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Community deaths

Obituaries of residents from the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia.

Herb Bloom, NBC producer

Herb Bloom, 78, a Washington bureau chief and executive producer for NBC who retired in 2002, died May 2 at a care center in Arlington, Va. He had a progressive neurodegenerative disease and had suffered several falls, said a stepson, David Fox.

Mr. Bloom, who lived in Washington, was born in the Bronx. He came to Washington in 1982 and was a producer with MacNeil/Lehrer Productions before moving to NBC in 1986. In 1975 and 1976, he was the radio anchor for the Israeli Broadcasting Authority’s English-language news programs.

James Peak, intelligence officer

James Peak, 77, an intelligence officer for government and private agencies who for 14 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 led the development of a terrorist database for the National Counterterrorism Center, died May 11 at his home in Ashburn, Va. The cause was cancer, said a son, Jason Peak.

Mr. Peak was born in Girard, Kan. He was a linguist, fluent in Spanish, Chinese, German, Russian and Arabic. As an enlisted Air Force member stationed in the Florida Keys during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, he intercepted and translated Cuban radio transmissions and monitored messages related to Cuban and Soviet air defenses.

After moving to the Washington area in 1977, he had intelligence-related jobs with government contracting agencies and the Defense Department, from which he retired in 2000. He went back to work after the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington.

Rosa Culbreath, saleswoman, engineer

Rosa Culbreath, 83, a saleswoman at Woolworth’s and the Hecht Co. in Washington, an electrical engineer at D.C. General Hospital and a data entry worker at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, Va., died April 30 at a medical center in Greenville, N.C. The cause was a stroke, said a daughter, Rosa Cooper.

Mrs. Culbreath was born Rosa Wilson in Olanta, S.C., and moved to the Washington area in 1967. She studied electrical engineering in a Wider Opportunities training program. In 2017, she moved to Sumter, S.C., from Washington.

Duane Adams, Air Force officer

Duane Adams, 81, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and professor of computer science who managed and directed large-scale research programs at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), died April 24 at a hospital in Arlington, Va. The cause was lymphoma, said his daughter, Susan Henderson.

Dr. Adams, an Arlington resident, was born in Missoula, Mont. He served 20 years in the Air Force, and his assignments included DARPA, where he was a program manager and deputy director of its information processing techniques office. As a program manager, his family said, he supported work for a method of digital, packetized voice compression to transmit voice over the Internet. The technology was piloted in the 1970s on the Arpanet, the forerunner of the Internet.

After retiring from the Air Force in 1983, he became a faculty member of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, working as research professor, administrator and vice provost for research until 2006.

Robert Park, U-Md. professor

Robert Park, 89, a retired University of Maryland physics professor, author and self-described debunker of pseudoscience, died April 29 at an assisted-living center in Hyattsville, Md. The cause was respiratory failure, said his son, Robert T. Park.

Dr. Park, a resident of Adelphi, Md., was born in Kansas City, Mo. He was seriously injured by a falling tree in 2001 but continued to work, retiring in 2008 after 34 years at U-Md. His books included “Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud” (2000) and “Superstition: Belief in the Age of Science” (2008).

He founded the Washington office of the American Physical Society and wrote its weekly online column “What’s New,” about breaking scientific discoveries. He was a skeptic of the value of manned spaceflight and appeared on the Comedy Central show “The Colbert Report” in 2009 as a proponent of sending robots to space instead of astronauts to maximize data gathering.

Edward Mitchell, Pepco chief

Edward Mitchell, 88, the former chief executive and board chairman of Pepco who retired in 2000 after 44 years with the power company, died April 30 at a hospital in Annapolis. The cause was a heart attack, said a daughter, Karen Mitchell.

Mr. Mitchell, a resident of Stevensville, Md., was born in Harrisonburg, Va. He moved to the Washington area and joined Pepco as a junior engineer in 1956. He was a former chairman of the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education.

— From staff reports

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