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Cody Pfanstiehl, 90; Enthusiastic Spokesman of D.C. Transit Authority
But when a 7-year-old sneezed and lost his $1,800 braces through a street grate in July 1981, Mr. Pfanstiehl and a maintenance supervisor descended into the Farragut North station at 1 a.m. They climbed a ladder, squeezed past giant ventilation fans and searched through the muck below the grate until they found the boy's braces.
Cody Pfanstiehl was born in Highland Park, Ill. He attended the University of Chicago without ever registering. After he was discovered, he was hired to work in the university's public relations office.
He joined the Army Air Forces during World War II and was assigned to be an instructor in intelligence, based in South Carolina. He was discharged in 1944 and became a radio announcer, then worked in public relations in Chicago before taking a job in Washington writing for Air Affairs magazine and joining the press department of Warner Brothers theaters.
He became publicity manager of WTOP radio, then public relations manager of the old Washington Evening Star newspaper. He led publicity for the Community Chest charity before it became the United Way. In 1961, when President John F. Kennedy created the National Capital Transportation Agency, Mr. Pfanstiehl was appointed community service director. The agency soon became the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Mr. Pfanstiehl retired in 1982, a year after the Downtown Jaycees named him one of its Washingtonians of the Year.
His first wife, Margaret Vogel Pfanstiehl, died in 1981.
In 1983, he married Margaret Rockwell, who founded Metropolitan Washington Ear, the reading service for the blind, which prompted his children to say Washington's mouth married Washington's ear.
The second Mrs. Pfanstiehl invented Audio Description Services, which allow blind and low-vision people who wear radio-equipped headphones to hear descriptions of live performances they are attending. She called Mr. Pfanstiehl the co-founder of the effort, and the pair trained hundreds of people in the art, which is used by television stations, museums and the National Park Service.
In addition to his wife of Silver Spring, survivors include three children from his first marriage, Julie Hamre of Bethesda, Eliot Pfanstiehl of Silver Spring and Carla Knepper of Baltimore; a stepson, Justin Robert Rockwell of Silver Spring; nine grandchildren; and a great-grandson.