William Smith Bean III
Air Force Officer
William Smith Bean III, 85, an Air Force lieutenant colonel, died May 8 at his home in Arlington after surgery for abdominal cancer.
Col. Bean was born in Spartanburg, S.C., and grew up in various locales around the country. He received bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering from what is now Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh before joining the Army Signal Corps during World War II. He served in the China-Burma theater.
He did graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before being recalled to active duty with the newly formed Air Force in the late 1940s. He served in classified communications operations during his Air Force career. He retired in 1968.
He held a civilian position with the Defense Communications Agency before working on communications technology with several Washington area defense contractors, including Telcom Inc. and Computer Sciences Corp., before retiring in the early 1980s.
He and his wife enjoyed traveling abroad and participated in the Experiment in International Living, a cultural exchange program with people from other countries.
In later years, Col. Bean became interested in genealogy and was a member of the National Genealogical Society. He was proud of his Scottish heritage and was a member of the St. Andrews Society of Washington. He could often be seen at gatherings in his MacBean tartan kilt.
Col. Bean had lived in Arlington since 1962. He sang in the choir at Calvary United Methodist Church in Arlington.
His wife of 52 years, Merry Slocum Bean, died in 1995.
Survivors include his companion, Donna Wegner of Fairfax County; four children, Carlisle Bean of Alexandria, Sarah McClintock of Baltimore, David Bean of Arlington, Mass., and Katherine Bean-Larson of Traverse City, Mich.; a brother; and five grandchildren.
Saunders B. Kramer
Saunders B. Kramer, 84, a scientist and engineer who worked on aerospace projects and on improving the efficiency of automobile engines, and was an authority on the Soviet space program, died May 30 at Washington Hospital Center after heart surgery. He lived in Montgomery Village.
Mr. Kramer, who was known as "Sandy," came to Washington in 1975 as a scientist with the Department of Energy, conducting research into designing automobile engines to reduce pollution and improve mechanical efficiency. He retired in 1992.
Earlier, from 1955 to 1971, he worked for Lockheed Corp. in Sunnyvale, Calif., on a variety of early aerospace projects. He was director of the first detailed study of a manned space station and an early space shuttle. In 1960, he received one of the first patents for a design of a space station.
At Lockheed, he was involved in several NASA studies of possible lunar and planetary exploration. He also helped conduct early studies on the submarine-launched Polaris missile.
From 1971 to 1975, he worked in Ann Arbor, Mich., with the Energy Research and Development Administration, a forerunner of the Energy Department.
For many years, Mr. Kramer collected and analyzed data on satellite and spacecraft launchings, developing considerable expertise in the Soviet space program. He served as a consultant to the U.S. military and other federal agencies.
He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and graduated from Brooklyn's Polytechnic University with a bachelor's degree in physics in 1951, and a master's degree in applied mathematics in 1952. He served in the Army during World War II and worked at Sperry Gyroscope Co., a New York defense contractor, before joining Lockheed.
He wrote dozens of technical papers on space exploration, delivered hundreds of lectures and, in 2003, published the book "The Hundred Billion New-Ruble Trip: A Russian Landing on Mars." He was also co-author of a children's book on the Discoverer satellite.
He was a contributing editor to Air & Space magazine, frequently had his letters published in aviation and aeronautics publications and was often quoted in newspaper and magazine stories about space travel and exploration.
He was a founding member of the American Astronautical Society, a fellow of the British Interplanetary Society and a member of the Planetary Society and National Space Society.
Survivors include his wife of 46 years, Elissa Kramer of Montgomery Village; two sons, Saunders B. Kramer Jr. of Silver Spring and Peter Kramer of Arlington; and a granddaughter.
Dawn Gilson Thompson
Church Member, Volunteer
Dawn Gilson Thompson, 81, a member of Potomac Presbyterian Church, where she did volunteer work in youth programs and sang in the choir, died May 31 at the Ingleside at Rock Creek nursing home in Washington after a heart attack.
Mrs. Thompson moved to Ingleside from Potomac in 1996.
A Chicago native, she spent her high school years in New Jersey and was a graduate of what is now Centenary College of New Jersey.
She accompanied her husband on his military assignments before settling in the Washington area about 1960. She did part-time work as a real estate agent and school photographer.
She was a member of the Montgomery County Art Association and a volunteer art teacher at Montgomery County retirement homes.
She was a member of the PEO Sisterhood, a philanthropic organization.
Her husband of 57 years, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Donald W. Thompson, died in 2000. A son, James R. Thompson, died in 1979.
Survivors include two daughters, Judith T. Raski of Boulder, Colo., and Karen Reese of Las Vegas; four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.