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Harry Frederick Painter
Colonel, United States Marine Corps
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From a contemporary press report:

Harry Fredrick Painter, 80, who retired from the Marine Corps in 1970 as a Colonel and who was a biology professor emeritus at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, died of pancreatic cancer October 13, 2001,  at the Hospice of Northern Virginia.

Colonel Painter spent 26 years in the Marine Corps, during which time he served in the Pacific theater during World War II and saw combat in the wars in Korea and Vietnam. His last active-duty assignment was as an infantryman in Vietnam, and he retired on disability because of a bad heart.

He was a recipient of two awards of the Legion of Merit with combat V and one award of the Bronze Star with combat V.

At NOVA, for about 15 years before retiring in 1986, he conducted classes in biology, anatomy and physiology.

Colonel Painter, an Annandale resident, was born in San Pedro, California. He was a graduate of San Diego State University and received a master's degree in biology from George Mason University.

He was a former president of the Tropical Medicine Association of Washington and former chairman of the Virginia Academy of Science biology section. His memberships included Sigma Xi honorary scientific research society and the Entomology Society of Washington.

Survivors include his wife of 59 years, Johnnie Maull Painter of Annandale; four children, Mary K. Wilson of Palo Alto, Calif., Nancy Nichols of Plattsmouth, Neb., Helen Nigh of Woodbridge and David S. Painter of Chantilly; 11 grandchildren; and
seven great-grandchildren.


The biology department is mourning the death of one of its favorite colleagues, Harry Painter, who passed away on October 13, 2001 at the hospice in Arlington at the age of 80. A memorial service was held in Harry’s honor on Tuesday, November 13,
2001 at Ft. Myer Chapel. Harry retired in 1985 from his full-time position in the biology department and, shortly thereafter, was named Professor Emeritus. He returned to campus to teach a few classes thereafter as a favor to the college when the adjunct pool was low. He also was a loyal returnee to our division parties and enjoyed attending our end-of-the-year party last spring.

Prior to teaching at NVCC, Harry retired from the Marine Corps after 26 years of service. Known as Colonel Painter in those days, Harry served in the Pacific theater during World War II and saw combat in the wars in Korea and Vietnam. His last active duty assignment was as an infantryman in Vietnam, and he retired on a disability due to cardiac problems. He was a recipient of two awards of the Legion of Merit with combat V and one award of the Bronze Star with combat V. Harry also taught in the NROTC program at Stanford and in the Marine Corps Schools and served in the Joint Planning Group working with the JCS.

A long-standing interest in biology was rekindled when Harry matriculated at George Mason University in that department after his retirement from the Marines. It had been quite awhile since he had received his B.S. degree in zoology from San Diego State College in 1943, but Harry got right into the swing of things and completed his M.S. degree in 1971. Then Harry came to VCC and made many contributions to the biology department during his 14-year stay. He worked closely with Edith Trott during those years, teaching anatomy, physiology and microbiology in Natural Science 111, 112 and 113 (now know as NAS 161-
162) to allied health students when we were on the quarter system. His students respected him greatly and he was well-known as a kind and helpful professor who was always available to help and encourage students. Harry shared an office with Ralph Eckerlin and did research with him, collecting and identifying different species of fleas. Together they co-authored numerous scientific papers on that subject. One of the real highlights of their scientific contributions was a paper they presented at the International Congress of Parasitology in Brisbane, Australia in 1986. A former President of the Tropical Medicine Association of Washington, Harry was also a former chairman of the biology section of the Virginia Academy of Science. His memberships included Sigma Xi honorary scientific research society and the Entomology Society of Washington.

Harry had a series of cardiovascular problems that started in 1981 when he had his first open heart surgery (a six-way bypass) at Bethesda Naval Hospital. He made a quick recovery from that, but then in 1995 while at the same hospital picking up a prescription, he had his second heart attack. The next morning he had his second bypass (four-way) operation. Shortly there-
after, his doctor detected an abdominal aortic aneurysm during a routine physical examination. After doing ultrasound and a MRI, they decided to operate again in 1996. They replaced 15cm of Harry’s aorta, extending down into the left common iliac artery, with a dacron polyester graft. Then a few months later doctors found a popliteal aneurysm and corrected that. In July, 2000, Harry was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He fought a valiant battle with the disease and continued to perform his
research on fleas with Ralph until his death. Harry and his beloved wife of 59 years, Audrey, of Annandale were married in their senior year in college and enjoyed 59 companionable and rewarding years together. Their four children are Mary Wilson of
Palo Alto, California; Nancy Nichols, of Plattsmouth, Nebraska; Helen Nigh of Woodbridge; and David Painter of Chantilly. There are 11 grandchildren, and 7 greatgrandchildren. Harry will be long remembered, loved and admired by his peers at the college for his kind ways, his knowledge, and his great sense of humor. A man of universal interests, Harry will be sorely missed by his family, friends and associates.


PAINTER, HARRY FREDERICK, Col. USMC (Ret.)

On Saturday, October 13, 2001 at the Hospice of Northern Virginia, Arlington, Virginia. Beloved husband of Audrey Painter of Annandale, VA; father of Mary K. Wilson of Palo Alto, California, Nancy Nichols, of Plattsmouth, Nebraska, Helen Nigh of Woodbridge, Virginia, and David Painter of Chantilly, Virginia. He is also survived by 11 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Memorial services will be held at the Arcola United Methodist Church, 24725 Evergreen Mill Rd., Arcola, VA on Monday, October 15, at 11 a.m. Inurnment at the Arlington National Cemetery Columbarium at later date to be announced.


Posted: 4 November 2001 Updated: 24 July 2002  Updated: 1 December 2004 Updated: 20 November 2005
Legion of Merit - 2 Awards
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Bronze Star Medal