Obit roundup: Simmons, Hollers, Monroe, Kimbell, Pommerening

October 7, 2013
Christopher
D. Simmons
artist, homemaker

Christopher D. Simmons, an artist whose multimedia work merged photography and painting, and whose images were exhibited at galleries in Washington, Los Angeles and New York City, died Oct. 3 at his home in Alexandria. He was 50.

The cause was an apparent heart attack, said his wife, Laura Simmons.

Mr. Simmons, who visited all seven continents, once said he was inspired by the “grandeur” of scenes of vastness and desolation, particularly the barren landscapes in Antarctica. Other examples of his work depicted the Russian naval fleet in Vladivostok and a graveyard for World War II planes in the Arizona desert.

Christopher DeWitt Simmons was a native of Huntington, N.Y., and a 1990 fine arts graduate of Tufts University in Medford, Mass. He also received a certificate, with a concentration in painting and drawing, from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The museum school awarded him its highest artistic prize, the Boit Award, in his first year.

He settled in the Washington area in 1990 and briefly was an art teacher, truant officer and faculty sponsor for the cheerleading squad at Surrattsville High School in Clinton, Md.

A homemaker since the early 1990s, he coached his daughter’s lacrosse team in the Fort Hunt area of Fairfax County and, as a parent volunteer, helped expand the Belle Haven Country Club swim team in Fairfax County.

He did fundraising work at St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School, an Episcopal preparatory school in Alexandria, and at St. John’s College High School in Washington. His memberships included St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Alexandria and Belle Haven Country Club. He had a second home in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Survivors include his wife of 25 years, Laura McIntosh Simmons, and their two children, Tucker Simmons and Charlotte Simmons, all of Alexandria; his father, Richard D. Simmons, a former president of The Washington Post Co., of Alexandria; and a sister, Robin Turner of Arlington.

— Adam Bernstein

Helen Hollers
White House staffer

Helen Hollers, a White House administrative assistant who served under nine presidents from Harry S. Truman to George H.W. Bush, died Sept. 18 at her home in Washington. She was 95.

The cause was cardiopulmonary arrest and arteriosclerotic vascular disease, said her niece, Harriet Husemann.

Mrs. Hollers retired in 1993 after more than 40 years at the White House. For most of her career, she worked in the office of the president’s appointments secretary.

Helen Lucille Husemann was born in Lindsay, Neb., and attended what now is Nebraska’s Wayne State College.

She came to Washington in the 1940s and was a stenographer-typist at the Department of Agriculture before moving to the White House.

In retirement, she lived part time in St. Petersburg, Fla.

She was a member of the Catholic Church of the Annunciation in Washington.

Her first husband, Berthold N. Colle, died in 1967. Her second husband, retired Army Col. Harold B. Donaldson, died in 1971. Her third husband, Ralph Harvey Hollers, died in 1998.

Survivors include two stepdaughters, Sarah Donaldson Weeks of Alamo, Ga., and Dr. Karyne Messina of Washington.

— Bart Barnes

Catharine Monroe
church member, volunteer

Catharine Monroe, a former piano teacher, church member and Washington homemaker, died Sept. 11 at Grand Oaks assisted living facility in Washington. She was 103.

The cause was a stroke, said her son John Monroe.

Catharine Latimer, a Clinton, Miss., native, received an associate’s degree in 1928 from Hillman Junior College in Mississippi. She received a bachelor’s degree from Mississippi College in 1930 and a second bachelor’s degree in 1934 from Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. She settled in Washington in 1943.

She volunteered with Meals on Wheels and was involved with a local piano group, both in the District. She was a member of the Woman’s National Democratic Club and the Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ, where she participated in the church sewing circle.

Her husband of 39 years, John H. Monroe, died in 1974. A son, William Monroe, died in 1999.

Survivors include two children, John I. Monroe of Washington and Margaret Bolus of Barre, Vt.; and two grandchildren.

— Megan McDonough

Carol A. Kimbell
clinical social worker

Carol A. Kimbell, a homemaker who went back to school in her 40s and became a clinical social worker at a psychiatric hospital in Sykesville, Md., died Sept. 21 at Washington Hospital Center. She was 79.

The cause of death was lung cancer, said her son, Steven Kimbell.

Mrs. Kimbell, a Hyattsville resident, received a bachelor’s degree in social services from the Catholic University in 1983and a master’s degree in social work from Catholic in 1984. From 1985 until 1996, she was a clinical social worker at Springfield Hospital Center, a facility run by the state of Maryland.

Carol Ann Colson, a native Washingtonian, was a 1952 graduate of D.C.’s Eastern High School.

She was a past president of the Council on America’s Military Past, a historical organization. She was a teacher’s aide at the old Ager Road Elementary School in Hyattsville and was a volunteer with the Prince George’s County Youth Orchestra. She helped coordinate the orchestra’s appearance at the Kennedy Center for a bicentennial concert in 1976.

She appeared in a documentary, “Homefront: World War II in Washington,” which aired on WETA in 2007.

In retirement, she rafted in the Colorado River and went dog sledding in Alaska.

Her husband of 38 years, Charles L. Kimbell, died in 1993. Survivors include three children, Steven Kimbell of Gaithersburg, Brenda Anna of Riverdale and Stephanie Mendenhall of Gettysburg, Pa.; four grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

— Victoria St. Martin

Glen E. Pommerening
Justice Dept. lawyer

Glen E. Pommerening, a Justice Department lawyer who retired as a deputy assistant director with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, died Sept. 10 at his home in Alexandria. He was 85.

The cause was lung cancer, said his son Philip Pommerening.

After serving six terms in the Wisconsin legislature starting in 1954, Mr. Pommerening was appointed deputy secretary of administration for Gov. Warren Knowles (R) in 1966. Four years later, he moved his family to McLean to work in the Justice Department as deputy assistant attorney general.

Mr. Pommerening’s early years in the Justice Department coincided with the tumultuous Watergate era. After the 1973 Saturday Night Massacre, when President Richard M. Nixon’s firing of independent prosecutor Archibald Cox prompted the resignation of key Justice Department officials, Mr. Pommerening was promoted to assistant attorney general for administration.

In 1981, Mr. Pommerening was transferred to the Federal Bureau of Prisons as deputy assistant director overseeing Federal Prison Industries, a government corporation that organizes prison labor to produce goods and services. He stayed in that position until his retirement in 1998.

Glen Edwin Pommerening, a Milwaukee native, was a 1950 graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a 1953 graduate of its law school.

His marriage to Nancy Johnson Pommerening ended in divorce. Survivors include four children, William Pommerening and Philip Pommerening, both of Arlington County, David Pommerening of McLean and Jean Pommerening of Johnstown, Pa.; and two sisters.

— Samantha Raphelson

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