July 20, 2013
Gorm P. Emberland
information technology specialist

Gorm P. Emberland, an information technology specialist who worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service for about three decades, died July 3 at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. He was 54.

The cause was complications from chronic liver disease, said his daughter, Annie Emberland. Mr. Emberland lived in Tracys Landing.

Mr. Emberland was a key software developer of the Germplasm Resources Information Network and other tools used by the National Plant Germplasm System to maintain genetic diversity among plants.

Gorm Petter Emberland was born in Bergen, Norway. He came to the United States as a child, attended high school in Salisbury, Md., and settled in the Washington area in 1977.

He became a U.S. citizen while studying at the University of Maryland, where he received a bachelor’s degree in zoology in 1981 and a bachelor’s degree in computer since in 1986.

In addition to his government career, he worked for a time in the private sector for computer companies. He volunteered with the Calvert Animal Welfare League.

Survivors include his wife of 30 years, Joan Judge Emberland of Tracys Landing; two children, Annie Emberland of Silver Spring and Colin Emberland of Takoma Park; and a brother.

— Emily Langer

Rilla Mervine
singer

Rilla Mervine, a contralto who was a prominent soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra and at musical venues in the Washington area for several decades, died June 15 at a nursing facility in Placerville, Calif. She was 91.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said her son Michael Mervine. Mrs. Mervine lived in the Washington area for more than five decades, most recently in Vienna, before moving to California in the early 1990s.

Washington Post music critic Paul Hume called Mrs. Mervine “one of Washington’s best known and appreciated singers” and said her voice had a “natural richness and a deep, velvety quality.”

She was a soloist at National Presbyterian Church and performed with the Army Band and the Air Force Symphony Orchestra, her son said. She also appeared with the National Oratorio Society and at the Phillips Collection, the National Gallery of Art and Washington National Cathedral, he said.

Rilla Jane Rowe was born in Hamilton, N.D. She received an associate’s degree from North Dakota State University before settling in the Washington area around 1940. She received a bachelor’s degree in music from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.

In addition to her concert work, she was a voice professor at Catholic University and George Mason University for several decades. She held leadership positions with the Mu Phi Epsilon music fraternity and belonged to the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

Her husband of 56 years, Frank Mervine, died in 2003. Their son David Mervine died in 2011.

Survivors include four children, Meredith Stirling of Placerville, Tim Mervine of Citrus Heights, Calif., Michael Mervine of Sacramento and Jon Mervine of Centreville; 15 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

— Emily Langer

Elizabeth M. Cullen
secretary

Elizabeth M. Cullen, a retired secretary who worked for Montgomery County Public Schools for about two decades, died June 29 at Montgomery Hospice’s Casey House in Rockville. She was 86.

The cause was cardiac arrest, said her daughter Cathy McQuitty.

Mrs. Cullen retired in the 1990s from Kennedy High School in Silver Spring. Previously, she was a financial secretary at Cabin John Middle School in Potomac.

Elizabeth Helen Morrissey was born in Buffalo and settled in the Washington area when she was in her 20s. A Potomac resident, she belonged to St. Raphael Catholic Church in Rockville and volunteered at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda.

Her husband of 46 years, William C. Cullen, died in 1997. Survivors include three children, Mary Cullen of Silver Spring, Cathy McQuitty of Ellicott City and Michael Cullen of Folsom, Calif.; a sister; and three grandchildren.

— Emily Langer

John J. Alleva
FDA research scientist

John J. Alleva, a Food and Drug Administration research scientist for 33 years before his retirement in 1996, died July 1 at a hospice facility in Marietta, Ga. He was 85.

He had dementia, said his son Brian Alleva.

Dr. Alleva, a Marietta resident, specialized in research on chronobiology and endocrinology and was the author of numerous scholarly publications.

He participated in U.S. Masters Swimming competitions in the Washington area for more than 30 years. He swam the 4.4-mile long Great Chesapeake Bay Swim in his late 60s, said his son Brian.

John James Alleva was a native of Norristown, Pa., and a 1950 zoology graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. He received a master’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Missouri in 1952 and a doctorate in biology from Harvard University in 1959. He moved to the Washington region in 1963.

He served in the Air Force from 1952 to 1956, during which he conducted laboratory research on pathogenic bacteria. He moved from Fairfax County to Marietta in March.

Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Margaret Martin Alleva of Austell, Ga.; four children, Brian Alleva of North Beach, Md., David Alleva of Boyds, Md., Lynn Lilley of Silver Spring and Diane Caceres of Smyrna, Ga..; two brothers; three sisters; and six grandchildren.

— Megan McDonough

Peggy G. Ray
bookkeeper, manager

Peggy G. Ray, a former bookkeeper and assistant manager of Blair House in Washington from 1975 to 1978, died June 29 at a hospice facility in Melbourne, Australia. She was 90.

She had cancer, said her daughter Margaret Murray.

In the early 1970s, Mrs. Ray was a bookkeeper at the Broad Branch Market in Chevy Chase.

Peggy Wynn Garrison was born in Virginia Beach and moved to the District as a girl. She was a 1940 graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington and did clerical work for the Pentagon during World War II.

She settled in Melbourne in 1978.

Her first marriage, to Richard Murray, ended in divorce. Her second husband, John Ray, died in 1992 after 14 years of marriage.

Survivors include two daughters from her first marriage, Margaret Murray of San Francisco and Anne Cohen of Bethesda; three grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. A son from her first marriage, Patrick Murray, died in 2011.

— Megan McDonough

Carol A. Protz
CIA security analyst

Carol A. Protz, who worked at the CIA for more than 30 years before retiring as a security research analyst in 1993, died June 17 at her home in Williamsburg. She was 69.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said a niece, Karen Baker.

Mrs. Protz joined the CIA as a clerk in 1961. She became a security research analyst in the early 1990s and specialized in clearance records and contract personnel.

Carol Ann Fuss, a native Washingtonian, was a 1961 graduate of the old Immaculate Conception Academy. She lived in Leesburg before settling in Williamsburg in 2005.

Her husband of 33 years, ­Lauren Protz, died in 2011. She had no immediate survivors.

— Megan McDonough

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