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Howard T. Phelan

October 19, 1936 April 26, 2016
Howard T. Phelan
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Obituary for Howard T. Phelan

Howard T. Phelan, 79, died Tuesday, April 26th  at the home of his daughter, Victoria T. Conte, in Scituate, RI.  Born in Chevy Chase, MD, he was a son of the late Arthur J. and Elton (Taylor) Phelan.  He has been living in Rhode Island for the past three years, having previously lived in Laguna Beach, CA for twenty years, as well as having been a long time resident of Connecticut.
Howard had a thirty five year professional career in financial and technical management.  He was the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Natural Gas Vehicles Systems, Inc. in Los Angeles where he worked for 17 years until retiring in 2009.   Prior to his move to California, he worked with the Caithness Corporation in New York City.  He was President and Chief Executive Officer of Welsbach Corporation.  During Kingman Brewster Jr.’s presidency at Yale University, Howard was the Chief Business Officer for five years.  Prior to working with Kingman Brewster, Howard held a position as Senior Management Consultant at Arthur D. Little, Inc.
One of Howard’s greatest accomplishments was that he authored a theory on satellite orbit computations which afforded NASA’s manned space flights to successfully reenter the earth’s atmosphere.He lectured on this theory at the Goddard Space Center in Beltsville, MD to fellow scientists.  Howard worked with other experts to write The Atomic Energy Deskbook while employed at Arthur D. Little, Inc.
Howard was a member of the graduating class of 1958 from Yale University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nuclear Physics.  In 1968, Howard received an honorary Master’s degree from Yale.  His secondary education was completed at the Landon School in Maryland in 1954.
While at Yale, Howard was a member of Skull and Bones and played on Yale’s football team all four years including when they went undefeated in 1956.  Yale was always a big part of his life, inspiring his creation of the Howard T. Phelan Scholarship Fund for Yale undergraduates.
Howard is survived by his two daughters, Elizabeth A. Phelan of Huntersville, NC and Victoria T. Conte of Scituate, RI, and Victoria’s three children:  Christine E. Conte, Catherine T. Conte, and Kevin T. Conte.  He is also survived by his sister, Anne McCloskey, and predeceased by his brother, Arthur J. Phelan, Jr.  Howard was the longtime partner of the late Doris L. Byrne.
Private family services will be held in the DC area.
Donations in his memory may be made online to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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