William E. French, Jr.

October 30, 2020


William E. French, Jr., Age 85 of Laurel, MD passed away peacefully in his sleep in his long-time home on Friday, October 30, 2020 to be reunited in Jesus with his loved ones and many friends that went on before him.  

He was born on September 16, 1935 to William E. French, Sr. and Nadja M. French of Baltimore, MD.

William, known by his friends and colleagues as “Bill”, was a member of St. Mary of the Mills Catholic Church in Laurel since 1968, and a former church council member.  He and his wife of 60 years were devout Catholics, active in various prayer groups, including regularly praying the Rosary led by their friend Ray before the Sunday 7:30 mass with Father Keesler and daily with Mother Angelica through EWTN. He and his wife befriended the late Monsignor Keesler, whom they had much in common with having all grown up in Baltimore.  Bill and his wife Margaret enjoyed helping the elderly to church and other appointments, and regularly donated to various charities.

He was a devoted husband to his wife of 60 years, Margaret M. French, and a dedicated father to his five sons (John, Thomas, David, Scott and Joseph); He loved being with his five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

He grew up in Baltimore where he graduated from high school and went on to receive a college scholarship through a Westinghouse-Johns Hopkins work-study program for electrical engineering. He was enlisted in the United States Marine Corps where he completed recruit training and was placed in the USMC Reserves.  In a time when our country needed engineers, he was given a waiver to continue his college studies which he successfully completed, earning his electrical engineering degree. He went on to work in the defense industry’s private sector before transitioning to a government position at NAVSEA where he gained expertise in Radar Systems and Electronic Countermeasure (ECM) critical technologies.  He earned a Master’s Degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University night school while supporting his family.  He maintained his Professional Engineer certification throughout his career, and was a member of professional organizations, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).  After a long career with NAVSEA, he retired as an Assistant Director, but returned to the workforce when he joined the U.S. Customs & Border Protection agency, where he worked well into his 70’s before eventually retiring for health reasons and to spend more time with family.   

In addition to his devotion to God and family, and his service to his country as a long-time civil servant with the department of Navy, he was a man of many talents, with many hobbies.  In his younger years, he enjoyed physical fitness, judo, basketball, baseball, playing an acoustic-guitar, hiking, camping and fishing.  He was also a skilled handyman, performing many repairs and renovations to the family home, and would often tell stories about his own father who earned his living in construction work back in the days before power tools were common.  He enjoyed watching sports with family, particularly boxing, football, and baseball.  In his later years, he enjoyed cooking and baking and was an avid crossword puzzle enthusiast.  In his final years, he spent much of his time caring for his ailing wife Margaret and sister Joan.       

He is survived by his five sons, five grand-children, four great grandchildren, and his sister Joan French in Baltimore, who introduced him to her friend Margaret (who became his wife).

He was preceded in death by his mother, father, and his wife of 60 years, Margaret M. French.

Viewing was held at Donaldson Funeral home on Wednesday, November 4th from 5 to 7 PM, A Catholic funeral mass is scheduled at St Mary’s Catholic church in Laurel, MD on Monday, November 9th at 12:00 noon and Catholic burial at Lake View Memorial Park cemetery in Sykesville, MD.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be sent to St Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

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