- The Washington Times - Monday, September 4, 2006

Mary Dora Sexton English, a devoted Navy wife and daughter, died July 30 of complications from lung cancer in Delray Beach, Fla. She was 87.

Mrs. English was born Mary Theodora Thompson on Jan. 24, 1919. Her parents divorced soon after her birth, and her mother remarried Navy Capt. Smith Hempstone, the man she considered her father.

Mrs. English’s maternal grandfather was Theodore Noyes, longtime editor in chief of the Washington Evening Star.

She attended the Holton-Arms School in the District for several years before moving to Connecticut and attending Miss Porter’s School, from which she graduated in 1937.

In January 1940, Mrs. English met her husband-to-be, Navy Lt. j.g. Ormond Griffith Sexton III, during a visit to Pensacola, Fla. The couple was married in July 1940 and lived in Norfolk before the outbreak of World War II.

Soon after Pearl Harbor, Lt. Sexton was shipped out to the Pacific and engaged the Japanese fleet at the Battle of Midway, while Mrs. English worked as a plane spotter and in other occupations in California.

In 1944, she gave birth to her only natural child, Ormond Griffith Sexton IV.

Following World War II, Mrs. English lived in Annapolis, California, Hawaii and Washington state.

In 1953, Lt. Sexton died in an accident while serving as an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

For the next 12 years, Mrs. English devoted herself to bringing up her son.

She lived near her parents and four siblings in Bethesda, and worked as a saleswoman at the Lord & Taylor department store.

In 1965, Mrs. English married John J. English of Chevy Chase and became stepmother to his three children.

In the couple’s leisure time, they traveled extensively in the United States and abroad.

Mr. English died of a heart attack in 1980.

Mrs. English began spending more time in Florida as she grew older, becoming a resident in the retirement home of Abbey Delray (North) in Delray Beach in 2002.

She often traveled in the summers to see her children and grandchildren, and entertained them in Florida during the winter months.

Mrs. English also took frequent trips with friends to Europe.

She loved word games, crossword puzzles, mysteries, golf, long walks, show music and dancing.

Mrs. English was a diehard fan of the Washington Redskins and a voracious reader.

She also loved movies and going to dinner with family and friends.

She loved life at her retirement home with her many friends and survived a bout with cancer in the early 1990s.

Mrs. English was an Episcopalian and member of the congregations at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, and later at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Bethesda. In Florida, she often attended services at the First Presbyterian Church of Delray Beach.

She also was a member of the Chevy Chase Club in Maryland and the Seagate Club in Delray Beach.

Mrs. English is survived by two sons, O.G. Sexton of Greenwich, Conn., and John English of Leesburg, Va.; a daughter, Carolynn Ainsworth of Waynesboro, Va.; a brother, Smith Hempstone of Bethesda; and nine grandchildren.

Mrs. English was interred at Arlington National Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society.

Edward Sheehan Sr.,70, physicist

Edward J. Sheehan Sr., former director of the Army’s Night Vision and Electro-Optics Laboratory, died of cancer Aug. 8 at his home in the Westmont section of Johnstown, Pa. He was 70.

Mr. Sheehan was born Dec. 31, 1935, in Johnstown and graduated from Johnstown High School in 1953.

He attended prep school at Wyoming Seminary in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and graduated from St. Francis University with a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1958.

He earned his master’s of science degree from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972.

In 1959, Mr. Sheehan was hired as a project engineer by the Department of the Army at Fort Belvoir to assist in the development of night-vision technology.

He became the youngest director of the Army’s Night Vision and Electro-Optics Laboratory in 1976, and received the Army’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the highest award bestowed on an Army civil servant.

After his government career, Mr. Sheehan founded Sheehan Associates Inc., a high-technology consulting firm.

He also was the co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Stardyne Inc., a high-technology laser metal-working company based in Johnstown.

He later returned to government service at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency as special assistant to the director.

Mr. Sheehan has been listed in “Who’s Who in America” since 1980.

He was the first recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus of Science Award from St. Francis University in 1989 and was named Man of the Year by the Johnstown Inter-Service Club Council in 1993.

Mr. Sheehan was a member of Our Mother of Sorrows Church.

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Florence Ann Sheehan of Westmont; four sons, Edward J. Sheehan Jr. of Johnstown, James Sheehan of Richmond, and John Sheehan and William Sheehan, both of Round Hill, Va.; a daughter, Mary Sheehan Hartnett of Johnstown; two brothers, John Sheehan of Annapolis and James Sheehan of Chesapeake, Va.; a sister, Joanne Smith of Harrisburg, Pa.; and 20 grandchildren.

Memorial donations may be made to Windber Hospice, 600 Somerset Ave., Windber, Pa. 15963.

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