- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 2, 2005

Milton Mortman, a civil engineer and active synagogue member, died Feb. 24 of Parkinson’s disease at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring. He was 70.

Born in New York City, he was a graduate of City College of New York, where he received a master’s degree in civil engineering in 1956.

A civil engineer by trade, Mr. Mortman was a longtime employee of the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He was a shift supervisor at the agency’s satellite operations control center for 29 years, retiring in the early 1990s.

During the Cold War, he was active on behalf of Soviet emigres and Soviet Jews. He helped organize activities and demonstrations for human rights in totalitarian and authoritarian countries, particularly on behalf of engineers.

Mr. Mortman had lived in the Washington area since 1966. He was a leader in Temple Micah, a D.C. Reform Jewish congregation. He helped develop and institute the religious school and library throughout the 1970s and early 1980s. He also was an active member of Temple Solel and Mishkan Torah in Prince George’s County.

A life member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, he was chairman of the Civic Affairs Committee of the ASCE’s National Capital Section. In 1995, he wrote “A Voice in Cyberspace for Human Rights” in the ASCE publication Civil Engineering.

He was active in the classroom group called ReSET (Retired Scientists, Engineers and Technicians).

Mr. Mortman, who grew up above his father’s bakery in New York, demonstrated Jewish cooking at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s “Holiday Celebration” from the late 1980s to 2001. His dishes included knishes, rugelach, Jewish bow ties, potato latkes, and fruit and honey tzimmes, his final dish as a volunteer.

In 1992, he told The Washington Times this about being a cooking volunteer at the museum: “It’s a lot of fun and a lot of very interesting experiences. I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

He is survived by his wife, Rhoda Mortman of Greenbelt; two sons, Jerome Mortman of Kensington and Howard Mortman of McLean; and a granddaughter.

Peter Foy, 79,theatrical flying expert

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Peter Foy, a specialist in theatrical effects who enabled Peter Pan to fly across the stage and launched the Flying Nun skyward, died Feb. 17 of a heart attack in Las Vegas. He was 79.

Mr. Foy founded Flying By Foy, a theatrical flying effects company that sent Mary Martin, Sandy Duncan and Cathy Rigby soaring across stages in the role of Peter Pan.

He worked in television and movies, sending aloft such stars as Dean Martin, Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Lucille Ball and Jerry Lewis. He enabled Sally Field to fly on television’s “The Flying Nun,” Garth Brooks at a concert at Texas Stadium, Nadia Comaneci over Times Square and Liberace with his piano.

Mr. Foy was born in London. He began his career as a child actor and took his first onstage flight as a teenager in the play “Where the Rainbow Ends.”

He later went to work for the premier theatrical flying company in Britain, Kirby’s Flying Ballets, which sent him to New York in 1950 for a Broadway production of “Peter Pan,” starring Jean Arthur as Peter Pan and Boris Karloff as Captain Hook.

He returned to the United States in 1954 to help Miss Martin fly in “Peter Pan.” At her urging, Mr. Foy invented a device that allowed movement across the stage and carried actors higher, faster and more smoothly than before.

His Broadway credits also included “The Lion King,” “Angels in America” and “Aida.” He also worked on the movie “Fantastic Voyage,” which won an Oscar for special effects; the opening ceremony of the 2004 Athens Olympics; the Ice Capades, and numerous rock extravaganzas, operas and ballets.

Mr. Foy is survived by his wife, Barbara; a sister; a son; a daughter; and two grandchildren.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide