausen was a communicant of St. Jane Frances de Chantal Church, 8499 Virginia Ave., where a Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.
In addition to his son, Mr. Germershausen is survived by two other sons, Ferdinand W. Germershausen Jr. of Pasadena and Kenneth J. Germershausen of Henderson; three daughters, Deborah Coleman and Anita Peck, both of Pasadena, and Barbara Crocker of Kent Island; a sister, Sister Joseph Marie Germershausen of Mendham, N.J.; and 15 grandchildren.