Obituaries from across the Washington region

July 25

Obituaries of residents from the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia.

Rodney E. Garrett,
architect

Rodney E. Garrett, 53, an architect and managing director of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Washington office, died June 27 in Chicago. His wife, Rachel Garrett, said he was in Chicago attending a meeting of the American Institute of Architects and died in a hotel room. According to the death certificate, he died of arteriosclerotic heart disease.

Mr. Garrett, who lived in Washington, was born in San Bernardino, Calif. He moved to Washington in 1986 and joined Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. He led the firm’s government design group. He was the senior designer of the Census Bureau headquarters, the U.S. Patent and Trademark office, and the FBI’s metropolitan Washington field office, among other federal buildings.

Bertram R. Abramson,
CPA firm owner

Bertram R. Abramson, 101, a certified public accountant who started the tax accounting and estate firm that became known as Abramson & Associates in Washington, died July 12 at his home in Bethesda, Md. The cause was congestive heart failure, said a son, Eddie Abramson.

Mr. Abramson, a native Washingtonian, was a partner at the accounting firm of S.W. Levitan and Co. in Washington before opening his own business in 1965. He retired two years ago. He was a past Washington-area chapter president of the Jewish service organization B’nai B’rith and a past president of the Amity Club, a social and charitable organization in Washington. His memberships included Washington Hebrew Congregation and Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md. He was the subject of a Washington Post profile in 2012, focusing on his memories of the Washington Senators’ victory in the 1924 World Series.

Richard D. Gaynor,
civil engineer

Richard D. Gaynor, 83, a civil engineer who spent 45 years with the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association and retired in 1996 as president of the trade group’s engineering division, died July 16 at an assisted-living center in Severna Park, Md. The cause was respiratory failure, said a daughter, Deborah Gaynor.

Mr. Gaynor was born in Mobile, Ala., and was a longtime resident of Silver Spring, Md.

Elaine Magarrell,
poet

Elaine Magarrell, 86, a prize-winning poet who volunteered as a visiting poet and writing coach in Washington public schools, died July 3 at an assisted-living center in Washington. The cause was a heart ailment, said a daughter, Debra Conklin.

Mrs. Magarrell, a Washington resident, was born Elaine Reisler in Clinton, Iowa. She was a library clerk in the Washington bureau of the New York Times from 1976 to 1981. She was a recipient of the Washington Writers’ Publishing House prize for her volume “On Hogback Mountain” (1985) and the Word Works’ Washington Prize in 1991 for her volume “Blameless Lives.”

Evelyn C. Flessate,
public affairs specialist

Evelyn C. Flessate, 79, who did public affairs work at the Army Chemical Corps and the Defense Logistics Agency before retiring in 1994, died July 13 at a hospital in Alexandria, Va. The cause was cervical cancer, said a son, Greg Flessate.

Mrs. Flessate was born Evelyn Levesque in Washington. She joined the Defense Logistics Agency in the late 1970s and worked on newsletters and publications and the adopt-a-school program, and she helped organize annual picnics, blood drives and health screenings. She was a member of Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Alexandria. Besides her main residence in Alexandria, she had homes in Annapolis and Emerald Isle, N.C.

Charles R. Backus,
NASA employee

Charles R. Backus, 72, a mathematician who became a NASA programmer at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and then at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., died July 12 at his home in Warrenton, Va. The cause was respiratory failure, said a family friend, Dale McFeatters.

Mr. Backus, a native Washingtonian, served in the Peace Corps in the southeast African country of Malawi from 1964 to 1966. He spent 23 years working for NASA before retiring in 2009. He worked on the design of satellites and spacecraft that studied light and radiation as well as the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence project, known as SETI. His other work included processing data from cold molecular clouds and improving the resolution of astronomical images.

Henry ‘Win’ Winogrond,
agribusiness consultant

Henry “Win” Winogrond, 71, a partner in the Washington office of Novelle, a California-based agribusiness consulting firm, died June 30 at a vacation property in Clarksdale, Miss. The cause was complications from liver disease, said a daughter, Megan McDonald.

Mr. Winogrond, a native of Celina, Ohio, served with the Army Special Forces in Vietnam and received the Purple Heart. He worked with Novelle more than 10 years. Earlier, he was a senior executive with the now-defunct World Commerce Online, a Florida-based firm that experimented with Internet-based electronic commerce, and was president of Bouquet Connection de los Andes, a flower importer based in Florida and then Wisconsin. From 1966 to 1983, he worked for Standard Fruit and rose to managing director of its Philippine banana and Thailand pineapple operations.

Sundaram Sankaran,
World Bank official

Sundaram Sankaran, 87, a former journalist in India who spent more than 25 years at the World Bank before retiring in 1988 as chief of the public affairs division, died July 19 at a nursing center in Bethesda, Md. The cause was complications from diabetes, said a daughter, Prabha Carpenter.

Mr. Sankaran, a resident of Kensington, Md., was born in Mannargudi, India. Before joining the World Bank in 1962, he spent eight years with the Statesman newspaper in India and covered political and economic news as a Bombay correspondent. After retiring from the World Bank, he became a U.S. correspondent for Indian daily newspapers, including the Economic Times. He also spent years as a writer for a publication focused on Indian classical music and donated his large collection of the music to Harvard University’s Loeb Music Library.

James B. MacRae Jr.,
OMB official

James B. MacRae Jr., 73, a retired senior federal executive who became deputy administrator of the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, died July 15 at a hospital in Baltimore. The cause was complications from a bone marrow transplant for leukemia, said his wife, Nancy MacRae.

Mr. MacRae, a native of Wilmington, N.C., worked in the Foreign Service before joining what was then the Bureau of the Budget in 1971. He started on the budget side of the agency and later, with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, reviewed and cleared all executive agency regulations and forms. He was a recipient of Presidential Rank Awards. He retired in 1996 and moved to Schellsburg, Pa., from Washington.

Alan R. Meyers,
architect

Alan R. Meyers, 76, who had been a principal in the architecture firm of A.R. Meyers and Associates in Silver Spring, Md., which handled residential, school, hospital and commercial projects, was found July 20 after a boating accident on Broad Creek in St. Michaels, Md. A spokesman for the Maryland Medical Examiner’s Office said the cause was drowning, which was ruled an accident.

Mr. Meyers, a native Washingtonian, was a senior partner in the architecture firm of Bucher Meyers and Associates in Silver Spring before starting his own business in 2000. He served on the Talbot County Historic Preservation Commission and was a past vice chairman of the Maryland Board of Architectural Review and a past director of the American Institute of Architects’s Potomac Valley chapter. He had homes in Bethesda, Md., and St. Michaels.

Rosslyn Kleeman,
GAO executive

Rosslyn Kleeman, 92, a former deputy director at what is now the Government Accountability Office who became a specialist in civil service issues at George Washington University’s School of Public Policy and Public Administration, died July 18 at a retirement community in Rockville, Md. The cause was complications from a stroke, said a son, David Kleeman.

Mrs. Kleeman was born Rosslyn Shore in Minneapolis. She was a volunteer and Democratic political activist in the Twin Cities area before joining the old Department of Health, Education and Welfare in the late 1960s through a program to bring women into the agency. She spent much of her career at the old General Accounting Office, the congressional watchdog agency, and also worked for the Clinton White House in the early 1990s in the office of presidential personnel. She became a distinguished executive in residence at GWU and also served as chairman of the Coalition for Effective Change, a nonprofit organization representing dozens of professional groups in the government.

Jessie Gruman,
nonprofit founder

Jessie Gruman, 60, who trained as a social psychologist and became the founder and president of the Washington-based Center for Advancing Health, a nonprofit health-policy group, died July 14 at her home in Manhattan. The cause was complications from cancer, said a colleague, David Torresen.

Dr. Gruman, who kept an apartment in Washington, was born in Berea, Ky. Before starting the Center for Advancing Health in 1992, she spent four years as a project officer with the National Cancer Institute’s American Stop Smoking Intervention Study for Cancer Prevention. She earlier worked for the American Cancer Society in New York as national director of public education and at AT&T Communications in Basking Ridge, N.J., as manager of employee health promotion. She was a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine and the Society for Behavioral Medicine.

— From staff reports

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