Notable deaths in the Washington area

June 11

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

Earnest R. Oney, CIA political analyst

Earnest R. Oney, 93, who spent 30 years as a CIA political analyst assigned to the Middle Eastern desk, died May 24 at a hospital in the Bronx. The cause was congestive heart failure, said a daughter, Myra Oney.

Dr. Oney was born in Wellington, Ohio, and served as an Army medic during the Allied invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. He later was a linguist and decoder in the Office of Strategic Services, the wartime forerunner of the CIA. He joined the CIA in 1950 and served two tours in Iran. He moved to Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., from Winchester, Va., in 1999.

Richard L. Hughes, personnel management specialist

Richard L. Hughes, 80, a personnel management specialist for several government agencies, including the Coast Guard from 1980 to 1987, died May 29 at a hospital in Bethesda. The cause was cerebral vasculitis, said a stepdaughter, Aihua Zhou.

Mr. Hughes, a Bethesda resident, was born in New York. He worked for the State Department, the Navy Department and the National Guard before joining the Coast Guard. He was fluent in Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French and Swahili, his family said. He was a volunteer at Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Nicholas D. Cantwell, Air Force colonel

Nicholas D. Cantwell, 79, a retired Air Force colonel who specialized in defense systems procurement, died April 29 at a hospice in Harwood, Md. The cause was kidney failure, said a daughter, Karen Cantwell.

Col. Cantwell, an Edgewater, Md., resident, was born in Roebling, N.J., and played semi-professional baseball in the 1950s. He served as an Air Force contracting officer, and postings included assignments in Thailand, Belgium and Germany, and he received decorations including the Legion of Merit before his retirement in 1983. He later was director of contracting for Martin Marietta. His memberships included Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Edgewater.

C. Howard Hardesty Jr., lawyer, oil executive

C. Howard Hardesty Jr., 92, a partner at the Washington law firm of Andrews & Kurth from 1985 until his retirement in 1994, died April 27 at a hospital in West Palm Beach, Fla. The cause was a stroke, said a daughter, Sarah Hardesty Bray.

Mr. Hardesty was born in Fairmont, W.Va., and moved to the Washington area in the late 1970s. Before joining Andrews & Kurth, he was president and chief executive of what is now Purolator International, a shipping and logistics company. He split his time between homes in St. Michaels, Md., and the District before moving to Vero Beach, Fla., in 1994.

Joseph D. Douglass Jr., author, consultant

Joseph D. Douglass Jr., 78, a U.S.-Soviet relations specialist and national security affairs consultant from the mid-1970s until 2011, died May 23 at a retirement community in Pompano Beach, Fla. The cause was sideroblastic anemia, a rare blood disorder, said his wife, Roberta Gilbert Douglass.

Dr. Douglass was born in Rocky River, Ohio. During President Reagan’s administration, he was the assistant director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. He wrote books, including “Red Cocaine: The Drugging of America” in 1990. He taught at a number of universities and lived in Falls Church, Va., and Lake Frederick, Va., before settling in Pompano Beach in 2013.

Susan A. “Butch” Henley, backpacker, hiking society official

Susan A. “Butch” Henley, 81, past executive director of the American Hiking Society who retired as the membership director of the American Discovery Trail Society in 2009, died May 21 at a retirement community in Winston-Salem, N.C. She had dementia, said a daughter, Julie Whittaker.

Ms. Henley, a resident of Haymarket, Va., was born Susan Sheldon in Dunkirk, Ohio. She backpacked the Appalachian Trail in 1978 and participated in Hike-A-Nation, a 4,300-mile, 13-month cross country journey from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean, in 1980. She served as executive director of the American Hiking Society for a decade before joining the American Discovery Trail Society in 1996.

John H. Vandersall, U-Md. professor

John H. Vandersall, 85, a dairy science professor at the University of Maryland from 1959 until his retirement in 1992, died June 2 at his home in Silver Spring, Md. The cause was colon cancer and heart disease, said a son, Eric Vandersall.

Dr. Vandersall was born in Helena, Ohio. He was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists. In 2006, he moved to Silver Spring from his longtime home in Adelphi, Md.

Kathleen Hunt Futrell, Montessori educator

Kathleen Hunt Futrell, 88, who founded and directed the Aquinas and Old Town Montessori Schools in Alexandria, Va., died June 6 at her home in Alexandria. The cause was pancreatic cancer, said her son, Jon Futrell.

Kathleen Hunt was a native of New York City. She founded Aquinas Montessori in 1965 and Old Town Montessori in 1987. In addition to teaching at the Aquinas school, she was a language lecturer at Washington Montessori Institute and a consultant to American Montessori schools abroad. Her publications included the books “The Normalized Child” and “Montessori School: A Typical Day.” She continued working until her death.

David H. Gwynn, lawyer

David H. Gwynn, 82, a lawyer who practiced in Upper Marlboro, Md., for 54 years, specializing in real estate and estate planning, died May 8 at a hospital in Washington. The cause was a stroke induced by metastatic kidney cancer, said his daughter, Ann Wittenauer.

A District native, Mr. Gwynn served in the Army in the 1950s. In addition to his legal work, he farmed tobacco and raised black Angus cattle on his Upper Marlboro farm. He was a longtime director of Prince George’s Federal Savings Bank and did community service through the Lions, the Jaycees, the Knights of Columbus and the Prince George’s County Board of Trade, and he attended Saint Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in Upper Marlboro and Saint John Vianney Roman Catholic Church in Prince Frederick, Md.

Deborah K. Smoot, loan processor

Deborah K. Smoot, 57, a Chantilly, Va., resident who was a loan processor with Northern Virginia mortgage companies in the 1980s and 1990s, died May 31 at a hospital in Fairfax County. The cause was complications from multiple sclerosis, said her husband, Guy Smoot.

Deborah Kay Warnken was born in Houston, came to the Washington area in her teens and began her career as a financial aid assistant at Northern Virginia Community College. She volunteered at District homeless shelters, through Meals on Wheels and through the nonprofit Lamb Center and Pender United Methodist Church, both in Fairfax County. She also helped lead the New Hope Fellowship, a Wesleyan church in Chantilly that caters to the homeless.

John B. Canha, engineer

John B. Canha, 98, a structural engineer who retired in the mid-1990s after working for more than 40 years for the federal government, died June 8 at his home in Fort Washington, Md. The cause was pneumonia, said his son, Ben Canha.

Mr. Canha was born on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and served in the Navy as a civil engineer in the Philippines in the early 1970s. He spent most of his career with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and the General Services Administration in Washington. In addition to his engineering work, Mr. Canha built and sold model ships. His memberships included St. Columba Catholic Church in Oxon Hill, Md., and the Knights of Columbus.

Helen F. Cefaratti, association employee

Helen F. Cefaratti, 88, an executive assistant at the American Medical Association from 1974 to 1980, and then for the next nine years at the March of Dimes, died June 1 at a daughter’s home in Reston, Va. The cause was dementia, said a son, Philip Cefaratti.

Ms. Cefaratti, a resident of McLean, Va., was born Helen Marie Fitzpatrick in Washington. She was employed as a typist on the Manhattan Project during World War II.

— From staff reports

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