Ret. Air Force Col. Dennis V. Neill, 62, a former communications specialist for the Defense Department and the Communications Satellite Corp. (Comsat), died of cancer Sunday at his home in Arlington.
Col. Neill, a native of Fargo, N.D., grew up in Montana and entered the Army in 1940. He served with the Army Air Forces in Europe during World War II and later served in Air Force posts at the Pentagon and in Alaska. He was assistant deputy director of the Defense Communications Agency in Arlington when he retired from active duty in 1964.
Later that year he joined Comsat here, where he was a project manager for the launching of the first commercial communications satellite, Early Bird, in 1965.
As assistant vice president for operations, his position when he retired in 1978, he played a major role in the successful launching of more than 20 communications satellites from the Intelsat system, a global communications system.
Col. Neill receivewd an award from the National Aeronautical and Space Administration for his work on Apollo moon probes transmissions carried on the Intelsat network.
He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland.
He was a member of St. James Catholic Church in Falls Church and its prayer community. He also took part in the first Cursillo Movement-sponsored spiritual retreat in Virginia and later was a team leader of several retreats.
Col. Neill's wife of 32 years, the former Agnes L. Franey, died in 1977.
Survivors include his wife, Camille B., of Arlington; five sons, James W., also of Arlington, Michael D. and John H., both of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Timothy J., of Sacramento, and Thomas S., of San Francisco; two daughters, Patricia A. Pritchard of Concord, Calif., and Mary Diane, of Manila, the Philippines; five stepchildren, John S. Owens of Fairfax, and Christopher M., Christina A., Susan C., and Patricia L. Owens, all of Arlington; his mother, Elizabeth Mahoney of Belgrade, Mont.; two sisters, Holly Neill of New York City and Betty Harris of California, and two grandchildren.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions in his name to St. Francis Association for Catholic Evangelism, P.O. Box 8000, Steubenville, Ohio, 43952.