Walter J. Lafferty

February 10, 1934 ~ December 27, 2018 (age 84)

Walter J. Lafferty, of Silver Spring, MD, died peacefully on December 27, 2018. After receiving an undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Delaware, he entered M.I.T. and earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry. He then served a post-doctoral year in the chemistry department at Johns Hopkins University. After starting his long career at the National Bureau of Standards (NBS), now known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), he co-authored over 100 papers as well as a book. He was awarded the Leverhulme Fellowship, allowing him to spend a year teaching and doing research at Reading University in the U.K., and a Silver Medal for Meritorious Service from the Department of Commerce. After retiring from NIST in 1997, he went to Madrid for six months to lecture and do research at the Spanish National Research Council. Despite retiring he continued working as an emeritus at NIST until recently. His portrait is now a permanent part of the NIST “Gallery of Alumni.” His hobbies included amateur radio and bridge.

Surviving Walter are his wife, Mary (Patten) Lafferty; his daughters Anne Lafferty, Maura Lafferty, Clare Lafferty, Ellen Lafferty, Paula Lafferty, and Brenda Kawahara; his sister, Margaret Lazusky; and four grandchildren – Megan, Lauren, & Patrick Kawahara, and Justin Baba. 

Visitation will begin at 11am on Wednesday, January 2, 2019 at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church, 15663 Norbeck Blvd, Silver Spring, MD 20906, where Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 12noon. Interment to follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Silver Spring, MD. 

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill), P.O. Box 49104, Baltimore, MD 21297. 

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