G. Norman Lauben, nuclear engineer

June 24, 2013

G. Norman Lauben, a nuclear engineer who retired in 2007 from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, died June 13 at his home in Silver Spring. He was 78.

The cause was congestive heart failure, his daughter Lisa Sohn said.

Mr. Lauben did engineering work for Rocketdyne in Canoga Park, Calif., before settling in the Washington area in 1968 to work for the old Atomic Energy Commission.

After the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Pennsylvania in 1979, he was among the first Nuclear Regulatory Commission engineers dispatched to monitor control room operations, his family said. He was a recipient of an NRC Meritorious Service Award.

George Norman Lauben was a Chicago native. He was a 1957 graduate of what is now Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, where he also received a master’s degree in chemical engineering in 1959.

He was a member of Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda and did volunteer work for Habitat for Humanity. In the 1980s, he participated in 24-hour dance marathons to raise money for the Special Olympics.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Sally Nash Lauben of Silver Spring; three children, David Lauben of Albuquerque, Lisa Sohn of Springfield and Gary Lauben of Redding, Calif.; a brother; a sister; five grandchildren; and two great-granddaughters.

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Adam Bernstein has spent his career putting the "post" in Washington Post, first as an obituary writer and then as editor. The American Society of Newspaper Editors recognized Bernstein’s ability to exhume “the small details and anecdotes that get at the essence of the person” and to write stories that are “complex yet stylish.”