Notable deaths in the Washington area

May 2
Joyce D. Alford
Guidance counselor, teacher

Joyce D. Alford, 66, a guidance counselor and teacher of English as a second language for the Prince George’s County public school system, most recently Chillum Elementary School in Hyattsville, died April 24 at a hospital in Washington. The cause was respiratory failure and cancer, said a sister, Sandra Key.

Mrs. Alford, a lifelong District resident, was born Joyce Deans. She worked as a guidance counselor in the D.C. public school system for nearly 40 years before joining Prince George’s Public School System in 2009. She received an outstanding teacher of the year award by the National Alliance of Black School Educators in 2007 and was a member of the Third Street Church of God in the District.

Alvin Z. Macomber
Commodity-industry analyst

Alvin Z. Macomber, 86, a commodity-industry analyst at what is now the International Trade Commission from 1964 until his retirement in 1991, died April 8 at his home in Mount Vernon in Fairfax County. The cause was non-Hodgkin lymphoma, said a daughter, Michele Macomber.

Mr. Macomber was born in Cicero, N.Y., and served in the Army Corps of Engineers during the Korean War. He was a member of the Mount Vernon Unitarian Church in Alexandria and the Virginia Numismatic Association.

Lillian Finneran
Volunteer

Lillian Finneran, 89, a homemaker and wife of a retired Navy vice admiral who volunteered with the Navy Relief Society, died April 22 at her home in Chevy Chase. The cause was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, said a daughter, Kathleen Avsec.

Mrs. Finneran was born Lillian McNamara in New York City and raised in Baldwin, N.Y. She married in 1946, and accompanied her husband on Navy assignments until settling in the Washington area in 1974. She attended Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Silver Spring.

William “Patrick” Morris
Maritime lawyer

William “Patrick” Morris, 73, a former Washington maritime lawyer who was a legislative director and general counsel of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association for five years, died April 19 at a hospice in Edgewater. The cause was progressive supranuclear palsy, said a daughter, Bridget Hauler.

Mr. Morris, a native of Green Bay, Wis., was a resident of Shady Side. He was a deputy administrator at the Maritime Administration before moving to the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association in 1993. After his retirement, he worked as a designer and salesman for the Long Fence Co. in Capitol Heights. He was a former board of director’s member of the Hillcrest Children’s and Family Center in Washington and past president of the Propeller Club in Washington and the Westelee Civic Association in Shady Side.

Betsy B. Harmon
Technical writer

Betsy B. Harmon, 69, a technical writer who wrote for the Arlington-based defense contractor CACI International from 2011 to 2013, died April 6 at her home in Arlington. The cause was frontotemporal degeneration with motor neuron disease, said her ex-husband, Bruce Harmon.

Ms. Brown, who was born Betsy Brown in New York, moved to Arlington in 1973. She worked as a contractor and wrote software documentation and manuals for companies including IBM and Mantis Technology Group, before joining CACI. She was a past PTA president of the Ashlawn Elementary School in Arlington.

Edward A. Fitzgerald
FDA division director

Edward A. Fitzgerald, 72, who retired in 1997 as the director of the product quality control division at the Food and Drug Administration and as a captain in the Public Health Service, died April 29 at a military medical center in Washington. The cause was brain cancer, said a son, Brian Fitzgerald.

Dr. Fitzgerald, a lifelong D.C. resident, joined the Public Health Service in 1967 and worked at the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research for 30 years. In retirement, he ran a consulting business that offered quality control and assurance advice to firms regulated by the FDA until 2012. He was a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Rockville, where he was a music director and guitarist in the parish’s folk group.

Thomas G. Ferris
NIH patent lawyer

Thomas G. Ferris, 88, a National Institute of Health patent lawyer from 1967 until his retirement in 1988, died April 27 at his home in Washington. The cause was cirrhosis of the liver, said a daughter, Margaret Durbin.

Mr. Ferris was born in Chappell, Neb. He volunteered with St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Gaithersburg and was past president of the St. Andrew’s Society of Washington and the Clan Fergusson Society of North America.

Gerald Schwab
USAID official

Gerald Schwab, 89, a retired administrative and management officer and program evaluator with the U.S. Agency for International Development, died April 2 at a health-care center in Annapolis. The cause was anemia, said a daughter, Susan Schwab.

Mr. Schwab, who was born to Jewish parents in Breisach, Germany, fled with his family to Switzerland in 1938 and later came to the United States. He served in Europe, Africa and Asia with USAID and its predecessor agencies for about 25 years. Before his retirement in 1986, he spent about 10 years working for the International Labor Organization in Geneva. He lived in Alexandria and was author of the books “The Day the Holocaust Began: The Odyssey of Herschel Grynszpan” (1990) and “OSS Agents in Hitler’s Heartland” (1996).

Sidney Weintraub
Foreign Service officer

Sidney Weintraub, 91, a Foreign Service officer and political economist, died April 10 at his vacation house in Cuernavaca, Mexico. The cause was pneumonia, said his wife, Elizabeth Midgley.

Dr. Weintraub, a Washington resident, was born in Brooklyn. From 1949 to 1975, he was a Foreign Service officer with assignments in such places as Mexico, Madagascar, Thailand and Chile. He was a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Texas at Austin from 1976 to 1994, then holder of the William E. Simon chair in political economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington until 2011. He was author of several books and articles and two mystery novels.

— From staff reports

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