Basil Charles Puher


Basil Charles Puher, 85, an Adelphi resident and a brick mason and stonemason who worked on some of the most notable buildings in the Washington area, died of renal failure July 22 at Somerford Place, an assisted living facility in Annapolis. He had had dementia since undergoing brain surgery in 2003.

Mr. Puher, known as Charles, was born in Buckner, Ill. In the late 1930s, he served in the Civilian Conservation Corps, where he helped build roads and lay storm drains and learned to be a bricklayer and stonemason. He received his high school equivalency diploma after enlisting in the Army in 1942.

He served in Europe during World War II, and his decorations included three awards of the Bronze Star. Wounded on three occasions, he refused all but one of the Purple Hearts he was eligible to receive. At the Battle of the Bulge, during one of the coldest winters in memory, his multiple layers of clothing stopped a bullet inches from his heart.

He settled in the Washington area around 1950. A 58-year member of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers local No. 1 in Washington, he did work on the Washington National Cathedral, Smithsonian Institution buildings and the chapel at the University of Maryland, among others.

He retired in 1976, but the federal government asked him to come back to work as a stonemason on Smithsonian renovations. Helping restore buildings he had first worked on decades earlier, he was able to match color, mortar and sand from the earlier work. He was a specialist on such intricate work as brick window archways. He retired again in 1989 as precast concrete threatened to make the stonemason's craft obsolete.

In retirement, Mr. Puher joined the Loyal Order of Moose in College Park. He also enjoyed shooting pool and recounting stories with friends at the College Park chapter of the American Legion.

His wife, Veronica Firda Puher, died in 2004.

Survivors include five children, David Charles Puher of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., Mark John Puher of Medford, N.J., Laura A. Guido of California, Md., Christopher Michael Puher of Memphis and Paul George Puher of Davidsonville; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Donald P. Chaney

Printer, Real Estate Agent

Donald P. Chaney, 61, who worked as a printer and real estate agent, died July 26 of pulmonary fibrosis at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. He lived in Rockville.

Mr. Chaney was born in Washington and graduated from Archbishop Carroll High School. He also attended the University of Maryland at College Park.

He served in the Air Force in the late 1960s and subsequently worked for a variety of printing companies in the Washington area for the next 35 years. Among other employers, he worked for Holiday-Tyler Printing in Rockville and for Craftsman Press in Cheverly. In recent years, he was a freelance printer and color-control coordinator for magazines and for publications of the University of Maryland.

Mr. Chaney also was a licensed real estate agent and had worked for several years with Weichert Realtors in Rockville.

He enjoyed traveling throughout the United States and Europe and often attended baseball spring training games in Florida.

His marriage to Linda L. Chaney ended in divorce.

Survivors include two children, Timothy Chaney of Tampa and Jennifer Chaney of Bethesda; his fiancee, Brenda Patterson of Rockville; his father, Clarence A. Chaney Sr. of Vero Beach, Fla.; a brother, Clarence A. Chaney Jr. of New Market; a sister, Gail Schrimpf of Jefferson City, Mo.; and one grandson.

Sheng Yen Lee


Sheng Yen Lee, 82, a retired polymer chemist with NASA, died July 20 at his home at Leisure World in Silver Spring after a heart attack.

Dr. Lee was born in Xinyang, China, in Henan province and was a homeless student in Sichuan province during World War II. He received his undergraduate degree in chemistry in 1946 in China. Three years later, he became a resident of Taiwan.

He was a chemical engineer in Taiwan before coming to the United States in 1959 as a Fulbright Scholar. He completed his doctorate in chemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1964 and then worked as a chemist for the Polymer Corp. in Sarnia, Ontario, from 1965 to 1968.

In 1968, he became a chemist supervisor for Harry Diamond Laboratories in Adelphi, now the Army Research Laboratory. In 1979, he moved to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, where he helped develop materials for the space shuttle heat shield. The author of numerous publications and the recipient of a number of patents, he was one of six finalists for NASA's Inventor of the Year award in 1990. He retired in 1991.

Dr. Lee was a member of many clubs and organizations in the Washington area, including the Chinese Club of Leisure World. In 1984, he founded the Chinese American Forum, a nonprofit quarterly.

His wife, Winnie Cho Lee, died in 1997.

Survivors include a daughter, May Lee Tate of Davidsonville; and two grandchildren.

Alan R. Paxson

CIA Senior Analyst

Alan R. Paxson, 59, a retired senior analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency who last year was a civilian adviser to the Iraqi government, died of cancer July 7 at Capital Hospice in Arlington. He was a resident of Centreville.

Mr. Paxson was born in Rockville but moved at age 4 to a farm outside Alma, Neb. He graduated from Hastings College in Nebraska, and did graduate work at Vanderbilt University in Nashville before moving to Northern Virginia.

He joined the CIA in 1969, spending much of his career in the Directorate of Intelligence as an analyst of European issues. He became chief of the Western Europe division in 1982. He served in France and Germany, where he witnessed the collapse of the Berlin Wall and German reunification. He served in staff positions for several years in the comptroller's and inspector general's offices before retiring in 1996.

Mr. Paxson completed a 1,363-mile solo bicycle trip from Florida to Virginia in 27 days during his first year of retirement. He then accompanied his wife to assignments in Greece and England, returning in 2001.

He went back to work for the CIA in 2001 as an independent contractor, reviewing classified operational files for declassification and release. In early 2004, he spent several months in Baghdad, advising the newly formed Iraqi government.

He was a member of Mensa and the Financial Planning Association, and enjoyed golf as well as bicycling. He was a member of Hidden Creek Country Club in Reston for 20 years.

His marriages to Ann Thomas and Joan Eaton ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of nine years, Jan Jennings Paxson of Centreville; two step-daughters, Stephanie Jennings of Eugene, Ore., and Jessica Jennings of Asheville, N.C.; his parents, Wayne and Velma Paxson of Lincoln, Neb.; two brothers; and a sister.

William Inskeep II

Veterinary Pathologist

William Inskeep II, 55, an Army colonel who chaired the department of veterinary pathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington, died July 2 of melanoma at his home in Ambler, Pa.

Col. Inskeep was born in Cumberland, Md., and raised in Medley, W.Va. He earned a bachelor's degree in animal science from West Virginia University in 1971 and received a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He served five years as a missile launch officer at Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming and, while stationed there, received an MBA from the University of Wyoming.

In 1980, he received a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from Colorado State University and began a 23-year career with the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, with assignments in Japan and at the Carlisle Barracks in Pennsylvania.

From 1986 to 1989, Col. Inskeep completed a residency in veterinary pathology at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP). Subsequent assignments included chief of comparative pathology at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research and chief of animal medicine at the office of the Army surgeon general.

He served as assistant chair and, from 1997 to 2003, as chair of the Department of Veterinary Pathology at the AFIP before retiring from active duty in 2003. He was the first veterinarian to be deputy commander of the AFIP, holding that position from 1998 to 2002. He also served as the veterinary pathology consultant to the U.S. Army surgeon general and was the Department of Defense liaison to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

He was a graduate of the Army War College and a recipient of the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit. In 2004, the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States presented him with the McCallam Award for outstanding accomplishments in the field of medicine and health.

Col. Inskeep lived in Rockville from 1986 to 2003. At the time of his death, he was director of pathology at Merck Research Laboratories in West Point, Pa.

Survivors include his wife of 32 years, Betty Sites Inskeep of Ambler; and a sister, Susan Inskeep Gray of Burke.

Golden L. Williams

Air Force Officer, NSA Analyst

Golden L. Williams, 88, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and a former analyst with the National Security Agency, died of pneumonia July 18 at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis. He was a Bowie resident.

Col. Williams -- known to friends as "Bill" or "Goldie" -- was born in Marysvale, Utah, and grew up on a small farm. Graduating from high school in nearby Ridgefield in the midst of the Depression, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and then held a variety of jobs throughout the 1930s, including working as a salad chef at Grand Canyon National Park and on various railroads throughout the West. He was working as a "powder monkey," tamping dynamite charges into holes at a copper mine in Utah, when he decided to enlist in the Army Air Forces in 1942.

He trained as an aircraft engine mechanic, became an instructor and worked in England refurbishing battle-damaged aircraft. He helped prepare and modify many of the aircraft used on D-Day. He also assisted Dr. Harold E. Edgerton, the man who invented high-speed stroboscopic photography. Col. Williams helped with installing the first photo strobe lights on reconnaissance aircraft.

He graduated from Officer Candidate School and was assigned to the occupation forces in Germany. After the war, he was transferred to military intelligence. He was posted to bases in Japan and the United States, including Fort Meade in 1959, where he was assigned to the National Security Agency. He retired from the Air Force in 1962 but continued working at NSA as a civilian Defense Department research analyst until his second retirement in 1972.

In retirement, he worked for a few years at the University of Maryland Research Farm and, true to his rural roots, learned plant propagation and pruning techniques. His jams and jellies won numerous ribbons for the farm, and his family got to enjoy some of his concoctions, including strawberry-rhubarb jam.

Col. Williams was an outdoorsman who particularly enjoyed fishing and deer hunting. He served as an assistant scoutmaster of the original Boy Scout Troop 370 in Bowie and was a member of the Order of the Arrow.

He enjoyed watching baseball and basketball and was a faithful Redskins fan. He also played guitar and banjo with local bands that played old-time music, and he enjoyed mystery writers Dick Francis and Tony Hillerman, as well as western writer Zane Grey. His great uncle had been a friend of Grey's.

Col. Williams's wife, Guiomar Nunes Williams, died in 1997.

Survivors include a daughter, Gaye Williams of Bowie, and two sons, Craig Williams of Silver Spring and Alan Williams of Bowie.

Thomas Edward Doran

Project Engineer

Thomas Edward Doran, 85, a retired project engineer for the Austin Co., died of congestive heart failure July 24 at Capital Hospice in Arlington. He was a resident of Falls Church.

Mr. Doran was born in Chicago and graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology. He enlisted in the Navy during World War II and served as a training officer aboard a destroyer escort in the Pacific, taking part in the Solomon Islands, Tarawa, Peleliu and Saipan campaigns. He later served in Detroit, overseeing the disposal of surplus war materiel.

He returned to Chicago and then moved to the suburb of LaGrange, where he served on the school board. He worked for several firms before joining the Austin Co., an international architectural, engineering and construction firm. As a project manager, he worked all over the country and opened the firm's office in Japan in 1972.

In 1978, he moved to Northern Virginia. He retired from the Austin Co. in 1987. Mr. Doran helped organize a homeowners association and was a member of the Falls Church Housing Corp.'s Winter Hill board, its recycling committee and senior commission as well as the League of Women Voters and the Falls Church Military History Forum.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Doris Doran of Falls Church; three children, Pam Doran and Kathy Doran, both of Falls Church, and Ed "Bud" Doran of Bethesda; and six grandchildren.