Obituaries of residents from the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia.
Philip H. Highfill Jr., 95, who retired from George Washington University in 1989 as a professor of English literature, died May 17 at his home in Bethesda. The cause was pneumonia, said a son, Philip H. Highfill III.
Dr. Highfill was born in Petersburg, Va. He was an assistant professor at the University of Rochester before joining the GWU faculty in 1955. He was an author and editor of “A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers and Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800,” an award-winning 16-volume work that began appearing in 1973 and has become a standard reference in theater history studies. He was a consultant in literature at the Folger Shakespeare Library from 1965 to 1968 and was a past president of the Cosmos Club and the Literary Society of Washington.
Lois Reinemer, 94, a onetime nurse who settled in the Washington area in 1956 and was a member of Friendship United Methodist Church in Fairfax County, died May 11 at an assisted-living center in Denver. The cause was congestive heart failure, said a son, Michael Reinemer.
Mrs. Reinemer was born Lois Grindy in Lewistown, Mont., and she served in the Army Nurse Corps during World War II. She moved in 1989 from Falls Church to Helena, Mont., and more recently lived in Denver.
James B. Hendry, 92, who joined the World Bank in 1966 as an agricultural economist and retired in 1986 as ombudsman of the organization, died April 25 at a retirement community in Chestertown, Md. The cause was leukemia, said a daughter, Nancy Hendry.
Dr. Hendry, who was born in Chicago and raised in Riverhead, N.Y., was an associate economics professor at Michigan State University and an economic and agricultural adviser in Vietnam before joining the World Bank. He spent nine years as assistant director of eastern Africa projects before being named ombudsman in 1983. In Chestertown, he was active in civic affairs, including a successful effort to keep Wal-Mart out of the community. He also wrote a memoir focused on time spent in post-World War II China.
C. Thomas Dienes, 74, an authority on the First Amendment who retired about four years ago as a law professor at George Washington University, died April 24 at a hospice in Rockville. The cause was a brain tumor, said his wife, Peggy Dienes.
Dr. Dienes, a Chicago native, taught law and political science at the University of Houston and American University before joining the GWU faculty in 1980. He was a longtime legal consultant to U.S. News and World Report. He wrote or co-wrote nine books about constitutional law and communications law, including “Newsgathering and the Law” (1999), now in its fourth edition.
John H. Moore, 92, an electronics and communications systems specialist for the Navy on active duty from 1941 to 1961 and then an additional decade in the Fleet Reserve, died May 17 at a hospital in Fairfax County. The cause was pneumonia, said a son, John H. Moore Jr.
Mr. Moore, a Falls Church resident, grew up in Roanoke, Ala. He served in the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Depression, helping build the Appalachian Trail. During World War II, he participated in the invasion of the Philippines, his family said. His final active-duty assignment, at the rank of chief petty officer, was supervisor of communications with the office of the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon. He was a member of Knox Presbyterian Church in Falls Church.
Ronald T. Chapman, 70, who worked for more than 40 years through sheltered workshops, died May 22 at a hospital in Cheverly, Md. The cause was cardiac arrhythmia, said a brother, Terry Chapman.
Mr. Chapman was born in Chapel Hill, N.C., with congenital rubella syndrome, a condition caused by the rubella virus that left him deaf and with severe developmental disabilities. He moved to West Hyattsville, Md., in 1945, and settled in Cheverly in the late 1990s. Most recently, he did assembly work through New Horizons Supported Services in Upper Marlboro, Md.
Mary Hubbard, 92, who did clerical and secretarial work for U.S. intelligence agencies in the 1940s and was among the last surviving group of Americans held prisoner in Manchuria by Chinese Communists in 1948 and 1949, died May 21 at a retirement community in Washington. The cause was cancer, said a son, Michael Hubbard.
Mrs. Hubbard was born Mary Braden in Dysart, Iowa. She did clerical work in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II and worked with the newly formed CIA at the U.S. consulate in Mukden, Manchuria, when the city fell under Communist control in 1948. U.S. consul general Angus Ward and other consulate aides were held under house arrest for a year and then deported. Mrs. Hubbard, who became a homemaker and CIA spouse, settled in the Washington area in 1968 and was a member of Kenwood Golf and Country Club in Bethesda.
Harmon E. Kirby, 80, a career Foreign Service officer who served as ambassador to the West African country of Togo from 1990 to 1994, died May 21 at a hospice in Washington. The cause was cancer, said a son, Christopher Kirby.
Amb. Kirby, a Bethesda resident, was born in Hamilton, Ohio. He served in the Foreign Service from 1961 to 1996 and then worked as a contractor in the State Department’s Office of the Historian until 2012. He had postings in Europe, South Asia and Africa, and was a past United Nations political affairs director at the State Department. He was a member of the International Eye Foundation, an organization that works to prevent blindness in developing countries.
Lucy S. Speller, 109, a past Sunday and Bible school teacher at Calvary Episcopal Church in Washington and a member of the wives club of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, died May 19 at her home in Washington. She had senile dementia, said a grandniece, Marilyn Wescott.
Mrs. Speller, a lifelong Washingtonian, was born Lucy Stewart. She and her husband housed and mentored children attending racially segregated high schools.
— From staff reports