Joseph Anthony Cestone, 88, a retired Navy Department engineer, died Oct. 7 at Suburban Hospital of complications after gastrointestinal surgery. He was a longtime Bethesda resident.

Mr. Cestone was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and received his undergraduate degree in chemical and electrical engineering from New York University in 1941. After completing the naval engineering course at Cornell University in 1942, he was commissioned as an ensign and served during World War II. He rose to the rank of commander.

He took graduate courses in electrical engineering and math at the University of Maryland from 1947 to 1949 and completed Harvard University's advanced management program in 1963.

He joined the Navy Department as a civilian engineer in the late 1940s. As head of the navigational, sensor and ship control branch of the Naval Sea Systems Command, his primary focus was the electrical and navigational systems for the Polaris Fleet Ballistic Missile, the nation's first ballistic missile-equipped submarine. His work on precise navigation was essential, given the range of the Polaris's 16 missiles and the need for the craft to remain submerged when the missiles were launched.

From 1974 to 1979, he was chief scientist for advanced technology with the Navy's Deep Submergence Systems Project. Deep Submergence is a nuclear-powered submarine used for search and recovery, mapping and clandestine operations.

He received various awards during his career, including the Distinguished Civilian Service Award and the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

He retired in 1979 but continued working as a consultant for several defense-related engineering companies. After his second retirement, in 1989, he enjoyed golfing and socializing with friends at Kenwood Golf and Country Club. He was a member of the Parish of the Little Flower in Bethesda.

His wife, Helene Cestone, died in 2000.

Survivors include two children, Robert J. Cestone of Bethany Beach, Del., and Valerie C. Schmidt of Bethesda; and one grandson.