Obituaries: Daniel W. Dembrow, Donald R. Gochnour, Darlene A. Ahalt, Julio Luna

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Daniel W. Dembrow NASA Rocket Scientist

Daniel W. Dembrow, 89, a retired NASA scientist who did key design work on rocket engines used on launch vehicles for spacecraft, died Jan. 5 at his home in Silver Spring. He had Alzheimer's disease.

Mr. Dembrow worked in rocket development and space technology at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory before joining NASA in 1960. About that time, he served as head of Goddard Space Flight Center's signal processing section, where he developed high-speed data-processing equipment to interpret telemetry signals from spacecraft.

Before retiring from NASA in 1984, Mr. Dembrow was a liaison between the space agency and private contractors working on rocket engines. He later spent 10 years as a private aerospace consultant.

Daniel William Dembrow was born in Cleveland and completed high school in Hartford, Conn. He was a 1942 chemistry graduate of George Washington University, where he also received a master's degree in chemistry. He did postgraduate work in chemical engineering and philosophy at Johns Hopkins University.

During World War II, he served at a Navy facility in Indian Head and then for the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in West Virginia.

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Catherine Carder Dembrow of Silver Spring; five sons, former Maryland delegate Dana Dembrow (D-Montgomery) of Gamber, Md., Dale Dembrow of Damascus, Donald Dembrow of St. Leonard, David Dembrow of Sterling and Daren Dembrow of Silver Spring; a brother; and nine grandchildren.

-- Adam Bernstein

Donald R. Gochnour FBI special agent

Donald R. Gochnour, 88, an FBI special agent who retired in 1976, died Jan. 2 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda. He had been driving in Rockville when he suffered a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm and was taken to the hospital.

Mr. Gochnour joined the FBI as a clerk in the identification division. He worked for the FBI in Knoxville, Tenn., Seattle and Houston before settling in the Washington area in 1956.

Donald Ray Gochnour was born in Burley, Idaho, and raised in Everett, Pa. He was a 1941 education graduate of what is now West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He was in the Navy during World War II and participated in the Normandy invasion before serving in the Pacific toward the end of the war. He was a member of Woodside United Methodist Church in Silver Spring, where he was a past chairman of the grounds and garden committee.

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