Correction: An earlier version of this obituary incorrectly described one of Mr. Cooper’s academic courses of study. It was orchestral composition, not orchestra competition.
Paul V. Cooper, a Russian linguist at the National Security Agency from 1953 until 1995, died Dec. 26 at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington. He was 89.
The cause was congestive heart failure, said his former daughter-in-law, Jo Cooper.
Mr. Cooper, a District resident, was fluent in six languages, including French, Spanish, German and Latin. He spent part of his NSA career in England and Austria and was seconded to the State Department while in Austria.
After his NSA retirement, Mr. Cooper volunteered at the Metropolitan Washington Ear in Silver Spring, where he was a reader for blind and visually impaired people for 17 years.
Paul Vincent Cooper was born in Los Angeles. During World War II, he served in the Army Signal Corps as an Italian linguist.
He received a bachelor’s degree in orchestral composition and voice from Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., in 1948, and a master’s degree in comparative linguistics from American University in 1966.
Mr. Cooper was choir director at Wheaton Presbyterian Church in Wheaton, Md., from 1964 to 1989.
Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Wren Davie Cooper of Washington; three children, Catherine Cooper of Barneveld, Wis., Timothy Cooper of Singapore and Gregory Cooper of Washington; and three grandchildren.