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Kenneth M. Nagler

Kenneth M. Nagler

Jun 26, 1920 - Mar 12, 2022

Kenneth M. Nagler - Obituary


enneth Nagler (Ken) died peacefully in his sleep on March 11th at the age of 101. Ken had a long and interesting career as a Meteorologist for the U.S. Government and an equally accomplished second career as an American Kennel Club dog show obedience judge. Ken loved the natural world and all the creatures in it, but dogs most of all. He and his wife, Nan, traveled widely after he retired, visiting all seven continents and nearly 50 countries, from China to Peru to New Guinea. Starting when he turned 13 until he was a young adult he shared an intense interest in racing homing pigeons with his father and one spectacular win remained one of his fondest memories. He and his cousins canoed most of the Connecticut River when they weren’t roaming the nearby woodlands. Ken’s passion for animals lasted his entire life. Kenneth Malcolm Nagler was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on June 26, 1920 to Herbert and Elizabeth Nagler. His mother died when he was eight years old. He was raised by his loving father and a generous extended family of German aunts, uncles, and cousins. Ken excelled at Classical High School in Springfield and he graduated from Massachusetts State College before it was renamed the University of Massachusetts. He joined the Navy in 1942 and was sent to the Naval Weather Station in Washington, D.C. for training as a Meteorologist. Ken was assigned in 1945 to investigate German advances in Meteorology across Europe. After returning to the U.S. in 1946, he left the Navy and enrolled at the University of Chicago to pursue a Master’s degree in Meteorology. It was at Chicago that he met the love of his life, Nan. They wed in 1947 and were married for 70 years. After completing his degree, Ken and Nan moved to Washington, D.C., ultimately settling in Hyattsville, MD, where they raised three daughters and owned numerous dogs. Ken began work at the Weather Bureau in 1948. There he was asked to join a new highly secret project where he was part of a small team that forecast the weather for atomic weapons testing. He travelled extensively to Nevada and the Pacific test ranges and observed numerous nuclear tests. Before one test he ascended a 700 foot tower with a colleague, observed the live nuclear bomb in a small room at the top, and then climbed to the roof of that structure to enjoy the view into nearby Area 51. After live nuclear testing wound down, Ken was again asked to head a new, high profile team to forecast the weather for the Mercury space program launches and recoveries. His team went on to serve the Gemini and Apollo programs as well as Skylab. Ken sometimes rode with the astronauts to the launch pad to give them their final weather briefing, most notably with John Glenn. Ken retired in 1976. He and Nan focused more on the Canine Training Association which they had been involved with since 1958. Ken would ultimately lead the CTA for 40 years. Together with their three daughters they raised Dalmatians and Standard Poodles. They won numerous titles for their dogs in obedience and conformation shows over the years. In 1971 Ken became an AKC Obedience judge. He was a very popular judge and was often gone for weekends to obedience trials all over the eastern part of the country. Ken also loved to write. He wrote poetic couplets to mark important occasions and compiled a Christmas newsletter in rhyme each year. He wrote and published two books of short stories as well as his autobiography, Weathering a Century. Ken made friends easily and was a valued colleague and friend to many people throughout his life. He had a wonderful sense of humor and always made people feel at ease. Ken was predeceased by his wife, Nan (Ann Blythe Hamilton) and his granddaughter Julia Beatty. He is survived by his daughters, Betty (Gregory Smith) of Winfield, IL, Janet (John Hanifin) of Silver Spring, MD, Susan (Charles Beatty) of Edgewater, MD, and a grandson, Paul Beatty (Anne Viccellio) of Baltimore. A memorial celebration will be held from 2 to 5 pm on Saturday, March 26th in the Columbia Room at the Rosensteel Hall, 9707 Rosensteel Ave., Silver Spring, MD. Beginning at 2 pm we welcome anyone with memories they’d like to share to speak. A reception will follow. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation, P.O Box 900061, Raleigh, NC 27675 (www.akcchf.org). Please take a moment to leave the family a condolence by visiting the Memories link on this page.