Sunday, February 1, 2009

Joseph A. Nahas Engineer

Joseph Anton Nahas, 78, an engineer at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory, died Jan. 1 at Johns Hopkins Neurology Center in Baltimore after a stroke. He lived in Maryland City, in Anne Arundel County.

Mr. Nahas worked for the ordnance laboratory for 37 years, specializing in the development of fuses and other systems in weapons, and helped develop explosives, sea mines and other weapons.

He was part of the group that investigated the explosion aboard the battleship Iowa in 1989 that killed 47 sailors. He worked closely with Navy Seals, and during one contract job in Vietnam during the war, his helicopter was shot down and he assisted in holding off the enemy until rescue arrived several hours later.

He was born in Braidwood, Ill., and joined the Marine Corps in 1948 at 18. He attended the heavy equipment school at Fort Belvoir, the only Marine in a class of 27. He fought in the Korean War and left active duty at the rank of staff sergeant in 1952. He remained in the reserve for many years.

He was treasurer of the Berwyn Rod and Gun Club in Bowie and the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, where his favorite sports were trap shooting and target shooting.

He coached his sons' youth baseball leagues, was a member of the Laurel Senior Friendship Club and helped build a regional senior center.

Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Betty Nahas, and two sons, Joseph Nahas Jr. and John Nahas, all of Maryland City; two foster sons, Steve Jewels of York, S.C., and Clyde Williams of Laurel.

-- Patricia Sullivan

Donald D. Gibson Humanities Endowment Official

Donald D. Gibson, 70, former acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, died Jan. 18 at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. He had internal bleeding from severe emphysema.

A former teacher, Mr. Gibson began working at the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1977. He directed the endowment's state programs and later its public programs that promoted the humanities to the public at museums and other venues.

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2009 The Washington Post Company