Silent Keys

Happy Day! Charles Otis Brown, Jr. passed away peacefully into the presence of our Lord on Saturday, May 30, 2015, surrounded by his friends and family. “Papa” faced his cancer daily no different than any other day of his life before his diagnosis. He lived his life based on his faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This faith was lived out daily in his love for his wife, Nancy, his children, grandchildren, and closest friends. He retired from Westinghouse with over 30 years’ service after serving honorably in the United States Air Force. In addition to being a lifelong NC State fan, he was an avid amateur radio operator since his youth and enjoyed talking with his friends daily around the world. Charlie was preceded in death by his father, Charles Otis Brown, Sr. and his mother, Mattie Dill Brown.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 1 o’clock, Thursday, June 4, 2015, at Saint Catherine of Siena Roman Catholic Church.

Mr. Brown is survived by his wife, Nancy Lee Brown, his children, Charles Otis Brown II, and his fiancé, Jocelyn Kirton of Wake Forest, his daughter Suszon Brown Daniel and husband Richard of Wake Forest, NC; his grandchildren, Brittany Long, and husband Josh, Brooke Zebrine and husband Brandon, Mollie Daniel, Nikki, Madison, Taylor, Rebekah, and Zachary Brown; and great-granddaughter, Lyla Long; along with a multitude of other family and friends. His Beautiful Mind will be sorely missed.

In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to Saint Catherine of Siena Roman Catholic Church, Of Living Stones Campaign, 520 West Holding Avenue, Wake Forest, NC 27587 or to Hayes Barton Baptist Church, 1800 Glenwood Avenue, Raleigh, NC 27608.

Friends may visit with the family from 6:00-8:00 P.M. Wednesday evening June 3, 2015, at Bright Funeral Home & Cremation Center, 405 South Main Street, Wake Forest, NC 27587.(919-556-5811)

Merritt Olson was a military analyst and licensed psychologist whose ideas helped to revolutionize air combat, reduce war causalities, and end the Cold War. He analyzed strategic and tactical bombing challenges and advised a generation of U.S. military leaders for IBM, the RAND Corporation, and ANSER. As documented in Graham Allison’s “The Essence of Decision,” he explained that US bombers could not destroy the Soviet missile sites in Cuba with certainty and might leave surviving nuclear weapons for launch against the US homeland. His objective analysis of the inaccuracy of unguided bombing led to the invention of laser-guided bombing in Viet Nam under his advice. Now famous thanks to General Schwarzkopf’s televised dropping of “smart” bombs on Iraqi targets, the innovation greatly reduced civilian and military collateral damage in modern warfare.

His passion to accurately and safely land objects from the air started when he learned to fly at age 17, and intensified after he qualified as a Flight Officer and rated twin engine and glider pilot in the US Army Air Corps in 1945. Graduated from Lawrence College (Appleton, WI) and gaining a Master’s Degree in Psychology at Lehigh University, he joined IBM as a “human engineer,” the sole psychologist in IBM’s engineering team. There he won a US patent for a map-matching system for the AN/ASQ-38 computerized Radar Navigation Bombing System and flight trained the first radar navigation crews to use it. To achieve more accurate bomb delivery, it overlaid a transparent aerial map of the target onto the radar screen as shown in the B-52 bomb-run scene of Stanley Kubrick’s film “Dr. Strangelove.”
Later he applied his personal knowledge of the shortcomings of army gliders and parachute tactics to the problem of landing soldiers and equipment in tight formation while reducing military casualties. First devised by him as the RAND Corporation’s representative to the Air Force in the early 1960’s at the Pentagon and in Viet Nam, where it was proven feasible, the innovation is now called the High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) technique and routinely appears in films of paragliding soldiers alighting atop office buildings.

Working for the first President of the RAND Corporation, he addressed urgent problems caused by the advent of the Surface to Air missiles that shot down Gary Powers’ U-2 in 1960 and suddenly threatened the USA’s strategic air forces. His solutions were to fly B-52 bombers at low altitudes under the radar, leading also to the F-111 and B-1 bombers, and to equip bombers with strategic missiles, such as SRAM and cruise missiles. Both solutions required down-looking and side-looking radar, integrated first into the B-52’s AN/ASQ-38 radar system. Flying fifty-feet above the ground at night caused unexplained crashes of F-111s in Viet Nam, which he analyzed as a civilian co-pilot of F-111s on night missions over the battlefield.

Throughout his career, his skills extended to intelligence data management systems. He helped introduce the first IBM digital mainframe computer, the 438-L Advanced Intelligence Data Handling System, into SAC headquarters at Omaha. In the late 1980’s, having retired from both IBM and RAND, Mr. Olson continued his service to the nation at ANSER, where he studied the Strategic Defense “Star Wars” Initiative, the private sector’s role in national command communications, and information warfare for the Science Advisor to the President of the United States.

An early fascination to apply high technology led to an amateur radio license at age 15 when his hometown Wausau (WI) “Record-Herald” newspaper ran a photo-journal of his bicycle-mounted radio station. During high school, he launched an International Morse Code Training School. Then an ace at Morse code, he copied foreign coded messages for the U.S. Government and left school at age 17 to join the University of Wisconsin Naval Radio Training School to teach key pounding to scores of sailors.

He restarted his career as a HAM radio operator after retiring from ANSER in 1990. Known for his smooth Morse code “fist” and by his handle “Ole,” he worked his call sign N4ABM on the Independent Hit and Bounce Net daily, to send and receive traffic except when he was the Net Control station. He served as Treasurer of the net until his death. He also travelled the world, even attending one of the last Soviet-style military parades in Moscow, although hampered by a 1980 heart attack and the ensuing congestive heart failure that ended his life at age 88.

A resident of Reston, Virginia from 1967 until 2011, he loved flying his family in airplanes; playing tennis and golf; the outdoors, birds, music, chopping wood and fires; and his friends and family. He is survived by Shirley, his wife of 63 years (Ashby Ponds, VA); sons Christopher (London, UK), Curtis (Washington, DC), and Eric (Oakton, VA); grandchildren Conrad, Axel, Erica and Melissa; and Christine Erdman (Wausau, WI), his sister.




Marvin Edward Whatley – born 1926 in New Orleans, Louisiana, died in Houston, Texas, on January 30, 2013, at home, surrounded by his family. He was preceded in death by his parents, Peter D. and Anna Whatley; and his sister, Meryl Scheu. He is survived by his beloved wife of more than 41 years, Susan Craven Keith Whatley; his brother, Malcolm; and his seven children, Gail, Mark, Debbie, Walter, Patricia, Denise, and Diana; nine grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and a cherished extended family too large and far-flung to list. Marvin worked as a chemical engineer for more than 35 years, mostly at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. He served in the Army Air Corps at the end of World War II.
He earned a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Louisiana State University in 1948 and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Iowa State College (now University) in 1953. He was a member of a number of honorary societies, including Tau Beta Pi, Pi Mu Epsilon, and Sigma Xi, and an emeritus member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Marvin was an engineer through and through. He made things that were useful and important, from bird feeders to nuclear fuel refinement, recovery, and disposal systems.

Among his many contributions to ORNL, he served as Chief of Unit Operations for the Chemical Technology Division and was a leader in the field of solvent extraction of plutonium. He was awarded numerous patents. He was part of a select team of scientists in a joint venture project among several United States and Japanese companies to explore the feasibility of uranium enrichment by private industry.

Marvin and Susan retired in 1988, sold their house in Oak Ridge, and moved onto a sailboat – the good ship “Susan” (a Valiant 40) – on which they explored the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and the southeastern coast of the US for five years. They then moved ashore in Oriental, North Carolina, on the Neuse River, where they lived until 2011. Marvin groomed and tended their one-acre wooded lot, knowing every fern, tree, bug, bush, weed, and wildflower. A network of named paths circled his small pond – “the puddle” – where a variety of reptiles, amphibians, fish, birds, and other critters delighted him year in and year out.

Marvin was a talented and accomplished musician. He was first chair clarinet at Warren Easton High School in New Orleans and entered LSU on a band scholarship. He played clarinet and saxophone in swing bands in the army, in college, and later in Oak Ridge. He played Dixieland clarinet in a combo at a popular Oak Ridge pizza parlor. He sang in choirs in college and graduate school and, for a time, directed the choir at the Oak Ridge Unitarian Church.

Marvin was a teacher. He made people think and learn. In the 1950s he was among the first professors at the Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology, a unique post-war project to educate engineers nationwide about nuclear reactor technology and design. In 1956 the Pennsylvania State University engaged him as a consultant to create a nuclear engineering curriculum. He taught chemical engineering at both undergraduate and graduate levels at the University of Tennessee, serving as a major professor for several PhD candidates. He taught not only science and engineering but critical thought and the importance of true understanding of a subject. He also taught everyone who spent time with him to consider the impact of one’s actions on others.

Marvin found and appreciated beauty in everything around him. He was determined and wide-ranging in his curiosity: “Everything is interesting if you look at it closely.” His amateur studies included horticulture, herpetology, and arachnology. An accomplished scholar of pteridology (ferns), he corresponded and collaborated with professionals in the field. He collected spores from across the country and succeeded in propagating ferns from many of them – a notable accomplishment, particularly for an amateur. Some of his academic correspondents sought him out for his propagated specimens. He was a certified master gardener in North Carolina’s Master Gardener Program (part of a national program to advise and educate the public on gardening and horticulture).

In retirement, Marvin revived a childhood interest in ham radio and Morse code. In true Marvin fashion, he showed up to apply for his initial license to transmit on the air, but before leaving that day went on to pass all four license levels – Novice, General, Advanced, and Expert class. He was AA4YW for a quarter century and for much of that time served as a CW net control operator for the Southeast region of the U.S. He loved language and writing. He read and recited poetry, particularly American. He wrote pithy, piquant, and provocative ruminations on life and society in journals associated with his hobbies. He was a regular contributor to the Southeastern Repeater Journal, styling his quarterly column “Look at it This Way”.

All these things brought Marvin great joy, which he was wise enough to appreciate. But they weren’t his principal joy. That was his family. Over his 86 years, many people became family through many routes. He gave and he got love of many kinds, sometimes demanding, always enriching. He liked to tell of an exchange with his mother at the nursing home where she spent her last days. He told her he was off to vote in a presidential election and she asked whether doing so was important. He explained why he thought it was, then, getting up to leave, told her he loved her. She replied, “Now THAT’s important”.


Leonard Wolford “Jack” Davis, 92, a former resident of Delaware, passed from this life on Tuesday (Jan. 8, 2013) at Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins, W.Va.

Jack was born on May 28, 1920, in Elkins, W.Va., as the first child to Cecil and Effie Wolford Davis. He was a Navy veteran of World War II. He was married to the former Genevieve Mary Yosia for 64 years. He and his family moved to Delaware in the late ’60s where he taught and served as principal of the Bellpoint School For the Retarded. He returned to his home area after retirement. He was an avid fisherman and an amateur radio operator.

He is survived by his wife, three children, two grandchildren, three great-children, four sisters and a brother. Jack will be cremated. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Randolph County Humane Society, 195 Weese St., PO Box 785, Elkins, WV 26241 or the Randolph County Senior Center, 5th Street and Railroad Avenue, Elkins WV 26241.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at The guest book will remain online until February 8, 2013.

Published in The Delaware Gazette on January 10, 2013

Harry L. Thomas Jr.

Harry L. Thomas, Jr., age 89, a resident of South Wilkes-Barre, died Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012 in the Inpatient Unit, Hospice Community Care, Geisinger South Wilkes-Barre, following a lengthy illness.

Mr. Thomas was born in Scranton, son of the late Harry L. Thomas, Sr. and Margaret Gill Thomas. He was a graduate of the Class of 1942, Forty Fort High School, and had attended Bucknell and Drexel Universities. He proudly served as a signalman/radio operator with the Army during World War II in the China-Burma-India Theater and had been decorated for his effort. Returning to civilian life, Harry was a pioneer in the early days of television first as a broadcast engineer at WILK-TV, Wilkes-Barre, and, later, prior to his retirement, in 1988, at WNEP-TV, Moosic. He had spent 42 years in the broadcast industry.

Harry was an active member of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, Wilkes-Barre, where he had been a member of the session, an elder and Sunday School teacher of the Ladies Webster Class of the Sunday School. He also attended Christ United Presbyterian Church, Lee Park, and the Hanover Green Chapel; Hanover Township. He had maintained an interest in radio and was a member of Army MARS, Skywarn, WMELess Radio Club, ARRL, W3KOD, 50-year member of the QCWA and the Margus Radio Club. He and his wife participated in the Red Cross Disaster team, the Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency and he also was a member of the Nescopeck Rod and Gun Club, the NRA and was a life member of the Forty Fort Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 8595. He was preceded in death by a sister, Margaret Williams.

Surviving are his wife of 62 years, Elizabeth J. Culver Thomas, at home; a son, Mark Thomas, Bloomingdale; a brother, George Thomas and his wife, Janet, Edgewater, Fla., and a sister, Cleo Cafesjian and her husband, Gerard, Naples, Fla.; nieces and nephews.

A private funeral will be held at the convenience of the family from the H. Merritt Hughes Funeral Home, Inc., a Golden Rule Funeral Home, 451 North Main Street, Wilkes-Barre. Interment will be in Bloomingdale Cemetery. There will be no public service or calling hours. The family requests that flowers be omitted and that donations in Mr. Thomas’ memory be made to a charity of the donor’s choice.

Addis “Lee” Tippett
Age 94, died Saturday, December 1, 2012, at Kith Haven Nursing Home. Funeral services will be held 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, December 5, 2012, at Rossell Funeral Home, Rev. Teresa Peterson officiating. Burial will follow at Flint Memorial Park. Visitation will be from 4 – 9:00 p.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.

If desired, memorial contributions may be made to the charity of your choice. Mr. Tippett was born in Houghton, Michigan on May 31, 1918, the son of Joseph and Myrtle (Fuge) Tippett. He married Margaret McFadden in Flint on July 17, 1942. Lee was a Veteran of World War II, serving in the U.S. Army as Lieutenant Colonel. He had been employed by Buick Motor Division for 37 years, retiring in 1974. He was a member of Genesee Lodge #174, Bay City Consistory, Elf Khurafeh Shrine and the Genesee County Radio Club.

He was a Ham Radio operator for 60 years (W8RTN). Surviving are: his wife, Margaret Tippett of Flushing; two sons, Barry and wife Carmen Tippett of Allouez and Douglas and wife Debra Tippett of Waynesboro, VA; two grandchildren, Holly and husband John Hodgkin, Jennifer and husband Michael Herrmann; five great-grandchildren, Maggie, Colin, Emily, Skye and Andrew; several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his sister, Althea Whitehead of Falmouth, MI.