Tributes & Stories

 

Obituary (MD): William Bruce Shoemaker '61

Posted on 05/17/2018

William Bruce Shoemaker Jr. died at his home in Annapolis, Maryland, on May 6th, 2018. He was 79 years old. Known affectionately as "Mo" and "Pop Shoe," Bill died with his much loved wife, Barbara, and his family together at his side.

Bill was born on January 20, 1939 in Baltimore, Maryland, to Bruce and Martha Shoemaker. After living briefly in Los Angeles, California, and Reading, Pennsylvania, he grew up in the Loch Raven Village area of Baltimore.

A member of the United States Naval Academy Class of 1961, he served on U.S. 6th Fleet destroyers USS Gainard and USS Robert H. McCard, first as the fire control officer, then as anti-submarine officer and finally as engineering officer, his favorite job. Fifty years later, a former shipmate described him this way – "I don't know of any officer as much admired by officer and enlisted ranks alike as Bill."

In 1965, he began studies at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and graduated with a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering. From there he was assigned as an instructor at the Naval Academy, teaching weapons systems for two years.

For the next thirty-six years, Bill built a career as a highly regarded radar engineer, first as a naval officer, then as a civil servant and finally in a career with several defense contractors.

Bill Shoemaker was an active member of Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Annapolis for fifty years, serving as a deacon, Sunday school teacher and usher. After his retirement in 2006, he volunteered as a helper in the Busy Bees Ministry, which provided childcare for preschoolers of moms attending Tuesday Bible studies. Known as "Mr. Bill" to the children, he gained a reputation for calming cranky toddlers and making friends with the shyest children.

Bill is survived by his wife of fifty-one years, Barbara; son David (wife Sarah) of Cypress, Texas; son Jonathan (wife Perry) of Vienna, Virginia; daughter Julia (husband Patrick Connelly) of Clinton, Mississippi; and eleven beloved grandchildren, Caleb, Joelle, Jada, Ethan, Seth, Abigail, Rachel, Amelia, Sam, Eli and Ezra. In addition, he leaves two younger brothers, David Shoemaker (wife Rhonda) of Lake Worth, Florida, and Thomas Shoemaker (wife Susan) of Ellicott City, Maryland, as well as many nieces and nephews.

Memorial Services will be held at EP Church of Annapolis at a later date. Interment at the United States Naval Academy Columbarium will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mercy Fund of EP Church, or to Hospice of the Chesapeake.

Evangelical Presbyterian Chr
710 Ridgely Ave
Annapolis, MD 21401

Published in The Capital Gazette on May 14, 2018