Correction: An earlier version of the obituary for technology firm executive Douglas A. Rekenthaler
Obituaries of residents from the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia.
David L. Bragunier, 76, principal tuba player at the National Symphony Orchestra for 43 years, died July 13 at his home in Arlington, Va. He had brain cancer, said his wife, Sara Stern.
Mr. Bragunier was the NSO’s principal tuba player from 1961 to 2004 and the orchestra’s personnel manager from 1976 to 2000. In addition to his busy performance schedule, Mr. Bragunier taught music at the University of Maryland, Catholic University and the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, and he had private students.
Mr. Bragunier was born in Hagerstown, Md. Born to a family of modest means, he took up the tuba because it was one of the few instruments his school offered to lend him free, he told the New York Times in 1998.
He founded the NSO Alumni Association, served as the orchestra’s archivist and historian and participated in NSO Education’s In-School Ensembles and American Residency programs. In retirement, he organized and led the annual Tuba Christmas series at the Kennedy Center and sang with several Washington choruses, including Choralis.
Gloria Chavez Tristani, 89, whose father, Dennis Chavez (D-N.M.), was the first American of Hispanic descent to be elected to a full term in the Senate, died July 16 at her home in Bethesda, Md. She had cancer, said her daughter, Gloria Tristani, former commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission.
Mrs. Tristani was born Gloria Chavez in Albuquerque and grew up in New Mexico and the District. Her father was a U.S. senator from 1931 to 1962. She successfully pushed for a 35-cent postage stamp commemorating him and established a foundation and lectureship in his honor. In 2013, she donated his portrait to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington.
Mrs. Tristani lived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she raised her three children, before settling in the Washington area in 1998.
Thomas J. Conolly Jr., 93, who had a private dental practice on Connecticut Avenue NW in the District for 40 years before retiring in 1985, died July 17 at an assisted living facility in Sandy Spring, Md. The cause was severe anemia, said his companion of 25 years, Patricia Eaton.
Dr. Conolly was born in Brooklyn and graduated in 1945 from Georgetown University’s dental school. He was a member of the American Dental Society, the District of Columbia Dental Society and Manor Country Club in Rockville, Md.
Douglas A. Rekenthaler, 78, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who became the chief executive of several international technology companies, died July 21 at his home in Woodbine, Md. He had leukemia, said his wife, Victoria Stewart-Moore.
Col. Rekenthaler was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1960. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1979. His decorations included two Bronze Star Medals.
He was executive vice president of the old Phoenix Corp. from 1979 to 1982 and later was a technology consultant to BDM International. After 1985, he founded six international technology companies, including Radio-Hydro-Physics and Earthquake Warnings Inc. He moved to Woodbine from Arlington, Va., in 2010.
Joan E. Sorensen, 79, a journalist for newspapers in Montgomery and Frederick counties in Maryland and later a communications and planning consultant, died July 7 at her home in Rockville, Md. She had respiratory distress and pneumonia, said a daughter, Kaaren Sorensen.
Mrs. Sorensen was born Joan Elizabeth Reiche in Merrill, Wis. She settled in the Washington area in 1967.
She reported and wrote for such publications as the Montgomery Journal, Frederick Post and Gaithersburg Gazette between 1968 and 1977. She then worked with a consulting company in Columbia, Md., before founding Knowledge Transfer Options, a consulting service specializing in organizational planning and communications. She retired in 1993.
Thomas E. Goonan, 93, a fire protection engineer who helped create national guidelines related to fire protection and safety codes, died July 24 at a hospital in Fairfax County. The cause was multiple organ failure, said a daughter, Kathleen Goonan.
Mr. Goonan was born in Miamisburg, Ohio, and was an Army veteran of World War II. He came to the Washington area in 1962 and was a resident of Springfield, Va. He was a fire and safety engineer at the Washington Navy Yard, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the General Services Administration, from which he retired in 1979.
Later, he was a building fire code and safety consultant and in 1987 opened a consulting business, Tom Goonan Associates.
Mr. Goonan specialized in public safety and the preservation of historic records. He developed fire protection plans and systems for many landmark Washington institutions, including the National Archives, the Old Post Office and the Library of Congress, as well as museums, stores and other buildings throughout the country.
Doris Henderson, 86, who retired in 1999 from the maintenance staff at the University of Maryland, where she dispatched repair workers around the College Park campus, died July 22 at her home in Bowie, Md. The cause was congestive heart failure, said a son, Craig Henderson.
She was born Doris Virginia Dudrow in Hyattsville, Md., where she worked at Dudrow’s Drug Store, which was owned by her father. Later, she was an office worker at her husband’s plumbing business, a health-products salesperson and the operator of a lunch wagon at construction sites. She began working at the University of Maryland in the late 1980s.
— From staff reports