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John Graham Hartwell, Sr.
Viewing: January 13, 2017 (Friday) from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Service: January 14, 2017 (Saturday) at 2:00 p.m.
Location: Church of the Ascension, 205 S. Summit Ave., Gaithersburg, MD 20877

John Graham Hartwell, Sr., 85, of Silver Spring, Maryland, passed away peacefully at his home on Sunday, January 8, 2017.

A native of eastern Massachusetts, Graham graduated from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in 1951, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Seamanship and Navigation.  He began his career in the Merchant Marine as an officer on various passenger and cargo ships, visiting ports across Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America.  He later served his country in the Navy’s Pacific Fleet on the USS Oak Hill. 

While at sea, Graham considered questions involving astronomy, mathematics and celestial navigation.  His curiosity led him to pursue his second academic career in mathematics, during which he earned both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science in Mathematics from the University of Florida, and later performed graduate work in Astronomy at Yale University. Graham subsequently derived the most mathematically precise model of planetary motion in the solar system which also had applications for man-made satellites, rockets and other spacecraft.  Published in 1967, this major innovation in applied mathematics was instrumental in success of the Apollo program, and is still used today in global positioning systems, artificial satellite control systems, and other commercial and military applications. 

Graham co-founded Old Dominion Systems, Inc., a software programming firm, and received the Small Business Administration Person of the Year Award (Washington, D.C. District) in 1976.  He later co-founded Microlog Corporation, a telecommunications pioneer.  Graham served as CEO of both companies, which were publicly traded and employed 450 people.

For 40 years, Graham was a steadfast member of the choir at the Church of the Ascension in Gaithersburg.  In addition, he was an ardent bridge player who achieved Life Master status in bridge competition with the American Contract Bridge League.  He thoroughly enjoyed growing chrysanthemums, flying airplanes, downhill skiing and raising Irish Wolfhounds.

Graham is survived by his daughter, two sons, and six grandchildren.

The family will be receiving those wishing to pay their respects at DeVol Funeral Home, 10 East Deer Park Drive, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 20877, on Friday, January 13th, between the hours of 6 pm and 8 pm.  A funeral service will be held at Church of the Ascension at 205 South Summit Avenue, Gaithersburg, Maryland, 20877, on Saturday, January 14th, at 2:00 pm.  In lieu of flowers, his family requests that donations be made to the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, care of the “John Hartwell Scholarship Fund,” Office of Advancement, 101 Academy Drive, Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, 02532.

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