John Dorman 'Jack' Rust Jr.

Health and Human Services Official

John Dorman "Jack" Rust Jr., 78, a retired official of the Department of Health and Human Services who helped run a genetic disease awareness and services program, died May 26 at the Manor Care Nursing Home in Bethesda. He had diabetes.

Mr. Rust, a former biologist and researcher, worked in the Genetic Diseases Services Branch of HHS as deputy director of the Genetic Diseases Program. It was a position he held for about six years until his retirement from civil service in 1984.

Earlier, he was a public health analyst at HHS, executive secretary for a review panel on new drug regulation and acting administrative officer for the director of the division of health maintenance organizations.

He worked at HHS and its predecessor agency for 30 years. His many professional honors included the HHS Administrator's Award in 1983.

Mr. Rust, who lived in Bethesda, was a native of Baltimore. He patrolled the city's harbor as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard at the end of World War II and served in the Marine Corps for about a year until 1947.

Afterward, he graduated from the University of Maryland, where he also received a master's degree in marine biology.

In 1953, he began working at the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Dental Research as a researcher studying dental caries in mice. A few years later, he became a researcher at the National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases examining traumatic shock and problems of infections following burn injury.

After a brief tenure as a fishery research biologist for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, he returned to NIH and held a series of administrative posts there and with agencies of what was then the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

His varied interests included photography, woodworking, bird watching, playing the harmonica and operating a ham radio.

Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Jean Wheeler Rust, and their two daughters, Barbara Rust and Mary Rust, all of Bethesda; and a sister.