White Oak Laboratory Alumni Association, Inc.
Alumni Update Archive - 2006
Please inform Houston Cole of any information you have about deceased alumni: phone (410)
489-2977 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please check the WOLAA web site at www.wolaa.
org for more timely information than can be provided by a quarterly newsletter.
- John “Al” Alfred Ambrose. Al lived in Leisure World and died from complications of
heart failure in February 2006. He was 81. Al worked in Comptroller shop located in the
Arcade. He served in the air force in WWII and worked at NSWC for 45 years. He is
survived by his wife of 58 years, Cecilia; son Stephen; daughter Janet Hoey; and five
- Lester Melvin Leach. “Lefty” died on 12 May 2006. He is survived by his wife, Betty;
sons, Keith and Bryon; daughter Judy Danaher; and 6 grand children. He worked at
NSWC in the Magetics and Electrical Division, and then, as an electronics technician in the
vibration lab in Bldg 20.
- Larry Edgar Ware. Died at age 75 from complications of heart surgery on 13 May 2006.
Larry was a native of New Boston, MO and a 1954 graduate of the Naval Academy. He
served in the Navy for 6 years and attained the rank of LtCdr. He then began his long
career at NSWC as a tech writer. His avocations included golfing, boating, birding, and
ballroom dancing. He also was fluent in conversational Portuguese. He is survived by his
sons Chris and Tim; and 4 grand children. His wife, Ruth, died in 1975 and his daughter,
Mary Beth Dearing, died in 1992.
- Joel L. Stein. Joel died on 14 May 2006. He worked at NSWC in the Systems Analysis
Office of U Department on mine analysis and in the Warfare Analysis Office. He is survived
by his wife, Sandra; sons Steven and Robert; and a grandchild.
- Dr. Jagadish Sharma. Jag died after a long illness on 16 May 2006. He worked in the
Research Department. He was from India and knew many of the leaders of India as well as
the leading physicists of the golden age of Physics. He was a dedicated scientist and made
many contributions to the advancement of science.
- Bill King. Bill’s wife Mary called to inform WOLAA that Bill died in May at age 59 from
Parkinson Disease. They had moved to Maine after retirement to be care givers for Bill’s
parents. Bill worked in U Department on mine projects and was the SLMM Project
Manager. More information will be provided in the Fall LEAF.
- Frank Baltakis. WOLAA has been notified that Frank died of heart failure at age 80 in
March 2006. He was living in Lake Worth, FL. Frank was a mathematician and worked in
- Paul Charles Rand. Paul at age 89 died on 9 January 2006 of complications of a stroke
at Gardens Nursing Home at Riderwood. He was a civilian physicist at NOL for 39 years,
retiring in 1977, and was an active member of First Baptist Church of Silver Spring. Paul
was born in Vermont and received his bachelors and masters in physics from the U. of
Vermont. While at Vermont, he was a standout tennis player. He briefly taught physics
at JHU. During WW II, he came to NOL to test underwater acoustics to protect ships. His
grand daughter, Christine Gorham noted he was sent to a clandestine location on the
water to discover a way to safeguard ships and returned with an invention that was
implemented on every Navy ship. She said he never told anyone what was invented. Paul
was the manager and operator of Brighton Dam for many years; this facility was very
important in the R&D of acoustic sources and sensors. In retirement, Paul volunteered for
Meals on Wheels; was active in his church; enjoyed card games; and traveled with his first
wife to Squam Lake, NH, OC, and FL. His first wife of 51 years, Helen, died in 1994 and
his son, Charles, died in 2004. He is survived by his wife of 11 years, Ruth; daughter
Nancy Downing; 3 grand children and a great-grand daughter.
- John Nickolay Fredenia. John died on 20 January 2006. He lived in Rockville, MD. He
worked at NOL in Code 320 under Arnie Seigel and headed Code 321, the Ballistic Design
and Operations Division. His wife Shirley Marie is deceased. He is survived by Susan
Stanley; 2 grand children and 3 great-grand children.
- Armand D. “Mandy” Vasco. We were notified by Bill and Dorothy McCawley that Mandy
died on 20 January 2006 at age 83. He was living in the Calabash, NC area. He worked at
NOL in E341, Configuration and Data Management Section; he retired in 1984.
- Dr. Cabell Nicholas “Nick” Pryor, Jr. See tribute to Nick by Dr. Ed Whitman on page
1. Nick died at age 67 from cancer at his family home in Amherst, VA on 27 January
2006. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Becky; son Phillip and daughter Sharon; and
4 grand children. Nick was born in Washington DC and grew up in Hyattsville, graduating
from Northwestern HS. He received his BS and MS in EE in 1960 from MIT and PhD from
U of MD. Nick also attended the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business
School in 1980-81. His career with the Navy began as a MIT coop at NOL in 1957. He had
been a Division Head of the Electrical Systems Division in U Department for only a year
when he was selected at TD of NUSC in Newport RI in 1975. After retiring, he worked at
CNA and did a variety of consulting work which continued into late 2005. Nick was a
brilliant engineer and lead a group of talented people in U Department who did acoustics
and signal processing primarily for Air ASW. When NOL competed for the new light weight
torpedo R&D in the early 1970's (We proposed a medium weight torpedo.), Nick lead the
effort to design a new concept for active/passive homing, which was radically different and
improved over the system being used by the Mk 46 torpedo. Nick had many interests
which matched his motto, “Work hard then play hard.” He was an avid pilot, beginning as
a teenager, and owned his own airplane for a number of years, logging over 2000 hours.
His other interests included photography (His pictures of flowers were breathtaking and
showed his skill and patience in displaying the best of the beautiful bloom.), firearms,
reading, gourmet cooking, and wine making. He was active in family genealogy and had
written a book on the Pryor family. Nick and Becky also traveled extensively in the US and
- Pat Jones. Marge Buehler notified WOLAA that Pat died on 8 February 2006. She was
the wife of Richard E. Jones, who worked at NOL in the Magnetism and Met Division. They
had retired to Little River, SC.
- Dr. Sigmund Jacobs. Dr. Jacobs died on 26 February 2006. Dr. Ruth Doherty noted,
“Those who knew Sig knew him to be a true Renaissance man----experimentalist,
developer of unique diagnostic tools (Jacobs Camera), theoretician (J of the JCZ Equation
of State), lover of classical music and opera, and beloved spouse of his wife, Lillian. The
field of detonation science has surely lost one of its giants.” John Kelley noted, “Dr Jacobs
and Dr. Donna Price (both of NOL/WOL) were referred to as the Grand father and Grand
mother of Detonation Physics. It was through their efforts, as well as many others that
WOL was so highly respected as a Lab and Center for Navy Explosives and Explosive
- Information received from our recent mailing has given us brief information on seven
*Will ‘Bill” Burner died on 2/24/06. He worked in the Wind Tunnel and PW shops
*John Harnett died on 4/14/06. He worked in Code 780, Product Design Division
*John Garcia died on 5/11/06. He worked in Code 780, Product Design Division
*Amile Bishoff died on 8/8/06. He worked in Employees Relations.
*Charles “Russell” Jenkins died on 11/26/06. He worked in Code 760, Technical Shop
*Brenda Bennett died in 2006. She worked in Code S21, Supply Department
*Sylvester Chek died in 2006. He worked in Code 790, General Engineering Division.
*Jean Hooper. Ed Hooper provided, “Jean died on 30 April 2006 at age 80. She
worked at NOL in 1951, first in Wind Tunnel area then for Paul Martini. She was Miss NOL
in 1951. She was mother of five children and the grandmother of five. Her husband Ed
Hooper says she once called the White House and demanded that she get her husband
back from wherever he was. Ed had gone to Vietnam for the lab for what was supposed
to be three weeks but which turned out to be three months. Her call didn’t help!”
*Carroll C. Misener. His wife, Eunice, sent the following information. Carroll died on 24
May 2006 in Zephyrhills, Florida at age 96. He was born on 17 January 1910 in Orange,
MA. Carroll worked in Code 233, Chemical Engineering Division.
*Mirian Sherwin. Miriam Sherwin, 94, an educator who helped found St. John's
Episcopal School in Olney and an employee development specialist with the Navy, died
Oct. 26 of complications from a fractured hip at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, Calif.,
here she lived. Mrs. Sherwin, a resident of the Washington area for almost 70 years,
helped start the parish day school at St. John's, then served as its headmistress from
1960 to 1966. The next two years, she was headmistress at Holton-Arms School in
Bethesda. She had come to Washington in 1935 to work as an examiner with the Civil
Service Commission. Five years later, she married and resigned her job. She returned to
federal work in 1969 in the personnel management office of the Naval Surface Weapons
Center in White Oak. She retired in 1980.
She was born in Ettrick, Wis., and graduated from what was then known as La Crosse
State Teachers College. She served on the Montgomery County school board and
volunteered at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, the Sandy Spring Museum and the
Audubon Naturalist Society's Woodend Sanctuary in Chevy Chase. She enjoyed painting,
reading, bird-watching and caring for her pets. Her husband of 55 years, Robert W.
Sherwin, died in 1995. Survivors include two children, Robert W. Sherwin Jr. of Scotts
Valley, Calif., and Sara Sheets of Gallipolis, Ohio; two sisters, Clarice Rolfe of Rockville and
Tess Sherwin of Silver Spring; a brother, Kermit Fillner of Lovettsville; three grandchildren
and six great-grandchildren.
*Marcie J. Westermeyer. On 1 October 2006 at age 43, Marcie died from cancer. She
lived in Laurel, MD. She is survived by her husband Gary; daughters, Lauren and Katie;
sisters Beth, Margie and Cathy; and brother Al Cousens. Her husband Gary worked in
Public Works at WOL. Sister Margie worked in U Department. See the tribute to Marcie
*Dr. Charles Stevens Coffey. Steve died on 1 December of heart failure. A theoretical
physicist with degrees from MIT, Rutgers and University of Arizona, worked at Naval
Surface Warfare Center for 31 years. Lived in Clarksville, MD. Survived by wife
Frederica ("Rickie"); siblings Peter, Tim, Mary, Joanne, Helen, Brendan, and Harold;
children Matthew, Andrea, Janet and Ellen; their spouses Lynne, Chris, Brad and Marc,
respectively; grandchildren Carolena, Josephine, Nicholas and Koele. His friends at
Indian Head wrote: “We at Indian Head have lost a great scientist, co-worker and friend,
Dr. Steve Coffey, who passed away suddenly on Friday. Steve has worked with us for
more than 30 years. Through the years he has made outstanding contributions in
science pioneering the study of shear and its role in energy localization and explosive
initiation. He has helped in several research initiatives here at Indian Head with the
thermobaric ACTD, and also maintained international collaborations. He has been a
mentor to many, and has always been a friend to those who had the good fortune of
working with him. Our prayers are with his family.
*Eugene Harshaw. He died on 17 December 2006. He was a NARFE member of
chapter 1888 and WOLAA received news of his death from his NARFE Chapter. He
worked in Code 780, Product Design Division.
*Richard E. Ardinger, Sr. His wife, Joan, provided the following: "Dick passed away on
12 June 2006 at age 73 of complications from leukemia at Duke University Hospital. He
came to work at NOL after 4 years in the Marine Corps. Dick worked in the Technical
Shops Division as a supervisor in the Electronic Section. He lived in New Bern, NC and is
survived by his wife, Joan and daughter, Suzanne.
*Evelyn Marie Bean. Evelyn died on 21 June 2006. She was formerly from Silver Spring,
MD., but was living on Monrovia, MD. at the time of her death. She was a secretary at
WOL for many years and was secretary for G40 when Jack Wack was Division Head.
Evelyn is survived by 5 daughters, 12 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren and 1 great-
great-grandchild. Her daughters are Carlie Dozier; Patricia Boswell; Kathryn Norris; Karen
Zeigler and Janet Chirechella.
*Paul Surface. Paul died recently. About a year ago, his wife notified WOLAA that Paul
had Alzheimers. He worked in the Product Design Division.
*Edward Dayhoff. Ed died on 11 December 2006 and this was covered in the Winter
2007 LEAF. The Washington Post added the following on Dr. Dayhoff: Contributor to
Nobel-Winning Work on Atom. A Navy scientist who did pioneering work on the fine
structure of the hydrogen atom.
*Frank Hutches Pierce III. Frank died at age 75 on 24 December 2006 at his home of
complications due to bronchitis. He was born in Princess Ann, Mdm where he attended
the public schools and the historic Manokin Presbyterian Church. In college at Salisbury
State, he played the sax and fronted a band; he was also a night DJ on the local
radio station. After graduation, he served in the Navy and the Korean War. Frank began
working at NOL in the late 50's and also worked for the Office of the CNO. He worked as
operations manager and the U.S. Navy Liaison to two NATO groups. He retired in 1996.
Frank was an accomplished photographer with an interest in portrait photography
and photos of airplanes. As a writer, he published works on genealogy and history on the
Eastern shore. He wrote, “A Boy’s Eye View of World War II". Survivors include his wife
of 54 years, Nancy; son Frank Pierce IV; daughter, Marie Rundquist; and one grandson.
A tribute to Frank prepared by George Hamlin can be seen at this link.
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