Merlin R. Norby, a retired Navy captain who later became a consultant at a naval systems engineering and professional services company, died June 28 at a restaurant in the Kingstowne area of Fairfax County. He was 87.

The cause was asphyxiation caused by choking on food, said his daughter, Marlys Norby.

Capt. Norby, an Alexandria resident, served for 38 years in the Navy. During his naval career, he was executive officer of the dock landing ship USS Fort Mandan and an engineering officer aboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid.

His final active-duty assignment was as deputy director of ship design and engineering research and development at the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington.

After his military retirement in 1983, he worked as a consultant for Presearch Inc. in Northern Virginia, assisting with research and development of amphibious supply ships, until he retired in 1993.

Merlin Robert Norby was born on a farm in Bagley, Minn., and he was a 1953 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. He moved to Alexandria in 1972.

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Virginia Froeling Norby of Alexandria; a daughter, Marlys Norby of Kingstowne; two brothers; two sisters; and two grandsons.

— Megan McDonough