Notable deaths in the Washington area

May 14, 2014

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

Raymond Schmitt, Library of Congress employee

Raymond Schmitt, 71, a pension specialist for the Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service from 1971 to 1997, died April 15 at a hospital in Winchester, Va. The cause was complications from the genetic disorder Marfan syndrome, said a son, Richard Schmitt.

Mr. Schmitt was born in Baldwin, N.Y. At the Library of Congress, he helped draft pension laws, including the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. In retirement, he produced documentaries and in 2004 was named filmmaker of the year at the West Virginia FILMmakers Festival. He was a singer and guitarist in the bluegrass band Foggy Bottom and recorded more than 15 albums. He moved to Mathias, W.Va., from Clinton, Md., in 1997.

Martha White, schoolteacher

Martha White, 71, a Montgomery County Public Schools elementary teacher for 35 years who mostly worked at Mill Creek Towne Elementary School in Derwood, died April 19 at a hospital in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The cause was complications from a bowel obstruction, said a brother, Howard White Jr.

Ms. White, a resident of Wheaton, Md., was born in Henderson, N.C. She retired in 1999 and continued working as a substitute teacher in the school system. She was a coach for gifted-student programs, such as Odyssey of the Mind. She was a co-president of the Nimble Fingers quilting guild and a gift-shop volunteer at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney, Md.

Reuben ‘Ray’ Sternfeld, bank official

Reuben “Ray” Sternfeld, 89, the executive vice president of the Inter-American Development Bank from 1974 to 1981 and then the bank’s special representative in Europe until 1987, died May 2 at a hospital in Washington. He had Parkinson’s disease, said a nephew, Richard Neiman.

Mr. Sternfeld was born in the Bronx and raised in Baltimore. Early in his career, he worked at the State Department and headed a presidential task force on foreign economic assistance, which helped pass an act that created the U.S. Agency for International Development in 1961. He was the deputy administrator for the Alliance for Progress, an international economic development program, before joining the IADB as a U.S. executive director in 1966. He was a Washington resident.

Gary D. Van Zee, Treasury Dept. employee

Gary D. Van Zee, 66, a bookkeeper at the Treasury Department in the 1980s and early 1990s, died April 25 at a hospice in Arlington, Va. The cause was oral and lung cancer, said a brother, James Van Zee.

Mr. Van Zee, a resident of Alexandria, Va., was born in Fairfield, Iowa, and raised in Falls Church, Va. After serving in the Air Force in the early 1970s, he did billing and record-keeping for hotels in Colorado before joining the Treasury’s Bureau of the Public Debt. He later worked for Sato Travel, Target and other companies.

Eleanor Creveling, principal

Eleanor Creveling, 91, a Prince George’s County Public Schools educator who was the principal of Harmony Hall Elementary School in Oxon Hill and Heather Hills Elementary School in Bowie before her retirement in the early 1980s, died May 9 at a retirement community in Annapolis. The cause was cancer, said her son Cyrus Creveling Jr.

Mrs. Creveling was born Eleanor King in Huntington, W.Va., and served in the Navy Waves during and after World War II. She was a Cub Scouts den mother and began her career in the 1960s as an elementary school teacher. She was an Oxon Hill resident before moving in the mid-1980s to New Jersey and later to Florida and had lived in Annapolis since 2007.

Michael J. Lippe, Foreign Service officer

Michael J. Lippe, 70, a Foreign Service officer who worked with the U.S. Agency for International Development for two decades including on assignments in Tunisia, the Ivory Coast and Kenya before his retirement in 1996, died April 28 at a hospital in Washington. The cause was respiratory failure resulting from pancreatic cancer, said his brother Stuart Lippe.

Mr. Lippe was born in Columbus, Ohio, and spent much of his childhood oversees as the son of a diplomat. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana in the 1960s and specialized during his USAID career in urban development and housing. Mr. Lippe was a District resident and provided pro bono legal services to political refugees in the area. With his physician, Dung T. Le, he wrote the book “Pancreatic Cancer: A Patient and His Doctor Balance Hope and Truth” (2011).

— From staff reports

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