Frank Walker Seal, 82, an electrician who installed the lights atop the Washington Monument, died of cancer Dec. 3 at Greenspring Village
retirement community in Springfield.
Mr. Seal, a ninth-generation Washingtonian and longtime Chevy Chase resident, was born in the District and graduated from Central High
School in 1942. In World War II, he served in the Seventh Armored Division of the Army, and he received a Silver Star for bravery and the
Purple Heart for wounds he received in fighting around the town of St. Vith, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge. In his 10 months of
combat, two tanks in which he was riding were blown up during the Allies' final push into Germany. His unit lost 14 of its 17 tanks during his
He was particularly proud of helping liberate some of the great cathedrals of Europe, including Chartres in France.
After his discharge in 1946, he enrolled at George Washington University and received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in
1950. He joined the family business, Seal and Co. Electric, founded in the District in 1923 by his father, and served as president of the
company until its 1995 merger with Walker Electric.
In addition to illuminating the Washington Monument in 1968, Mr. Seal's company installed a communications system for Metro, the
moveable-carriage book distribution system in the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library of Congress, the Navy Sub-Communications
Towers in Annapolis and the District's Early Warning System. He also helped install an underwater communications cable beneath the
Potomac connecting the Pentagon and the White House.
In 1968, during the Vietnam War, his company helped lay a concrete-encased secret communications line in the city then known as Saigon
(now Ho Chi Minh City). He later told his son the only way he could get the kind of gravel needed was to negotiate with the Viet Cong, who
demanded payment in Coca-Cola.
He served as president of the Washington chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association and for 20 years was head of the
apprenticeship program of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers' Local 26, as well as head of the local's pension fund. A lifelong
Mason and Shriner, he was a past master of Harmony Lodge No. 17 and a member of Almas Temple.
In 1947, Mr. Seal co-founded the 7th Armored Division Association. In 1994, he revisited the towns and villages where he had
fought a half-century earlier and enjoyed meeting residents and former adversaries.
His wife, Anne M. Seal, died in 1981.
His son Frank Seal Jr. died in 1976. Another son, Howard Seal, died in 1986. A third son, Robert Seal, died in 1994.
Survivors include a son, James D. Seal of Lothian; eight grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.