He served in the Army for two years after being drafted in 1944 during WWII. He was deployed to the European Theater of Operations, volunteering for reconnaissance duty with the 3rd Reconnaissance Troop, 3rd Infantry Division, acting as point jeep machine gunner. Additionally, he served as unit clerk and was promoted to Operations Sergeant in charge of Headquarters Platoon. He was recipient of the Bronze Star, as well as a Purple Heart Medal after being shot in the leg during action in Germany.
He was awarded a Ph.D. in Physiological Psychology from the University of Illinois in 1955. Previously, he earned his B.A. in psychology in 1950 from Ohio University, after beginning his college studies at the Biarritz American University in France while still in the Army.
He served on university and college faculties for 12 years, teaching psychology and conducting research, including at Rockford College and the University of California-Davis. While at the University of California (1958-1966), he also conducted a landmark behavioral study of 800 beagle dogs in conjunction with the School of Veterinary Medicine and sponsored by the Atomic Energy Commission. During his sabbatical year, he was appointed a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution, where he studied conflict and compromise between groups and between individuals. His early experimental psychology research on attitudes and perceptions continues to be cited in the scientific literature.
He worked as an Administrative Scientist for the U.S. Government from 1967 to 1986, developing and overseeing programs in the areas of accident prevention in children, the development of rural health centers, integration of health and social service programs, and prevention of alcoholism. He received numerous awards and commendations for his work. He retired from the Health Care Finance Administration in 1986.
In 1983, he became interested in techniques of training dogs to detect termites and other wood destroying pests. Combining his love of dogs and his knowledge of animal psychology and principles of learning, he developed the Beacon method for training detection dogs, which emphasized positive reinforcement. In the years following his retirement, he trained dozens of beagle dogs for the pest control industry through his business, Beacon Dogs, Inc. The dogs, which were placed with pest control companies throughout the country, received considerable attention from the media as well as the pest control industry.
He was an avid reader and poet. Over the years, he was an active volunteer and advocate with various causes focused on human and civil rights. During his retirement he volunteered with Anne Arundel Medical Center. He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather, and enjoyed nothing more than spending time with his family. He and his wife, Marilyn, moved to Annapolis in 1979, where he loved to enjoy the quiet serenity of the Chesapeake Bay, often with a beagle companion by his side.
Survivors include his beloved wife of 57 years, Marilyn; daughter Andrea of Arlington, VA; daughter Valerie and her husband T.J. O'Connell of Centreville, MD; granddaughters Giavanna and Tamara O'Connell; and brother Walter of Niceville, FL. Interment will be in the Crownsville Veterans Cemetery.
Friends may gather with the family from 5-7 pm, Oct. 21, at the Podickory Point Yacht & Beach Club, 2116 Bay Front Terrace, Annapolis. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of the Chesapeake, 445 Defense Highway, Annapolis, MD 21401