Capt. James T. Pendergrass

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PENDERGRASS JAMES T. PENDERGRASS Captain USN (Ret.) Died Tuesday, February 3, 2009 in Hightstown, NJ at age 90. Born in Bala Cynwyd, PA he earned a BA in economics from Cornell University and an MA in mathematics from Columbia University before entering the Navy in 1941. His navy career was primarily in the cryptologic service. He spent World War II breaking the German U-Boat ciphers (naval enigma), ending the war as liaison officer to the British cryptologic organization at Bletchley Park. In the summer of 1946 he attended the famous special course on digital computers at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania conducted by John Von Neuman. His report from that course and his subsequent leadership were instrumental in establishing the naval cryptologic service‘s pioneering program to develop electronic digital computers. After a distinguished naval career he retired in 1965. He spent the following 15 years working as a mathematician at the Institute for Defense Analysis in Princeton NJ. His avocation was swimming and he was a nationally ranked Masters swimmer. Captain Pendergrass is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jean Pendergrass; his brother John Pendergrass of Cincinnati; his daughter Nancy Scott; son Bill Pendergrass; daughter-in-law Shane Pendergrass; and grandchildren Ian Scott, Cayley Pendergrass Rice and her husband Dustin Rice, and J. Aaron Pendergrass and his fiancé Erin Allen. He will be inurned at Arlington National Cemetary at 9 a.m. Tuesday, February 24. Memorial donations may be made either to Presbyterian Homes of New Jersey Foundation, 13 Rozel Road, Suite C120, PO Box 2184, Princeton NJ 08543 or to Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, One Intrepid Square, West 46th Street and 12th Avenue New York, NY 10036 (http:// www.fallenheroesfund.org/Donate.aspx ).

Published in The Washington Post on Feb. 15, 2009
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