Walter John Carrion, 83, aeronautical engineer

June 20, 2005

Walter John Carrion, a retired aeronautical engineer and dog fancier, died of congestive heart failure June 12 at St. Elizabeth's Nursing Home. The Halethorpe resident was 83 years old.

Born in Baltimore and raised on North Ellwood Avenue, he was a 1940 City College graduate. During World War II he was a Navy pilot and navigator, and later served in Korea. He attained the rank of lieutenant commander.

He earned a bachelor's degree in aeronautical engineering from Catholic University of America in 1949.

Mr. Carrion worked briefly at Aberdeen Proving Ground and then went to work at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, where he developed precision optical tracking instruments and worked on the 1969 lunar landing. He worked with the Gemini and Apollo programs, as well as the satellite-tracking system in Wallops Island, Va., and White Sands, N.M.

In 1978, he was named chief of the Engineering Services Division and helped develop Goddard's technician apprentice program before retiring in 1980.

Mr. Carrion trained Chesapeake Bay and Labrador retrievers and was a founding member of the Maryland Retriever Club.

A Mass was offered Thursday at St. Louis Roman Catholic Church, where he was a member.

Survivors include his wife of 20 years, Gloria Smith-Watson; three sons, the Rev. Michael W. Carrion, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Baynesville, Dr. Timothy J. Carrion of Owings Mills and the Rev. Patrick M. Carrion, an official with the Archdiocese of Baltimore; a stepson, William W. Watson III of Halethorpe; two stepdaughters, Frann Goldsmith of Crownsville and Patricia Lookingland of Annapolis; and a grandson. His first wife of 33 years, the former Helen Flahavan, died in 1983.

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