Jack A. Lawrence, whose career as a cryptographer spanned nearly four decades, died Dec. 19 of pulmonary fibrosis at Riderwood Village, a Silver Spring retirement community.
The longtime Columbia resident was 85.
He was born and raised in Chicago, where he graduated from public schools.
After serving in Army intelligence from 1945 to 1946, he earned a degree in mathematics in 1951 from the University of Dubuque.
He began working in 1951 for the National Security Agency as a security analyst and later became a cryptographer.
He retired in 1990.
Mr. Lawrence had been a member of the American Cryptogram Association for more than 60 years and had been active in the NSA Kryptos Society since its founding.
"In fact, he was the member who suggested the name chosen by the cryptography club," said a son-in-law, Sheldon Pelovitz, who lives in Columbia.
A singer, he performed with barbershop quartets and choruses for more than six decades.
He also collected stamps and coins, and was a crossword puzzle enthusiast.
Services were held Friday at the Riderwood Chapel in Silver Spring.
Also surviving is his wife of 63 years, the former Markie Hoke; a son, Jay Lawrence of Rochester, Minn.; two daughters, Kaye Pelovitz of Columbia and Janet Hunter of Ashburn, Va.; four granddaughters; and a great-granddaughter.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun