John Conrad "Red" Breiby Jr., 90, an architect who designed hospitals in Baghdad, a cigarette factory in Bangkok, and clinics on Indian reservations in the American West, but whose work on a slaughterhouse in Tehran turned him off red meat for the rest of his life, died of heart disease June 6.
His death came three days after moving to Capital Hospice in Washington. He lived for the past 13 years at Thomas House, a District retirement home.
Mr. Breiby thrived in the cosmopolitan world of architecture and entertained his friends and colleagues with funny, well-drawn cartoons, his wife said.
He was born in Palisade, N.J., and trained in art at the National Academy of Design and the Grand Central School of Art in New York City during the 1930s. He graduated from the Cornell University School of Architecture in 1943, then served with the U.S. Naval Reserve on a landing ship tank in the South Pacific.
After his discharge, Mr. Breiby was licensed to practice architecture in 1949, and worked in New York state until 1955. His overseas career began in 1956, when he worked in Rome as the chief architect for the New York architecture and engineering firm Litchfield, Whiting, Panero and Severud, the firm that later designed the infamous Abu Ghraib prison. In addition to his work in the Middle East, Mr. Breiby designed several projects in Europe.
"The slaughterhouse was such a terrible experience, he would never eat [red] meat again," said his wife of 62 years, Allison Walton Breiby. "It was just an awful place."
He returned to New York in 1961, settling in Poughkeepsie, where he designed some buildings at Marist College and the Dutchess County, N.Y., offices while working for another firm.
In 1965, Mr. Breiby took a job in Washington as the lead health facility architectural representative of the Office of Federal Engineering at the old Department of Health, Education and Welfare. It was in this position that he found himself on reservations in Alaska and in the Southwest and Western states, designing medical facilities for tribal members.
He retired in 1984 and resumed an early interest in watercolor and oil painting, taking classes at Anne Arundel Community College that also included printmaking and sculpture. His artwork was later exhibited in a number of one-man and group shows in the Annapolis and Washington areas.
Mr. Breiby and his wife lived in a 125-year-old farmhouse in Annapolis that he redesigned to take advantage of its view of Chesapeake Bay, which was only nine yards away. About 1990, he and his wife moved back to Washington.
Survivors, in addition to his wife, include a son, John C. Breiby of Wasilla, Alaska; a daughter, Lorna B. Foley of Washington; two grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.