Leonard Shapiro, analytical chemist

December 2, 2012

Leonard Shapiro, 94, a retired analytical chemist with the U.S. Geological Survey, died Nov. 20 at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney. He had congestive heart failure, his daughter Karen Shapiro said.

Leonard Shapiro was born in Brooklyn and came to the Washington area in 1936 to work for the federal government. In 1943, he received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from George Washington University. He served in an Army medical unit during World War II.

According to his family, Mr. Shapiro was called “Mr. Rapid Rock” at the Geological Survey for his improvements in rock analysis and received a presidential citation for his work. He also examined some of the early lunar rock samples returned by Apollo 11 . He retired in 1977.

He was a member of the American Chemical Society and participated in civil rights activities in the 1960s. He enjoyed painting and photography and other cultural pursuits.

His wife of 57 years, Nettie Sucher Shapiro, died in 2001. Survivors include three daughters, Linda Wertheim of Brookeville, Karen Shapiro of Rockville and Donna Haggerty of Columbia; and three grandchildren.

— Matt Schudel

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