Louis J. Kern, a civil engineer and Naval officer who worked on many important civilian and military construction projects during the middle part of the 20th century, died on March 23, 2004 in New Rochelle, at age 94. He was a Port Washington resident for 37 years and also lived for a time in Manhasset.
In a Naval career that included service during WWII and the Korean conflict, Mr. Kern rose to the rank of commander in the Civil Engineer Corps - which came to be known as the Seabees - and worked on construction projects from Newfoundland to Pearl Harbor to Okinawa. As a civilian, he worked on projects ranging from the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge in the 1930s to the Third Water Tunnel in the 1960s and 1970s.
Born in Brooklyn on March 1, 1910, Mr. Kern grew up in Elmhurst, Queens and received a civil engineering degree from the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn in 1932. Soon he was employed by Pan American Airways where he worked on design and planning for the company's Pacific airbases at Honolulu, Midway, Wake, Guam and Manila and where he encountered such glamorous figures as Charles Lindbergh. In 1937, Mr. Kern joined the engineering firm Madigan-Hyland and worked on various projects in the New York metropolitan area during the next four years, the most prominent of which was the construction of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge.
Nine months before the attack on Pearl Harbor and America's entry into WWII, Mr. Kern volunteered for active duty in the Civil Engineer Corps of the United States Naval Reserve. During the early days of the war he was based at Norfolk, Virginia, where he worked on 95 construction projects as part of a major expansion of Naval facilities. From the summer of 1942 until early 1944 he was in charge of construction and maintenance at the Naval Air Station and operating base at Argentia, Newfoundland. There he eventually became executive officer of the Tenth Naval Construction Regiment supervising three "Seabee" construction battalions consisting of more than 3000 officers and technicians.
In the waning months of the war, Mr. Kern was named commanding officer of the 74th Naval "Seabee" Construction Battalion and ordered to Okinawa where he was put in charge of the construction of the Yonabaru Naval Air Station, which was used in operations against the Japanese mainland. He was promoted to commander while stationed at Okinawa and was there when the Pacific war ended.
After a stint as a consulting engineer in private practice, Mr. Kern went back on active duty and served during the Korean conflict and the darkest days of the cold war. In the late 1940s he was in charge of the construction of 35 Naval Training Centers in the northeastern United States and by the early 1950s he was given the task of defending Naval shore facilities against atomic, biological and chemical warfare. He wrote the first Navy manual on the subject - "Defense Against Atomic Warfare for Naval Shore Stations."
Later, Mr. Kern served as the public works officer and officer in charge of construction at the Naval Air Station at Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, and subsequently had the same responsibilities at the Naval Supply Center at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
Returning to civilian life in the 1960s, Mr. Kern joined the Board of Water Supply in New York City where he worked on the construction of the city's Third Water Tunnel until his retirement in 1975. It was during this period that he advised Monsignor Thomas Conerty, the pastor of St. Peter of Alcantara Church, on the construction of the new school building and auxiliary church.
Mr. Kern is survived by his wife Edith with whom he recently celebrated his 56th anniversary and by four children: Louis, Jr., of New Rochelle; Therese Marcus of Burlingame, CA.; Karen of New York City and John of Manhasset, all of whom attended St. Peter's and St. Mary's High School in Manhasset. He is also survived by six grandchildren: Kathleen, Patricia, Susan and Deborah of New Rochelle and Matthew and Jack of Manhasset.
On April 6 Mr. Kern was laid to rest with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery within view of the Pentagon where he once worked and the Washington Monument where he proposed to his wife more than a half century ago.
Helen Conrad (nee Leyden), 96, of Port Washington, died on March 31, 2004. Helen was preceded in death by her husband Harry E. She is survived by her children, Thomas, Charles and Brenda; her grandchildren, Jane and Thomas, Lisa and Kimberly; and three great-grandchildren. Arrangements were made by the Austin F. Knowles Funeral Home, Port Washington. Religious service at the funeral home. Interment Nassau Knolls Cemetery. Donations in her memory may be made to the charity of your choice.
James C. Horton, of Atlanta, passed away quietly on April 6, 2004. He was preceded in death by his parents, James C. and Ebba Brorstrom Horton. He is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Elizabeth Easterbrook Horton. He also leaves behind seven adoring children, James C. (Cheryl) of Birmingham, AL, Carol Pugh (Emmett) of Beckley, WV, Thomas E. (Barbara) of Atlanta, GA, Peter J. (Kathy) of Birmingham, Nancy Borda (Luke) of Greenville, DE, William P. (Maura) of Birmingham and Lisa LeGate (Duane) of Atlanta. He is also survived by 18 grandchildren, who love him and will miss grandpa dearly, Charlie Pugh, Julie Pugh Morton, Michael Pugh, Jimmy Horton, Tiffany Horton, Alex Horton, Joel Horton, Kimberly Horton, Peter Horton, David Horton, Paul Horton, Luke Borda, Will Borda, Garrett Horton, Kate Horton, John Horton, William LeGate, Matthew LaGate and Mark LeGate; and two great-granddaughters, Ayden Horton and Sara Pugh.
Mr. Horton was born in Port Washington on Oct. 18, 1924. He was a 1946 graduate of Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ, receiving a degree of mechanical engineering. He served with the US Navy during WWII. After his discharge he worked at Western Union and Lewis Associates of LI before going to work for Carrier Air Conditioning from 1951 until his retirement in 1985. Mr. Horton was active in numerous community and professional groups. He served as a volunteer fireman in Port Washington and for many years was actively involved in Scouting with his children. He founded Horton Controls, Inc. of Birmingham with his sons in 1985, and served on its board, and was instrumental in its success. He was one of the founders of Weathertech company in 1989 in Birmingham, and served actively on its board. He was a member of ASHRAE for over 50 years. He was a member of Holy Spirit Catholic Church.
Mr. Horton was a devoted husband, father and grandfather and will be dearly missed by his family. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, PO Box 450405, Atlanta, GA 31145. A Funeral Mass was celebrated at Holy Spirit Catholic Church on April 12 with Father Luke Ballman, celebrant. Interment Arlington Memorial Park. Arrangements were made by H.M. Patterson & Son, Arlington Chapel, Sandy Springs, GA.
Gertrude G. Conde (DeMeo), 95, of Port Washington, died on Apsril 10, 2004. She was preceded in death by her husband Samuel and her grandson Vincent Napoliello III. She is survived by her daughters, Maureen Napoliello (Dr. Vincent) of Pompton Plains, NJ, and Vivian Eriksen (Ralph) of Bethpage. Gertrude is also survived by her grandchildren, Dr. David Napoliello (Diana), Eileen, Steven, Nancy, Ralph Jr. and her great-grandchildren, David, Dylan and Samuel; and many nieces and nephews. Gertrude was past president of the Atlantic Hook & Ladder Women's Auxiliary, a member of the Columbiettes, a volunteer for the American Red Cross during WWII, worked on the Board of Elections, and was a proud member of both the Catholic Daughters and the Guild at St. Peter of Alcantara RC Church. Arrangements were made by the Austin F. Knowles Funeral Home, Port Washington. Mass of Christian Burial celebrated at St. Peter of Alcantara RC Church. Interment Nassau Knolls Cemetery.