William B. Humphrey, 72, a Navy commander who retired in 1978 and then worked in scientific and technical roles for defense contractors, died March 25 at Montgomery General Hospital in Olney. He had cancer.

Cmdr. Humphrey, a Rockville resident, was a submarine officer from 1961 to 1978. He then spent 20 years as technical director for Doty Associates. From 1998 to 2004, he was a chief scientist for Tecolote Research, and then spent six years with Booz Allen Hamilton before retiring.

William Brownell Humphrey was a native of Findlay, Ohio, and a 1961 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. He received a bachelor’s degree in engineering electronics and a master’s degree in systems acquisitions management from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif..

Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Jane Warner Humphrey of Rockville; two children, Lee Anne Sulzberger of Newport News, and Todd Humphrey of Frederick; a sister; and five grandchildren.

— Adam Bernstein