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NIAMS' Vanags Dies at Age 53

By Janet Howard

Brenda H. Vanags, NIAMS computer specialist, died on May 10 at the Lynn House, a Christian Science nursing facility. She was 53.

Vanags, a native of Montgomery County, graduated from Albert Einstein High School in 1964 and attended the University of Maryland. She then studied at the International Academy in Brentwood, Md., and received a certificate in computer programming in 1968.

Vanags was hired by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 1968. Later she joined NIA and in 1987 came to NIAMS.

Pat Maloney, chief of the NIAMS Scientific and Technical Information Branch (SITB), said, "Brenda's consistently good attitude, her concern for others, and her professional dedication to her responsibilities at NIAMS were inspirational."

Vanags' longtime coworker Donald Hawkins said, "Brenda was quite a good application programmer, and we will sorely miss her."

Carolyn McHale, who retired in 1998 as chief of the former NIAMS Scientific Information and Data Systems Branch (SIDS, now SITB), was Vanags' supervisor from 1983 until 1998 at NIA and NIAMS. She said, "What a shock to hear of Brenda's death. She was a very dedicated, hard working, and loyal person who always happily provided any information needed, no matter how difficult or complex the task. I knew whatever I asked Brenda to do, it would be done efficiently and accurately. I could always depend on her. It was a pleasure to be friends with her for over 15 years."

Retired NIAMS computer specialist Nancy Walther said, "Brenda was a sweet, kind person. She never spoke ill of anyone. There was not a mean bone in her body."

Vanags, a member of the ADP/EP community, was an expert in the IMPAC data system.

She was active in the First Church of Christian Science in Silver Spring, where she volunteered as church secretary.

She is survived by her former husband, Imants Vanags, and her father, Edgar Henry Heald. Contributions may be made to her church or to the Brenda Vanags Memorial Tree Fund, c/o Anne Connors, NIAMS, 45/5AS19A.

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