The Rev. Francis J. Heyden, S.J., 83, a retired director of the astronomical observatory at Georgetown University and an authority on solar eclipses, died of heart ailments Feb. 8 at Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital in Manila.
Father Heyden joined the faculty of Georgetown in 1944 to teach astronomy. He was named director of the Georgetown observatory in 1948, and he served in that position until 1971.
The observatory is a National Historical Landmark, and in 1987 it was renamed in Father Heyden's honor.
Since his retirement from Georgetown, Father Heyden had been a professorial lecturer in physics at the Ataneo de Manila, a Jesuit college in Manila.
A native of Buffalo, he became a novice of the Society of Jesus in 1924 at St. Andrew-on-the-Hudson at Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He graduated from Woodstock (Md.) College, and he was ordained a priest in 1937.
In the early 1930s, he taught physics at the University of Manila and headed its astronomical observatory. He later received master's and doctoral degrees in astronomy from Harvard University, where he also taught from 1942 to 1944. He then began his career at Georgetown.
In 1945, Father Heyden returned to Manila en route to China to observe a solar eclipse. While in the Philippine capital, he did a report of wartime damage to Jesuit facilities for submission to war claims authorities.
He was an adviser to the Air Force on solar eclipse expeditions to Brazil, Iran, the Sudan and elsewhere in Africa intermittently from 1947 to 1963. As a leader of these expeditions, he found himself entirely occupied by choosing sites and training personnel to record observations, and this led to certain professional frustrations, he told an interviewer in 1965.
"The only problem with that was, I never got to see the eclipses," he said. "The only total eclipse I enjoyed as a spectator was in 1925. During the others I was always running around like mad."
Father Heyden also was noted for his observations of Mars, Jupiter and Venus. He and two other Georgetown scientists reported evidence of poisonous gases on all three, thus diminishing the possibility that those planets could support life.
But he used to say that no discovery in his field would surprise him. In a chapter he wrote for a book called "Space: Its Impact on Man and Society," he declared:
"Both as a scientist and a clergyman, I find nothing to fear from the scientific discoveries that have led to our exploration of outer space or that may result from it. History has shown that such fears are themselves a danger and, if indulged, may hinder both the spiritual as well as the material advancement of mankind."
Summarizing his views for the interviewer, he said, "I'm one of those who believe God is infinite."
Father Heyden's honors included a doctorate from Georgetown.
He leaves no immediate survivors.
ELEANOR DONALD MALMBORG
Eleanor Donald Malmborg, 60, a retired educational administrator, was killed Feb. 13 when she plunged from a building at the Van Ness apartment complex in Northwest Washington. Police said yesterday that her death had been ruled a suicide.
Mrs. Malmborg, who lived in Washington, was a native of New York City and a graduate of Wells College. She had a master's degree and doctorate in education from Columbia University.
After moving here in 1960, she worked at the National Education Association as a research assistant. From 1962 to 1969, she was a staff associate for education at the American Association of University Women. Until 1974, she was a program coordinator and then national activities director at the National Retired Teachers Association.
She worked as a part-time registrar at the National Graduate University in Arlington from 1976 to 1978.
Mrs. Malmborg was a member of the board of managers of the Virginia Scottish Games Association and served on the Altar Guild of St. Thomas' Epicopal Parish in Washington. She had served as president and as an officer of the Crestwood Neighborhood Association, belonged to the League of Women Voters, and was active in D.C. Citizens for Better Public Education.
She is survived by her husband, Knute Eugene Malmborg of Washington.