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Obituaries

Saturday, September 3, 2005

Blanche Hatfield GardnerTeacher

Blanche Hatfield Gardner, 86, a teacher, died of cardiac arrhythmia Aug. 25 at the Sunrise assisted living center in Silver Spring, where she lived.

Mrs. Gardner's linguistic ability and scholarly mind led her to teach German, Latin and the history of the English language at several area schools in the 1960s and 1970s, and to tutor students later in life. She and her husband had the Times of London air-mailed daily so that they could do the crossword puzzle, reputed to be the most difficult in the world.

She was born in Evanston, Ill., the youngest daughter of a Northwestern University professor. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1940 with a degree in German, and went on to receive a master's degree in German from the University of Wisconsin about 1942.

She moved to Washington and started working for the Army's Signal Intelligence Service at Arlington Hall. There she met and married another Wisconsin graduate, Meredith Knox Gardner, who went on to become a legendary code-breaker at the National Security Agency.

Mrs. Gardner resigned to start their family. They lived overseas for five years and then returned to the District, where Mrs. Gardner began teaching Latin, German and history of the English language at the Hawthorne School in Washington during the 1960s. She later taught at the Field School, and during the 1970s taught German at George Washington University. She never really retired; she tutored in German and Latin and she and her husband conducted a Latin class in their home until just a few years ago.

She was a member of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in the District, where she taught Sunday school for a time. She later became a regular attendant and volunteer at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Washington.

Her husband of 57 years died in 2002.

Survivors include two children, Arthur Hatfield Gardner of Brookfield, Wis., and Ann Gardner Martin of Annapolis; and 11 grandchildren.

Robert M. KochLimestone Institute Founder

Robert M. Koch, 91, founder of the National Limestone Institute and a former resident of Fairfax, died Aug. 27 of complications of stomach surgery at the Coral Springs Medical Center in Coral Springs, Fla.

Mr. Koch was born in Greenfield, Mass., and received his bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts in 1935. From 1935 to 1940, he worked as the county executive in Franklin County, Mass., administering the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service.

He moved to the Washington area in 1940 and until 1945 managed the USDA's Conservation Materials Program for nine northern states. Impatient with paperwork and government bureaucracy, he left government service and founded the National Agricultural Limestone Institute in 1945. Now part of the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association, the organization was the trade group for the nation's limestone producers. For 35 years, he lobbied for funding for the Agricultural Conservation Program, the Interstate Highway Program and other programs of interest to the limestone industry. He retired in 1981 and moved to Parkland, Fla., although he maintained a house in Fairfax.

Mr. Koch also served as executive director of the Committee on the World Food Crisis and organized two international conferences on world hunger. He was a member of the American Road Builders Association, the Capitol Hill Club and Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and a founding member of Graham Road United Methodist Church in Falls Church. He was a renowned flower gardener.

His wife, Helene Radowicz Koch, died in 2000.

Survivors include two children, Robert M. Koch Jr. of Concord, N.H., and Marilyn Gowing of Washington; and two grandchildren.

Harrison Brown AtkinsonBusiness Owner

Harrison Brown "H.B." Atkinson, 91, who sold merchandise to military exchanges for 53 years, died July 31 at his home in Vienna. He had Alzheimer's disease.

He was born in Crewe, Va., and joined the Civilian Conservation Corps after high school. He enlisted in the Navy during World War II and was honorably discharged in 1945.

Mr. Atkinson bought a car and trailer and started his career as a traveling merchandise salesman, preferring to be called a "peddler."

He soon branched out into military sales at post exchanges all over the world. He opened an office in the Bond Building in Washington, in Alexandria and then Vienna.

In 1958, he partnered with Charles J. Nackos and started the Atkinson Tile Co. in Vienna. He also was the founder of Atlantic Pacific Co., H.B. Sales and Vienna Properties Inc. He continued to work until 2001, when he became ill.

He was a member of Christian Fellowship Church in Ashburn.

His marriages to Ann Atkinson, Nancy Atkinson and Gretchen Atkinson ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 20 years, Shirley Atkinson of Vienna; two stepchildren, Kim Howell of Springfield and Gary Hodges of White Stone, Va.; and three grandchildren.

Brother Robert ConwayMaintenance Engineer

Brother Robert Conway, 87, a stationary engineer and head of maintenance at Silver Spring's Holy Trinity Mission Seminary for 30 years, died of a cerebral hemorrhage Aug. 31 at Holy Cross Hospital. He was an Adelphi resident.

Widely known as Brother Robert, he was a longtime Eucharistic minister at St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring and at nursing homes within the parish boundaries. He was devoted to the sick and elderly, often visiting nursing homes, transporting the handicapped and helping with clothing collection and housing needs.

He was born in Rochester, N.Y., and attended Canisius College in Buffalo and St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore. He graduated from Catholic University. He joined the Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity, a Catholic religious congregation in Silver Spring, in 1944 and took his final vows in 1948. In June 1991, he was named Brother of the Year by the National Assembly of Religious Brothers.

Survivors include a brother.

Homer W. Jones Jr.IRS Employee

Homer W. Jones Jr., 79, a retired statistician with the Internal Revenue Service and an amateur chess enthusiast, died Aug. 31 of respiratory failure at the Regents Park nursing home in Winter Park, Fla. He was a longtime resident of Alexandria.

Mr. Jones was born in New York City and grew up in Westfield, N.J.

He enlisted in the Navy during World War II but was discharged after contracting polio. He spent a period of convalescence in Warm Springs, Ga.

He received a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1947 and a master of science degree in 1950, both from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. He received a master's degree in business administration from American University in 1965.

From 1947 to 1951, he worked as a cost estimator for the company then known as Esso Research and Engineering in Linden, N.J. He joined the IRS in 1959 and retired in 1988 as a statistician with the agency's Statistics of Income Division.

Mr. Jones was an early member of the Washington Chess Divan, for many years the city's premier chess club, and served for several years as executive director, treasurer and newsletter editor of the D.C. Chess League. He also was one of the first national tournament directors in the Washington area.

He enjoyed playing speed chess and conducting simultaneous chess exhibitions, sometimes playing as many as 50 people at a time. He consistently was ranked as an "expert" player and achieved a "master" ranking by the U.S. Chess Federation.

A longtime member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, he served as treasurer, deacon and elder. He also was a recipient, along with his wife, of the 1995 Jefferson Award from the Alexandria Republican Party, and he was an honorary member of the Commonwealth Republican Women's Club.

His wife, Shirley D. Jones, died in 2003.

Survivors include two daughters, Laura S. Williams of Winter Park and Linda M. Jones of Forest Hills, Calif.; and two granddaughters.

Wanda Loyd NicholsonMilitary Spouse, Volunteer

Wanda Loyd "Windy" Nicholson, 80, an Air Force spouse and volunteer, died Aug. 30 at Capital Hospice in Arlington. She had cancer.

Mrs. Nicholson, an award-winning gardener and flower arranger, was past president of the Collingwood Garden Club in the Mount Vernon area of Alexandria. She initiated the project to landscape Stephen Foster Intermediate School, led Girl Scout troops and was a member of the Mount Vernon Genealogical Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, the Mount Vernon Ladies Association and the National Women's Symphony Organization.

She also served as a makeup artist for community theater groups in Alexandria. An avid golfer and past officer of the Andrews Air Force Base Women's Golf Association, she had two holes-in-one in tournament play.

Mrs. Nicholson was born in Kansas City, Mo., and raised in Union, Mo. She graduated from the Cadet Nursing Corps program at Washington University and Barnes Hospital in St. Louis.

She married and accompanied her husband to 23 homes over his 37-year military career, insisting that the adventure of making friends and seeing new places far outweighed the problems of moving her family. While in Hawaii, she initiated a well-baby clinic at Hickam Air Force Base and helped with the polio vaccine campaign at grade schools.

Mrs. Nicholson became a permanent resident of the Washington area in 1979.

She enjoyed music and dance and was a member of Messiah Lutheran Church in Alexandria.

Survivors include her husband of 58 years, retired Maj. Gen. William L. Nicholson III of Alexandria; three daughters, Linda Caraher of Indianapolis, Beverly Benda of Alexandria and Diedre Nicholson-Lamb of Springfield; and three grandsons.

Arthur Pleasant Sibold Jr.Navy Captain

Arthur Pleasant Sibold Jr., 85, a retired Navy captain who later worked for defense contractors, died of a stroke Aug. 28 at the Westminster at Lake Ridge retirement community in Lake Ridge, where he lived.

Capt. Sibold, a native of Chattanooga, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1942, a year early because of the accelerated classes during World War II. He was immediately sent to convoy patrol in the North Atlantic.

Later in the war, as gunnery officer of the destroyer USS Wainwright, he participated in the invasion of North Africa.

He also participated in anti-submarine patrols in the Atlantic and Mediterranean and in combat in Sicily, Palermo, Anzio and Salerno, all in Italy.

After the war, he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Subsequent assignments included the Charleston Naval Shipyard, special weapons at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque and the staff of the commander in chief of the Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor.

While serving at the Naval Underwater Sound Laboratory at Fort Trumbull in Connecticut, he designed and received a patent for the technology enabling submarines to deploy the "towed array." The importance of this technology was vividly portrayed in the 1990 movie "The Hunt for Red October," based on the novel by Tom Clancy. Capt. Sibold retired from the Navy in 1968 while serving at the Naval Ship Systems Command in Washington.

Among his awards was the Navy Commendation Medal.

Capt. Sibold worked for defense contractors SRC and RCA while designing the combat system for the Aegis weapons system. He retired a second time in 1981.

He enjoyed family, golf, woodworking and travel. As a Boy Scout leader, he developed a lifelong interest in promoting soil and water conservation.

Capt. Sibold lived in Alexandria from 1963 until he moved in 1993 to Westminster at Lake Ridge. He was a member of St. Rita's Catholic Church in Alexandria for 30 years and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Lake Ridge for 15 years. He was also a member of the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington.

Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Elizabeth Porter Sibold of Lake Ridge; six children, Arthur Sibold III of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Brian Sibold of San Diego, Ann Gordon Sibold of Falls Church, Stuart Sibold of Hollidaysburg, Pa., Katherine Sibold of Alexandria and Lucy McCrillis of Arlington; a sister; 14 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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