Bill Bayne

William (Bill) N. Bayne, 89, passed away peacefully on April 17, 2020 at his residence in Chestertown, Maryland. Bill was comforted by his beloved wife of 63 years, Eleanor (Elly)(Cleland) and the compassionate and skilled caregivers at Heron Point.

Bill was a dedicated family man, a loving husband, wonderful father to daughters Susan and Cynthia, and son Bruce, and friend to many. He was the son of the late Louis M. and Elizabeth (Nicely) Bayne of Gladstone Manor, Lansdowne, PA and brother of the late Louis M. Bayne Jr. of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.

Raised in Lansdowne, PA, Bill was a proud graduate of Drexel University with Bachelor (’53) and Master’s (’59) degrees in mechanical engineering. He participated in the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) program during his undergraduate years and went on to serve his country as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

Bill’s 39-year Mechanical Engineer career spanned from 1955-1994 and was focused on design and management within the electromechanical field. He was influential with companies including Burroughs Corp., RCA, SWEDA, QYX, GE, and DXI. Involved with the early development and advancement of computers, his achievements included leading his team on the design of the first RCA single capstan computer tape drive; developing innovative laser scanners for SWEDA; and designed advanced mechanical subsystems of computer tape recorders with GE for use by NASA.

Bill and Elly made the decisive step to build a second home in 1966 in the Kentmore Park community along the beautiful Sassafras River on Shrewsbury Neck in Kent County, MD. There they raised the family among friends and through countless years of bucolic weekends and summer holidays feasting on crabs, fish caught by Bill (the “Fish-Whisperer”), and eastern shore harvests. Years later they turned the residence into their serene retirement home.

An active church member, Bill contributed to the Chestertown Presbyterian Church while Elly inspired many as part of the joyful Hand Bell Choir. Being an energetic participant in civic groups, Bill also used his talents as a skilled woodworker and carpenter to aid others via Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together and similar organizations.

One of Bill’s most enjoyable achievements in retirement was working with the tremendous crew of citizens and talented shipwrights who built the Schooner Sultana. After the launch of that amazing vessel in 2001, Bill spent years proudly serving as an occasional educator and volunteer docent to young students on the Sultana. He also helped to build the replica of Captain John Smith’s Shallop that was launched in 2005. Bill relished those productive days working with the crews and serving on the Sultana as it cruised the Chester River to reveal the vital history of Chestertown, watermen, sailing, and the importance and intertwined treasures of the Chesapeake Bay ecology.

Grave-side service will be delayed due to coronavirus but will be held at Shrewsbury Parish Church in Kennedyville, MD at a date to be announced. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Bill’s honor would be welcomed to any of the following: Sultana Education Foundation 200 S. Cross St., Chestertown, MD 21620, Presbyterian Church of Chestertown 905 Gateway Drive, Chestertown, MD 21620, or Drexel University College of Engineering, PO Box 8215, Philadelphia, PA 19101.

Arrangements by Fellows, Helfenbein & Newnam, P.A.