Herbert M. Avram

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Decorated World War II veteran, U.S. Government Analyst, pioneer in the development of the digital court reporting industry, and Master Chess Player died January 15, 2006 at age 92 at his home in California, Maryland.

Mr. Avram's U.S. Navy career as a Lt. Commander during World War II included key assignments in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theatres. From 1941 to 1942, he was assigned to the USS New York and BB-34; and the Amphibious Force from 1942 to 1943. He was part of the Amphibious Force Pacific Attack, Transport Ships, from 1943-1945. Mr. Avram's very proud achievement is memorialized in the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., as a World War II Honoree. Mr. Avram's decorations include the American Theatre Ribbon, American Defense Ribbon, European-African-Middle Eastern Ribbon with Two Stars, Asiatic-Pacific Ribbon with Five Stars, Victory Medal World War II-Occupation of Japan, and Philippine Liberation Ribbon. In 1951, Mr. Avram moved to Arlington, Virginia, to work as an Analyst with the National Security Agency; after service with NSA, he went on to work with the Central Intelligence Agency. He left government service to follow his interests in the burgeoning digital court reporting market in the early 60s. A pioneer in this business, Mr. Avram and several others founded Stenocomp Corporation of Falls Church, Virginia. In the 70s, Stenocomp was ac quired by a new company, Translation Systems, Inc. Today, another practical application of Mr. Avram's early pioneering work is Closed Captions as seen on television.

Mr. Avram's long-time relationship with both the chess and backgammon communities began at the age of 6, when he learned the game of chess from his uncle Julius. Soon, he was a regular at the now renowned Manhattan Chess Club and went on to play at both national and international tournaments, with many tournament championships. In 1974, he was awarded a Life Master ranking from the U.S. Chess Federation. His more memorable victories included the defeat of the then 14-year-old, Bobby Fischer, at the West Orange, New Jersey, Open in 1957. Mr. Avram was proud to have attended St. Lawrence College, in Canton, New York, his freshman year. When Mr. Avram's father, Mois, was awarded an engineering commission in Istanbul, Turkey, Mr. Avram, then a teen, accompanied his parents and transferred to Robert College in Istanbul. It is from Robert College that he earned his degree.

His formal education was superseded by his logical mind and life education. His Mensa membership was a personally important achievement. Every conversation, even if it began small, went down many surprising paths and often grew to unpredictable proportions. And anyone who knew him, knew that politics was off-limits, unless you were ready for his energetic - and often emotional - debate.

Most significantly, Mr. Avram impacted everyone he met. His quick smile and easy style made lifelong friends everywhere he went. His optimistic attitude and love of life were legend; everyone he touched will sorely miss his presence.

Mr. Avram was passionate about the Redskins and the Republican Party. But his primary passion was his wife of 64 years, Henriette, for whom his love and pride in her professional accomplishments were obvious to all. In addition to his beloved wife, Henriette, Mr. Avram is survived by his three children, Lloyd David Avram, Key West, Florida; Marcie Lynn Avram, Manhattan, New York; and Jay Randy Avram, Arlington, Virgina. Formal funeral services will be held at Fort Myer Chapel, Arlington, VA on Monday, May 1, 2006 at 1 p.m.; everyone must assemble at the Chapel by 12:30 p.m. Inurnment will follow with Full Military Honors at Arlington National Cemetery Columbarium. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made in his name to the American Cancer Society, 11331 Amherst Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20902. Please view and sign the family guestbook at www.pumphreyfuneralhome.com. May 1, 2006 details and directions are also available at the above web address or call Pumphrey's Colonial Funeral Home, 301/762-3939.

Published in The Washington Post on Jan. 22, 2006