Michael R. Amann, metallurgist and Dundalk activist, dies

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Michael Robert Amann, a Bethlehem Steel metallurgist and Dundalk activist who headed the Baltimore County Public Library’s board, died of stroke complications Jan. 17 at Gilchrist Center Towson. He was 83.

Born in Baltimore, he was the son of Clarence “Lefty” Amann, a Bethlehem Steel roll shop superintendent, and Evelyn McHale, a homemaker.

He lived with his family on Woodley Road in Dundalk and attended the old St. Rita’s School. He was a 1958 graduate of Loyola Blakefield in Towson, where he was yearbook editor and illustrator.

Mr. Amann often spoke of the 20 miles he traveled each way to Loyola on streetcars and buses.

He received a bachelor’s degree from what is now Loyola University Maryland and a mechanical engineering degree from the Johns Hopkins University. He was also yearbook editor at Loyola.

While attending a Mount Saint Agnes College mixer, he met his future wife, Luisa Masucci. Their first date was to a film, and they married in 1964.

Mr. Amann initially worked for a research laboratory before joining Bethlehem Steel in 1964 as a technical trainee. His father and both grandfathers worked at the Sparrows Point steel mill.

In 1990, Mr. Amann became a specialist in tin can production. He worked with food processors, including Heinz and Campbell Soup Co., on packaging for their products.

“My husband made friends easily and was generous with his time in the community,” said his wife, Luisa. “He had a good sense of humor and people seemed to be attracted to him.”

After his 2008 retirement, Mr. Amann was a metallurgical consultant for Severstal Steel, RG Steel, and for the past 11 years, Quaker Houghton.

He was a recent chair of the Association for Iron and Steel Technology who received numerous awards for his service to the steel industry.

He was active in the Dundalk Jaycees and helped organize the first Dundalk Heritage Fair for the United States’ 1976 bicentennial.

In 1978 he was named to represent Baltimore County on the Maryland Democratic State Central Committee.

He was the first president and a longtime board member of the Dundalk Community Theatre.

His wife said Mr. Amann became involved with the theater when his daughter performed in its youth program.

“Michael was an amazing community member,” said Thomas V. Colonna, former artistic director of Dundalk Community Theatre. “He was responsible for getting the theater going and building its financial backing. He got the politicians behind us too.”

“When we opened the new theater in 1981, he appeared onstage as a member of the chorus in ‘The Music Man,'” Mr. Colonna said.

He was a past president of the Baltimore County Public Library board of trustees. In 1989 he helped set up the charitable foundation for the library system.

“My husband joined the library board after a neighbor wanted to retire from it,” his wife said. “The foundation they established allowed the library to get a bookmobile and do extra programming at Rosedale and Reisterstown.”

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Mr. Amann played acoustic guitar and the dulcimer. He was also involved in martial arts.

“My husband was a gardener and filled our yard with pots,” his wife said. “He got to know people who were walking by our home.”

Services were held Jan. 27 at the Duda-Ruck Funeral Home.

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Luisa Masucci Amann, a teacher and community activist; a son, Robert M. “Rob” Amann, of Baltimore; a daughter, Elizabeth Anne Hall of Arlington, Virginia; and three grandchildren.