Joseph G. Cannata, DoD comptroller

Joseph G. Cannata, 88, who was a comptroller at the Defense Department for many years and who developed statistical methods for tabulating casualties during the Vietnam War, died Dec. 13 at his home in Cary, N.C.

He had a brain tumor, his son, Gene Cannata, said.

Mr. Cannata was an Army veteran of World War II and a tank instructor at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. After the war, he was a civilian employee for the U.S. Air Force in Colorado before coming to Washington in 1951 to work for the Air Force at the Pentagon.

He transferred to the Department of the Army in 1958 and became a comptroller in 1961. He later worked in the Directorate for Statistical Services of the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Mr. Cannata was instrumental in developing the South East Asia Casualty Report Generator and Tracking System, which provided an accurate body count of casualties during the war. The database system was later adopted by the Defense Department for other casualty reporting systems.

Mr. Cannata also developed computer-based statistical measures that were used for federal procurement programs. He retired in 1986 as a director of special projects.

Joseph Gene Cannata was born in Floral Park, N.Y. He attended Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., and later graduated from George Washington University. He received a master’s degree in mathematics from GWU in 1965.

He lived for many years in the Lake Barcroft community near Falls Church and was president of a homeowners association. He was also an American Legion post commander, a scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts and a member of a hunting and fishing club.

He moved to North Carolina in 2009.

Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Patricia Erskine Cannata of Cary; two children, Joanne E. Green of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and J. Gene Cannata Jr. of Cary; and six grandchildren.

— Matt Schudel

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