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James A. Chamblee, 66, computer scientist


James Anderson Chamblee, a retired computer scientist who made two voyages across the Atlantic in a 45-foot ketch, died of heart failure Aug. 18 at Howard County General Hospital. The Columbia resident was 66.

Mr. Chamblee was born and raised in Wilmington, N.C., and earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the State University of New York at New Paltz.

He began working for International Business Machines in 1959 and helped develop an electronic reservation system for American Airlines and automation of the New York Stock Exchange.

Mr. Chamblee moved to Savage in 1963 when he took a job at the University of Maryland Computer Science Center in College Park. In the early 1970s, he established Samson Marine on U.S. 1 in Savage, where he built and sold ferro-cement boats with concrete hulls.

"He designed the first cement skipjack sailboat and authored a book on the subject," said a daughter, Andrea E. Chamblee of Silver Spring.

"We took two Atlantic voyages and one to Bermuda on the Choson One. They were beautiful and awe-inspiring," she said. "My mother refused to go. On the trip to Bermuda we ran into a gale and got tossed around a lot less than a lighter boat because of the cement hull."

After the state purchased his Savage property for road construction in 1974, Mr. Chamblee moved to Clarksville. He had lived in Columbia since 1995.

From 1974 to 1984, he worked for the Environmental Protection Agency and spent the last decade of his career, until retiring in 1994, at the Army's Harry Diamond Laboratories in Adelphi.

Services are private.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife of 46 years, the former Eileen Wandell; two sons, James A. Chamblee of Frederick and Jeffrey A. Chamblee of Columbia; another daughter, Cynthia J. Chamblee of Eldersburg; two brothers, Lawrence W. Chamblee of Los Angeles and Thomas Chamblee of Tampa, Fla.; and three grandchildren.

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