Notable deaths in the Washington area

April 8
Obituaries of residents from the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia.
E-an Zen, geologist

E-an Zen, 85, who spent 30 years as a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey before serving as an adjunct geology professor at the University of Maryland from 1989 to 2004, died March 29 at a hospital in Reston, Va. The cause was cancer, said former wife Cristina Silber.

Dr. Zen, a Reston resident, was born in Beijing. As a geologist, he focused on northern Appalachian geology, the composition of granites and the origins of the Potomac River gorge. He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and past president of the Mineralogical Society of America, the Geological Society of America and the Geological Society of Washington.

Blair F. Jones, USGS scientist

Blair F. Jones, 79, a senior scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey who specialized in aqueous geochemistry with a focus on saline lakes, died March 30 at his home in Alexandria. The cause was a stroke, said his wife, Jane Flinn.

Dr. Jones, a Chicago native, spent more than 50 years at the USGS before retiring about three years ago. He was a recipient of top Interior Department awards and was the first geochemistry research adviser for the water resource division’s national research program. He was a fellow of the Geological Society of America and Mineralogical Society of America and a past president of the Clay Minerals Society. His memberships included the Cosmos Club and St. John’s Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase.

Janet Siegrist, nurse

Janet Siegrist, 90, who worked as a nurse in Northern Virginia for 30 years, died Feb. 28 at her home in Springfield, Va. The cause was colitis, said a daughter, Lisa Siegrist.

Janet Schmidt was born in New York City and became a registered nurse during World War II. After moving to the Washington area in 1956 and raising a family, she returned to nursing in the early 1970s and spent 25 years as a visiting home nurse in Northern Virginia. She later worked for five years at Inova Fairfax Hospital, where she helped train home health aides, before retiring at 80.

F.C. “Duke” Zeller, Teamsters official

F.C. “Duke” Zeller, 71, a public relations executive and Republican political adviser who also headed communications for more than 15 years with the Teamsters union, died March 9 at his home in Afton, Va. The cause was complications from Parkinson’s disease, said a friend, Mary Ann Keeffe.

Fritz Carl Zeller Jr., a native of Peoria, Ill., did editing on inaugural books for presidents Richard M. Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. He served as communications director of the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration, did public relations work for Hill and Knowlton and then worked for the Teamsters union from the late 1970s to early 1990s. He was a past executive director of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association and, in 1977, lost a bid for Virginia House of Delegates.

Louis L. Padula, FBI special agent

Louis L. Padula, 79, who spent more than 25 years as an FBI special agent until retiring in the late 1980s after serving on the protective detail for directors William H. Webster and William S. Sessions, died March 24 at a hospital in Washington. The cause was kidney failure, said a brother, Joseph Padula.

Mr. Padula, a resident of Laurel, Md., was born in Newark, N.J. During his FBI career, he worked in the bank robbery division of the Washington field office and as an instructor at the FBI academy at Quantico, Va. He also helped start SWAT and counter-sniping programs. His memberships included St. Mary of the Mills Catholic Church in Laurel and Manor Country Club in Rockville.

Donovan P. King, labor economist

Donovan P. King, 55, a labor economist and activist who served as associate director of the National Education Association, died March 28 at a hospice in Rockville. The cause was cancer, said his wife, Diane King.

Mr. King, a resident of Clarksburg, Md., was born in Arcadia, Calif. He was a senior labor economist for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in Washington from 1989 to 2001 and was the union’s liaison to the Economic Policy Institute, a policy research organization. For the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, he helped develop national living-wage policies and worked on get-out-the-vote drives in Virginia for Barack Obama’s successful presidential run in 2008. He was a member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Damascus, Md.

Dorothy E. Dubester, computer programmer

Dorothy E. Dubester, 94, a computer programmer in the 1960s and 1970s at what became the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, died April 3 at a retirement center in Bethesda. The cause was respiratory failure, said a daughter, Laura Dubester.

Mrs. Dubester, a longtime Bethesda resident, was born Dorothy Ennis in New York City and served in the Navy Waves during World War II. She was a computer programmer with Control Data Corp. before joining the federal government. She was a bridge life master.

Christopher B. Lane, investment manager

Christopher B. Lane, 67, an investment manager and principal with Columbia Partners in Chevy Chase, Md., died March 31 at a hospital in Fairfax County. The cause was lung disease, said a daughter, Hillary Winstanley.

Mr. Lane, a resident of Reston, Va., was born in Washington and raised in St. James, N.Y. He was a volunteer in Palm Beach County, Fla., for VISTA, the volunteer service agency, and later worked for Riggs Investment Management Corp. of Washington before joining Columbia Partners in 1994. He was active in the Lutheran Social Services foster-care program.

David P. Black, Air Force colonel, minister

David P. Black, 93, an Air Force colonel and assistant director of procurement who retired in 1971 and became a minister in the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, died March 27 at his home in Silver Spring. The cause was complications from pneumonia, said a daughter, Kay Brooke.

Col. Black was raised near Hopkins, Minn., participated in the North American indoor speed-skating championships in the late 1930s and served in the Army Air Forces in Italy as a fighter pilot during World War II. After attending seminary, his ministerial assignments included Episcopal Church of Our Saviour in Hillandale, Md., St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in College Park, Md., and St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Silver Spring.

— From staff reports

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