Irving W. Lindenblad, astronomer, minister

Irving W. Lindenblad, 82, an astronomer who retired from the U.S. Naval Observatory and who also served as a clergyman, died Nov. 11 at Sibley Memorial Hospital in the District. He was a Washington resident.

He died of metastasized kidney cancer, said his son Nils Lindenblad.

Rev. Lindenblad worked at the U.S. Naval Observatory from 1957 to 1989. He managed the observation program for sunspots — dark spots on the surface of the sun caused by intense magnetic activity.

He also observed and published research on double stars — two stars either orbiting around a common center of mass or two stars appearing close together in the sky as seen from Earth. This research included photographic observations of the Sirius Star System, which resulted in his election to the Royal Astronomical Society.

Irving Werner Lindenblad was a native of Port Jefferson, N.Y., and served in the Army during the Korean War. He was a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.

He received a master’s degree in religion at George Washington University and a master’s degree in divinity at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School in Rochester, N.Y. He did post-graduate study in theology at Harvard University.

He was ordained to the American Baptist ministry and served American Baptist ministries and congregational pastorates in New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

After retiring as an astronomer, Rev. Lindenblad took clinical pastoral training in the shock trauma unit of the Washington Hospital Center. He did chaplaincy work there and at Inova Alexandria Hospital.

He was also associate pastor at Palisades Community Church in Washington, assisting with preaching and pastoral care. In February, Palisades Church gave him the title of pastor emeritus.

His first wife, Ann Terry Lindenblad, died in 1993 after 34 years of marriage. His second wife, Jo Nichols Waters, died in 2010 after 16 years of marriage.

Survivors include two sons from his first marriage, Irving Lindenblad Jr. of Arlington County and Nils Lindenblad of Springfield; two stepsons, William Waters of Hayesville, N.C., and Richard Waters of Boise, Idaho; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

— Bart Barnes

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