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Alexander Paul Nagy

May 29, 1928 May 6, 2019
Alexander Paul Nagy
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Obituary for Alexander Paul Nagy

Alex P. Nagy died peacefully at his newly adopted home of Penick Village early Monday, May 6.

Alex was born in Donora, PA on May 29, 1928, the last of nine children of Margaret Marton Nagy and Stephen Nagy, Sr., both of whom emigrated from Hungary. He attended local schools and graduated from Donora Senior High School in 1945. He relocated to Washington, DC and was employed at the US Naval Research Laboratory as a clerk-typist.

During his 14 years at NRL, he progressed through a variety of clerical and administrative positions in several divisions, including Supply, Optics, and the Radiation Division. In the Radiation Division, he participated in Operation Greenhouse, the nuclear weapons testing program, and was slated to travel to the South Pacific for the first H-bomb test. This was 1951, the time of the Korean “police action,” and the US Army decided it had more need for Al’s services than did NRL.

His trip to Eniwetok and its beaches being spoiled, he decided not to wait for induction, and he volunteered for the draft, and took basic infantry training at Camp Breckinridge, KY with the 101st Airborne training division. The Counter Intelligence Corps selected him for training as an agent, and he completed the basic agent course at Ft. Holabird, MD. Assigned to Region IV of the 66th CIC Detachment, he served in Munich, Germany for a year before being honorably discharged in March 1953.

On returning to his employment at NRL, he served in the renamed Nucleonics Division (formerly the Radiation Division), until his promotion to the position of Administrative Assistant to the Director of the Atmosphere and Astrophysics Division.

On January 22, 1955, Nagy was married to the former Laura V. Domenick of Washington, DC, in a ceremony at St. Thomas More Church in Washington. They established residence in District Heights, MD, where they remained until relocating to Florida 23 years later.

Al’s A&A Division became Project Vanguard when NRL was awarded the job of developing and launching an Earth satellite as part of the US participation in the International Geophysical Year 1957-58. However, the Soviet Union shook the world when it eclipsed Vanguard, and indeed the US ballistic missile programs, when in October 1957 it launched the first Earth satellite, followed by a second one the following month. Vanguard One was finally launched in March 1958. Having returned several useful experiments and its tracking system is the ancestor to the marvelous taken-for-granted GPS (Global Positioning System), Vanguard One is the oldest man-made object still in orbit, with a projected lifetime in the thousands of years.

As a national response to the Soviet surprises, the US soon established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Al became a charter employee of its Goddard Space Flight Center. The early history of the space program makes fascinating reading, and Al was among its pioneers.

He later moved to NASA Headquarters, and advanced to an executive-level position as deputy assistant administrator for Public Affairs. Throughout his career, Al’s work was primarily in supporting roles. He took quiet satisfaction with his work results, but among his accomplishments, he is proud of being officially recognized by NASA for suggesting the name “Gemini” for the two-man space flight program, precursor to landing men on the Moon in 1969. His material reward was a bottle of Johnny Walker.

With the advent of the Space Shuttle, Al accepted assignment to the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida. As deputy to the Center’s Public Affairs Officer, he played a significant role in all the responsibilities of the Public Affairs office, including the expanding and busy Visitor Center. Rather than respond to a call to return to NASA Headquarters in Washington, he elected to retire from Federal service in 1981. His wife, Laura, was also employed at KSC.

After training, Al became a Registered Representative (Investment Broker) with A.G. Edwards and Sons, Inc., in Melbourne, FL, where he practiced as a retail investment broker for seven years. In 1991, with Laura’s retirement, they moved to Whispering Pines, NC to a new home on Whisper Lake where they remained for 14 years, until moving to Pinehurst Trace.

For about 15 years, Al taught a number of computer classes in the Continuing Education Division at Sandhills Community College. He developed and presented the first courses in digital photography, and in Quicken. Before becoming an instructor, he conducted a College for Kids summer session in model rocketry.

Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Laura Nagy; four sons; four grandsons; and one granddaughter. Stephen - sons, Michael (New Haven, CT) and Robert (Tampa, FLA) - lives in Cheshire, Conn. Paul and Drew - son, Christopher (Wilmington) - make their home in Durham. Son Tom lives in Hillsboro, Ore. John and his wife, Leslie, and their children, Loreleigh and Ayden, live in Pinehurst.A funeral mass will be held at noon Friday, May 10, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Pinehurst. A private interment will follow at St. Anthony's in Southern Pines. A reception at Penick Village will follow after the interment.

Services are entrusted to Boles Funeral Home of Southern Pines

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Funeral Mass




12:00 PM 5/10/2019 12:00:00 PM
Sacred Heart Catholic Church

300 Dundee Road
Pinehurst, NC 28370

Sacred Heart Catholic Church
300 Dundee Road Pinehurst 28370 NC
United States

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