- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 28, 2007

George Leoni Chesnut Jr., who translated biblical Greek and Chinese children’s poetry when he wasn’t using his linguistic skills at the National Security Agency, died April 20 of pneumonia at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington. He was 89.

Mr. Chesnut was a translator of more than 50 languages and served for 30 years as a civilian director of the NSA’s analytic section, retiring in 1979. He also taught Spanish part time at George Washington University.

In his spare time and in retirement, Mr. Chesnut worked with biblical Greek, conducting language seminars for churches in Northern Virginia. He also translated children’s poetry from Chinese to Spanish and English; compiled Serbian and Afghan Pashto dictionaries; and translated biblical texts into Dinka, the language of southern Sudan.

Mr. Chesnut was born in Waco, Texas, and grew up in Dallas. He enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin at 15 and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Spanish and German in four years.

During World War II, Mr. Chesnut served as an officer in Naval Intelligence. He joined the NSA after his discharge and was recalled to active duty during the Korean War.

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