William E. Caswell

Thursday, September 13, 2001; Page A11

William E. Caswell, 54, of Silver Spring, was a physicist and former University of Maryland faculty member who worked as a civilian for the Navy.

Caswell boarded American Airlines Flight 77 for a business trip to Los Angeles. His wife, Jean, talked to him for the last time when he called from his car on the way to the airport.

Caswell graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park and received his doctorate in elementary particle theory from Princeton University. He did postdoctoral research at Stanford and Brown universities and taught physics at the University of Maryland before beginning work for the Navy almost 20 years ago, said his father, Randall Caswell, 77, also of Silver Spring.

"He worked for the Navy, on some secret project that I don't know the details of," Randall Caswell said yesterday. "He was happy, very happy, in this world. It is a shame to lose him."

Caswell was born in Boston, the oldest of six children, and lived most of his life in Silver Spring. He loved sports such as volleyball and squash and was very competitive.

At the same time, his father said, he was easygoing "and was never mean to anyone."

Caswell's daughter, Jennifer, 17, is a senior at Montgomery Blair High School.

-- Craig Whitlock

2001 The Washington Post Company