White Oak Laboratory Alumni Association, Inc.

Alumni Update Archive - 2008
Landing, Waldorf. He was born July 14, 1917, in New York and grew up on
Long Island with his twin sister, Frances. After graduating from high school in
1935, he took classes at New York University. Moving to the Washington, D.C.
area, he started a job as a draftsman at the Naval Gun Factory in Washington,
D.C., which later became the Naval Ordinance Laboratory in White Oak. After
living in the District area for several years, a friend set up a blind date with
Suzanne Shackelford and they soon fell in love. After getting married July 21,
1943, the couple made their home in Southeast D.C. Eventually the family
made their home in Silver Spring. Hal worked at NOL for 39 years before
retiring. He was known as a dedicated and conscientious employee. Starting his
career as junior draftsman in 1941, he eventually worked his way up to chief of
the special ordnance section, supervising 39 designers and draftsmen. His last
position was that of team leader of the general design team. While at NOL, he
received several awards, including the Superior Accomplishment Award (1959
and Harold Avrick.  Hal, 91, of Waldorf died Sept. 23, 2008, at Fenwick 1974)
and the Meritorious Civilian Award (1965 and 1969). In 1970, the
  • Avricks
    moved to the Waldorf area. It was around this time that they began attending
    a Bible study started by Grace Brethren Church. After a long illness, Suzanne
    died in May 1982. In January 1983, Harold found a new life-companion. Carol
    Clark had been a family friend for a long time and had been close to him and his
    late wife. They were married Jan. 1, 1983, and she has stood at his side these
    last 25 years. She brought three adult children of her own into the Avrick
    family. After retiring from NOL, he started a second career working at Beretta
    USA in Accokeek, where he worked for 18 years on a part-time basis as a
    draftman. After leaving Beretta, he helped his son, Michael, at his printing
    business, Allentown Press. It was not until close to his 91st birthday that he
    finally retired. He is survived by his second wife, Carol; children, Mary Ellen
    Crothers of Hughesville and Michael Stephen Avrick of Waldorf; eight
    grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. Memorial contributions may be
    made to the Hal Avrick Memorial Fund, Grace Brethren Church, 13000 Zekiah
    Drive, Waldorf, MD 20601.

  • Oliver M. “Buddy” Clark.  "Buddy" died(Age 86) On Saturday, September
    13, 2008, Oliver M. Clark, of Silver Spring, MD. Beloved husband of the
    late Dorothy V. Clark; father of Carol M. Andre; father-in-law of Ronald E.
    Andre; brother-in-law of Ann Clark and Elizabeth Doyle; grandfather of
    Karen L. (Darren C.) Ritter, Brian C. (Christine E.) Andre and Kristen M.
    Andre; great-grandfather of Jordan Chandler, Justin Clark and Jensen
    Christine Ritter; brother of the late Edward K. and Joseph C. Clark. Buddy
    was an avid golfer and a member of Argyle Country Club for 61 years.
    Memorial contributions may be made to Holy Cross Home Care & amp;
    Hospice, 11800 Tech Rd., Suite 240, Silver Spring, MD. 20904. Buddy
    worked at NOL for System Simulation Branch in U Department.

  • Rodney E. Grantham.   Rod, 87, of Bethesda, MD, died Friday, September
    26, 2008 at Suburban Hospital the result of a fall. Mr. Grantham was the
    loving husband of Jewel Grantham, married 65 years. He is also survived
    by his daughter, Linda Grantham Wright and sister, Dorothy Grantham
    Morgan. Mr. Grantham was preceded in death by their beloved daughter,
    Diane Grantham. He was also the loving uncle of numerous nieces,
    nephews, great nieces and great nephews. Mr. Grantham graduated from
    Purdue University with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. He
    served his country from 1942 to 1945 at the U.S. Naval Research
    Laboratory. After his military service, Mr. Grantham achieved a Masters
    degree in Physics from George Washington University. Mr. Grantham had
    a distinguished career beginning at the Bureau of Standards where he
    actively worked on the Atomic Clock. He then became employed at the
    Naval Ordinance Laboratory (NOL), later the Department of the Navy,
    Surface Weapons Center. While employed there he advanced to several
    management positions. Under his leadership, the laboratory was
    responsible for a number of inventions in fields ranging from
    magnetohydrodynamics to lasers resulting in thirteen (13) patents
    awarded with still more pending at his retirement. Mr. Grantham received
    several Meritorious Civilian Service Awards, of particular note, one award
    was for his project management of the Mk1 Arming and Fuzing Systems
    on the POLARIS. He was also presented the 1961 Award for Scientific
    Achievement from the Washington Academy of Sciences for this work. Mr.
    Grantham was instrumental in transferring the nuclear effects function to
    the Naval Surface Weapons Center resulting in the expansion of the
    laboratory to include several new buildings. Prior to his retirement in
    1976, Mr. Grantham was assigned to the Department of Defense
    Laboratory Utilization Study where he helped to define the future role of
    the Department of Defense Laboratories. Mr. Grantham enjoyed an active
    retirement in the company of his loving wife and family. He enjoyed sailing
    on the Bay and advancing his amateur photography hobby to a
    professional status. He was an early adopter of PC functions and
    everything electronic.

  • Dr. Al Tompa.  Dr. Tompa died on 2 November of cancer.  He was a staff
    member of the WOL Detachment at Indian Head (Energetic Materials
    Research, Code R10, under Dr. Kurt Mueller.), where he specialized in
    Thermal Analysis.  In later years, Dr. Tompa studied and became a
    Deacon of the Catholic Church.

  • Captain John C. Doherty.  Captain Doherty, 90, served in the Navy and
    his final active-duty assignment, in 1969 was deputy  commander of
    NOL.  He died on 23 November 2008 at the Falcons Landing retirement
    community in Sterling, VA.  Captain Doherty suffered from non-Hodgkin
    lymphoma.  He was a naval aviator in the Pacific during WWII and later
    developed an expertise in the testing and development of early guided
    missiles.  His assignments included commanding the Naval Missile Facility
    at Point Aruello, CA and the Naval air Station at South Weymouth, MA.  
    After his retirement, he spent 15 years with the Virginia Air Pollution
    Control Board and became Northern Virginia regional director before
    retiring in 1988.  John was a native of Dwight, Il, and a February 1941
    graduate of the U.S. Naval academy.  In the late 1940’s, he received a
    masters degree in aeronautical engineering.  His wife of 58 years, Jane,
    died in 2001.  He is survived by his son, John , and a grand daughter.

  • Leon James “Lee“ Lofthus. Lee died On Monday, November 17, 2008 after
    being taken ill in his home in Rockville, MD. His wife Janet was deceased.  
    He was father of Janet L. Sherry, Lee J. (Dawn) Lofthus and Elizabeth L.
    (Robert) Ahmed. Lee is survived by seven grandchildren and one great-
    grandchild. Memorial contributions may be made to Buffalo Bill Historical
    Center, 720 Sheridan Ave., Cody, WY 82414.   Lee worked at NOL in U
    Department.  His early career was as a mechanical engineer working on
    mines.  He joined the Mk 48 Project Office during its R&D phases.  He
    later became the Project Manager for the CAPTOR Project.  Lee was truly
    a gentleman.  He was an excellent project worker and manager.  His
    leadership was such that all wanted to do their best for Lee and the
    project.  After retirement, he was a faithful luncheon participant at the
    Golden Bull each month and with a small group of friends who also met
    monthly.  At his memorial service, his family and neighbors told memories
    of Lee’s strong conservative views and teaching a very young grandson
    to drive.

  • Bobby G. Curtis.  Bobby died at age 72 on 24 November 2008 from
    injuries received in an automobile accident in Upper Marlboro, MD.  He
    lived in Fairhaven for over 30 years.  Bobby was born in Sycamore
    Landing, TN.  In 1956, he enlisted in the U.S. Marines until his discharged
    from the reserves in 1962.  He worked at NOL in the Supply Department.  
    Bobby became a Contracting Officer in 1986 and retired in 1992 after 35
    years of service.  He was a member of Phoenix Rising; had interests in
    music; and was an accomplished stained glass artist.  He was preceded in
    death by his wife Sandra.  He is survived by sons, R. Bryan Curtis of
    LaPlata and Glenn Curtis of Fairhaven; his companion, Annemarie
    Thompson, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

  • Bessie Mae Williams.   See Tribute to Bessie in Supplement J, page S22

  • Ralph A. Alpher.  See Tribute to Ralph in Supplement K, page S23.  
    Alpher was a physicist at NOL.  While at GW, he published work on theory
    of “Big Bang.”  He died at age 86 on 12 august 2007.  His wife, Louise,
    died in 2004.  He is survived by his son, Victor Alpher, of Austin and
    daughter, Harriet Lebetkin, of Danbury, Conn; and two grandchildren.  
    Information on Ralph was provided by Gordon Riel.

  • Lou Helen Stickel.  Lou died several years ago of Parkinson’s disease.  Lou
    was the head of the typing pool at NOL in the 50’s-60’s.  Sylvia
    Humphrey provided this information.

  • George B. Greene.  George’s wife Barbara provided the following
    information, “My husband passed away on 5 November 2005.  He started
    working at NOL on 12 October 1939 and retired on 26 December 1980.  
    George then worked at NOL as a subcontractor until 1994.  During his 53
    years at NOL, he was a member of the Golf Club and Archery Club.  We
    participated in other activities at NOL including the Friday night movies.  
    George enjoyed working with fellow employees at NOL and looked forward
    to every day he was there.”  He worked in the Missile Dynamics Branch in
    Building 411.

  • Bob Ryswick.  We received word that Bob died in 2007; no other
    information is available.  Bob headed up a team in U42 which did all the
    minefield data re sensors and warhead effects for the Fleet.

  • Jim Russell   We received word that Jim died in 2007; no other
    information is available.  Jim worked in the Product Design Branch of E

  • Mary Collard.  Mary died at her home in January 2008.  She had retired
    from Carderock in February 2006.  She worked in security at WOL and
    Carderock.  Her daughter Linda works at Carderock.  No other information
    is available.

  • Warren D. Jones.  Warren passed away on 21 May 2008 after a long
    illness.  He had joined NOL in the early 60’s and worked in U Department
    on the SUBROC Adaption Kit.  “Jonesy “transferred to Goddard in 1964
    and worked in the Tracking and Data System organization.  Following
    retirement, he worked for Bendix on NASA contracts.

  • Anthony Yedinak.  Tony died at age 72 on 31 August 2008 from diabetes
    and heart disease.  He is survived by his wife Georgette; daughter Debbie
    Ridgely; son Anthony; and three grandchildren.  Tony worked for the
    Navy for 30 years, retiring from NSWC in 1994.  He was a technical writer
    working in E Department.  Tony had a love for people and passion for
    conversation.  He enjoyed helping people with advice and listening to
    others.  Tony had a multitude of friends.  He was very active in the St.
    Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Church in Urbana, MD.   His hobbies were
    attending flea markets, restoring antique furniture, woodworking,
    landscaping, and keeping up with current events.

  • Robert E. Booth.  Robert died on 27 August 2008 at age 69 of cancer at
    his home in Mt. Airy.  He was born in Baltimore.  In the 50’s and 60’s, he
    served in the Coast Guard Reserve.  His career began as a machinist for
    an aircraft manufactured and then he worked at NOL as a machinist.  He
    retired in 1996 as an industrial specialist for NAVAIR.  Robert was very
    active in the Masons.  He is survived by his wife, Emma; children, Linda
    McDaniel, Barbara Henney, and Timothy; and nine grandchildren.

  • Harold Avrick.  Hal died on 24 September 2008 at a care home in the
    Waldorf area.  He is survived by his wife Carol.  He worked at NOL in Code
    780, the Product Design Division. Hal was a co-founder of the E
    Department Holiday Luncheon for NOL retirees.  

  • Jack Wise.  WOLAA was notified that Jack died early in 2008.  No other
    information is available.  He worked in the Systems Evaluation Division of
    the Air and Surface Evaluation Department.

  • Richard S. McDaniel.  Harold Andrus notified WOLAA that Richard died in
    January 2008.  He was a marine guard at NOL.  He was married to
    Dorothy McAllister, who also worked at NOL.

  • Dr. Marvin S. Weinstein.  Bob Ridgway notified WOLAA that Dr. Weinstein
    died at age 80 on 8 March 2008.  He was born in Brooklyn, NY.  After
    serving in the Navy in WW II, he graduated from St. Louis University in
    1948 and then joined NOL.  He was an acoustician and worked in the
    Evaluation Department at NOL in the 200 area.  He received his PhD in
    physics from the U. of Maryland in 1956.  In 1959, he left NOL to form
    the successful company, Underwater Systems, Inc.  The company
    developed acoustic systems that determined the depth of underwater
    explosives.  He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Dorothy; children,
    Joseph Weinstein and Judy Balthazar; and a grandson.

  • Bruce D. Garber.  Jack Waters informed WOLAA that Bruce died at age 78
    on 10 March 2008.  He had lived in Hendersonville, NC since 2002.  Bruce
    had been married to Eleanor Garber.  He is survived by sons, Daniel and
    Darrien; and 3 grand children.  Bruce graduated from Virginia Tech with a
    BSEE and worked at JHU/APL for several years before joining NOL.  He
    worked on SUBROC and became the lead electrical engineer for SEAL
    weapons.  He retired in 1985 from NSWC and the worked for Vitro.

  • Anna K. Sery.  Bob Sery informed WOLAA that his wife died on 17 March
    2008.  He noted they would have celebrated 60 years of marriage in June
    of this year.  Bob worked in the NSWC Research Department.

  • Dr. Richard Roberts.  Jim Proctor notified WOLAA that Dr. Roberts died in
    April 2008.  Dr. Roberts headed the Math Department at NOL.  His son
    wrote WOLAA the following note: "Thank you for the expression of
    sympathy on the death of my father.  I am happy to learn that the
    WOLAA is keeping the memory of NOL alive.  My father enjoyed his work
    there and I have happy memories of the place myself.  When I was a child
    in the 1950's I saw them raise the flags out front many times when my
    mother dropped my father off for work.  I also recall attending several
    open house events.  I wonder if you have any information about Bob
    Wilson, who was my father's boss at NOL for several years.  My father
    had lost touch in recent years.  Best wishes.  David L. Roberts."

  • Samuel A. Humphrey.  His daughter, Beth Hoogland, sent WOLAA note
    indicating Sam died at age 81 on 7 April 2008.  He is survived by his wife,
    Peggy; daughters, Beth Hoogland and Penny Humphrey; and grand
    children; Lucie and Alex Hoogland.  Sam was the Project Manager of
    CAPTOR and was the U Department representative in CMWC, Charleston,
    SC.  See tribute in Summer LEAF

  • George P. Kalaf.  George's wife, Peggy, sent WOLAA an email indicating
    George died at age 79 on 19 April 2008.  A memorial service was held for
    George in Port Charlotte, FL on 17 May 2008.  He is survived by his wife,
    Peggy; sons: Nathan, Michael, Ken, and Stephen.  He had six
    grandchildren: Kris, Cameron, Graham, Stephen, Tara, and Amber.  
    George was a design engineer in U Department's Mechanical Systems
    Division; member of SUBROC's and Mk 48's Project Offices; Project
    Manager of Mk 48, including the successful effort to transfer the Mk 48
    Torpedo R&D to NUSC; and Head of the Mine Systems Division in U
    Department.  See tribute in Summer LEAF.

  • Marie Coker.  Marie McLean notified WOLAA that Marie Coker died at age
    104 in May 2008.  Ms Coker worked in NOL's Supply Small Purchase.

  • Betty L. Koubek.  Frank sent WOLAA a note informing that his wife Betty
    died on 23 May 2008 at age 90.  She is survived by her husband, Frank;
    step-children; Suzanne Probst, Kathleen Koubek, Jacqueline Lanier,
    Michele Appler, and Regina Koubek; and step-grand children: Mark Bacher
    and Jacob, David and Sam Appler.  Frank worked in the Research
    Department at NOL and has provided WOLAA many entertaining and
    technical oral histories of NOL.  He wrote the following: "As you can see
    from the enclosed obituary that my wife Betty passed away two weeks
    ago after a long battle with Parkinson's disease and a failing heart.  Betty
    was a wonderful loving wife and companion to me for 34 years and will be
    missed dearly not only by me but by her many friends and
    acquaintances.  Is been said that the room always lit up when she entered

  • John V. "Jack" Clark.  George Hamlin informed WOLAA that Jack died at
    age 83 on 11 June 2008 at Kline Hospice House in Mount Airy. He had
    lived in Sandy Spring while at NOL, moving to Milton, Delaware upon his
    retirement in 1978 to concentrate on gardening, fishing, and refinishing
    furniture.  He had been a member, President, and Assistant Chief of the
    Sandy Spring VFD and joined the Milton VFD upon moving to Delaware.
    He was also a member of the American Legion in Milton. Jack was born in
    Takoma Park, son of the late John A. and Arlene West Clark. He served in
    the Navy in World War II, and as an English major and a certified
    ordnance mechanic, gravitated toward technical writing after discharge. He
    joined NOL in the 1950s and became head of one of the four writing
    sections (specializing in mine manuals) in Publications, then Code HR.
    Upon the retirement of Lee Shimberg, he advanced to head the
    Publications Division (later Branch) at White Oak; after the merger and
    reorganization of the Engineering Department Center wide, he was named
    head of the combined Publications Division for both laboratories. He was
    also a writing instructor on the outside during his time at White Oak. The
    whole time he wore his trademark crew cut, whether it happened to be in
    fashion at the time or not.  Jack made a sincere effort to "centerize" the
    Publications Division, introducing a technical manuals capability to the
    Dahlgren Branch and strengthening the White Oak Branch's TR and TN
    activities. He is survived by his wife, Rosemary Clark; four children, John
    G. Clark of Shrewsbury, Pa., Kathy Drury of Monrovia, Susan Yeilding of
    Mukilteo, Wash. and Jode McLaughlin of Phoenix, Ariz.; 11 grandchildren;
    and six great-grandchildren.  
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