Notable deaths in the Washington area

Correction: An earlier version of the obituary for political activist Bernard D. White incorrectly identified his sister-in-law, Dorothy White, as his wife. This version has been updated.

April 2

Obituaries of residents from the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia

Ellen W. Eager, office manager

Ellen W. Eager, 88, office manager of her husband’s Washington insurance firm, Bainbridge Eager & Associates, from 1971 to 1989, died March 16 at a senior living community in Bethesda. The cause was lymphoma, said a friend, Susan Modak.

Mrs. Eager, a Bethesda resident, was born Ellen Watson in Baltimore. Early in her career, she was one of the first women to work on the old Hartford (Conn.) Times copy desk. She served on the Council for Court Excellence, a nonprofit group that works to improve the D.C. judicial system, and she established a foundation dedicated to her late son, Mark Watson Eager, that donated funds to conservation efforts and outdoor recreation programs.

Donald A. MacLennan, scientist

Donald A. MacLennan, 77, a scientist whose specialties included sulfur lighting systems and improvised explosive devices, died Feb. 28 at a rehabilitation center in Gaithersburg, Md. The cause was cancer, said his wife, Rosalind MacLennan.

Dr. MacLennan was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, and came to the Washington area in 1990. He lived in Gaithersburg, Md., and worked for such companies as Fusion Lighting, Spacial Integrated Systems, BAE Systems, Ideal Innovations and Lanmark Technology.

Mary ‘Sue’ Whitman, personnel specialist, activist

Mary “Sue” Whitman, 103, a former State Department personnel specialist who in retirement volunteered with programs serving the elderly, died March 27 at a health-care facility in Huntsville, Ala., where she had lived since November. She had dementia, said a son, John Whitman.

Mrs. Whitman, a former Washington resident, was born Mary Elizabeth McKeon in Cleveland. She spent 13 years at the State Department before retiring in 1976. Then she was a volunteer retirement planner for the National Council on Aging. She led a weekly short story reading group at the Friendship Terrace retirement community in the District. In 1993 she received an award from Iona Senior Services for her efforts on behalf of the elderly.

Robert M. Bernero, NRC official

Robert M. Bernero, 83, a nuclear engineering and regulatory expert who retired in 1995 from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, died March 27 at a retirement community in Gaithersburg, Md. The cause was congestive heart failure, said a daughter-in-law, Christine Bernero.

Mr. Bernero, a longtime Gaithersburg resident, was born in Chicago and spent 13 years working in nuclear technology for General Electric before joining the NRC’s predecessor agency in 1972. He retired from the NRC as director of the Office of Nuclear Materials Safety and Safeguards and became an independent consultant. He served on finance committee at St. Martins of Tours Catholic Church in Gaithersburg and on several committees of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences.

Portia Garmat, schoolteacher

Portia Garmat, 79, a Montgomery County elementary school teacher, died March 28 at a hospital in Bethesda. The cause was a pulmonary embolism, said a grandson, Michael Thompson.

Mrs. Garmat, a Rockville resident, was born Portia Lateiner in New York City. She retired about 2000 after 30 years of teaching, chiefly at Meadow Hall Elementary School in Rockville.

Alex Naimon, federal lawyer

Alex Naimon, 88, a lawyer who specialized in health-related matters and worked for federal agencies including what became the Department of Veterans Affairs, died March 1 at a hospital in Rockville. The cause was a heart attack, said a son, David Naimon.

Mr. Naimon, a Silver Spring resident, was born in New York City. He began his career as a federal lawyer in 1951 with the Office of Price Stabilization. Later he worked in the office of the Army’s surgeon general, the Health Resources Administration of the old Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and the Veterans Administration, where he specialized in legislative and legal issues involving law and medicine. He retired in 1986. He was a past chairman of the Federal Bar Association.

Elizabeth W. ‘Betty’ Hackley, bank executive

Elizabeth W. “Betty” Hackley, 95, who retired in the early 1980s as assistant vice president at the Baltimore-based Equitable Trust Bank, died March 27 at a senior living community in Laurel, Md. The cause was complications from a stroke, said a son, Vincent Hackley.

Mrs. Hackley, a Laurel resident, was born Elizabeth Wiseman in Monessen, Pa. In a banking career spanning 50 years, she was one of the first women to ascend Equitable’s executive ranks. She was a past president of the Baltimore and Laurel chapters of the National Association of Bank Women. She was a past lector at St. Mary of the Mills Catholic Church in Laurel.

Patricia Rohrer, pianist

Patricia Rohrer, 87, a piano player at the Morrison House hotel’s piano bar in Alexandria for more than 25 years until this past New Year’s Eve, died Feb. 26 at her home in Alexandria. The cause was pneumonia, said a son, Michael Rohrer.

Mrs. Rohrer was born Patricia Doerner in Cumberland, Md. She played piano for more than 100 musical theater productions, including many at the Little Theatre of Alexandria. She was a past music director at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria.

Robert C. McCandless, lawyer, lobbyist

Robert C. McCandless, 75, a former Washington lawyer and lobbyist who represented his former brother-in-law, Nixon White House counsel John W. Dean III, during the Watergate investigations, died Feb. 28 at a nursing home in Oklahoma City. The cause was complications from a neurological disorder, said a brother, John L. McCandless.

Mr. McCandless, a native of Hobart, Okla., served as executive director of Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey’s unsuccessful 1968 presidential campaign. Then he ran a law practice in Washington for 40 years before moving to Oklahoma City in 2009.

Dean’s testimony before a Senate investigating committee implicated several administration officials, including President Richard M. Nixon and himself. Dean pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice, spent four months in prison and was disbarred.

Bernard D. White, political activist

Bernard D. White, 67, a Chicago-based political activist who had been the first black basketball player at Georgetown University, died March 15 at a hospital in Alexandria. The cause was cardiac arrest and a stroke, said his sister-in-law, Dorothy White.

Mr. White, an Alexandria resident, was born in Springfield, Ill. He received a Georgetown basketball scholarship in 1965 and played for three seasons. After his graduation in 1969, he moved to Chicago and worked in politics and community organizing. He moved to Virginia in 2005.

Dale L. Dillon, property manager

Dale L. Dillon, 81, a retired certified public accountant who served as property manager at the Chalfonte apartments in Washington from 1994 to 2008, died March 23 at a nursing center in Rhinelander, Wis. The cause was sepsis, said a daughter, Gina Lefebvre.

Mr. Dillon, a former Washington resident, was born in Swartz Creek, Mich. He did tax preparation work for Professional Bookkeeping Service in Northern Virginia from 1969 to 1992. He moved to Wisconsin in 2010.

Clifford A. Kottman, mathematician

Clifford A. Kottman, 71, a mathematician who retired in 2008 from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, died March 26 at a hospital in Leesburg, Va. The cause was pneumonia, said his wife, Toni Kottman.

Mr. Kottman, a resident of Clifton, Va., was born in San Diego and moved to the Washington area in 1971. He had been a mathematician with several nonprofit and other private defense and intelligence organizations as well as the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency and predecessor agencies, for which he worked for 17 years.

— From staff reports