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Obituaries

Monday, December 6, 2004; Page B05

Mildred Griffith Clark Church Soloist, Music Teacher

Mildred Griffith Clark, 92, a singer and music teacher, died Nov. 25 of complications from Alzheimer's disease at the Manor Care Nursing Home in Bethesda.

Born in Seaton, Ill., Mrs. Clark graduated from Monmouth College in 1935 and sang soprano in concerts and theatrical productions.


She taught music for two years in Iowa public schools while continuing voice studies at Northwestern University during the summer. In July 1936, she took first place in the Chicago Music Festival competition for aspiring singers, and she was subsequently invited to perform as a guest artist at several Midwestern venues and on radio programs originating in Chicago.

Mrs. Clark was a voice instructor at the Muskingum College Conservatory of Music in New Concord, Ohio, from 1937 to 1942.

During the summer of 1939, she was invited to study at the American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France, under the tutelage of Nadia Boulanger, a mentor to Aaron Copland, Quincy Jones, Philip Glass and Leonard Bernstein and the first female conductor of the New York Philharmonic and Boston Symphony orchestras.

In 1949, Mrs. Clark moved with her husband and young son to Silver Spring, where she became active with Takoma Park Presbyterian Church.

She was employed for more than 20 years as the church's soprano soloist while giving voice and piano lessons and working at the Department of Labor. She also appeared as a guest soloist at several other area churches, including New York Avenue Presbyterian Church.

In 1973, Mrs. Clark joined Hughes United Methodist Church in Wheaton, where she became a member of United Methodist Women and a volunteer in many other church activities.

She was also a member of the Sigma Alpha Iota international music fraternity, the Alpha Xi Delta national women's fraternity, the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the American Association of University Women.

She was an avid cook, concertgoer, theatergoer and sports fan, as well as a travel and cruise enthusiast, having sailed on the Queen Elizabeth 2 several times and traveled through the Panama Canal to South America to view Halley's Comet in 1986.

Her husband, Paul E. Clark, died in 1985. A son, Stephen Carl Clark, died in 1949 at 18 months.

Survivors include two children, Kenneth Paul Clark of New York and Carol Janice Clark of Silver Spring.

Everett Norman Thombs Sr. Printer

Everett Norman Thombs Sr., 71, a retired printer, died of pulmonary disease Dec. 4 at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis. He lived on Kent Island, Md.

Mr. Thombs, a native of Richmond, went to work at the old Washington Star newspaper right out of high school and worked there for about 20 years. He also worked at McCall's Printing in Glenn Dale until the late 1970s.

He enjoyed playing cards and watching baseball and was a member of Kent Island Elks Lodge.

His marriage to June Devers Thombs ended in divorce.

Survivors include two children, Holly Ferguson of Dover, N.H., and Everett "Tommy" Thombs Jr. of Kent Island; two grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Mary Elizabeth Morris Church Member, Homemaker

Mary Elizabeth Morris, 86, a church member and homemaker, died of congestive heart failure Dec. 1 at Bradford Nursing Pavilion in Bradford, Pa. She was a Hyattsville resident.

Mrs. Morris was born in Washington and graduated from Gallaudet Institute at age 17. She married and took care of her family.

She was a member of the Catholic Deaf Center at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Landover Hills.

She enjoyed crafts, including beadwork, embroidery and cross-stitch.

Her husband, Charles E. Morris, died in 1971.

Survivors include three sons, Charles R. Morris of Upper Marlboro, Thomas H. Morris of Laurel and Richard L. Morris of Olean, N.Y.; a sister, Elaine Willoughby of Mitchellville; 10 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.

Russell J. Seibert Renowned Botanist

Russell J. Seibert, 90, a botanist who was the first director of the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden as well as Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa., died Nov. 28 at a nursing home in Sarasota, Fla., of complications from Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Seibert was director of the Los Angeles site from 1950 to 1955 and then of Longwood Gardens until 1979. At Longwood, he oversaw the transition from a private estate belonging to Pierre S. du Pont to a horticultural display garden.

After retiring, he moved to Sarasota, where he served as curator emeritus of tropical horticulture at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

Russell Jacob Seibert was raised on a farm in Illinois. He was a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, where he received master's and doctoral degrees in botany.

He worked for the Agriculture Department in the 1940s, organizing the construction of a rubber plantation in Haiti as well as conducting plant explorations in the jungles of Central and South America.

He was former chairman of the Williamsburg Garden Symposium and president of the American Horticultural Society.

Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Isabelle "Deni" Pring of Sarasota; three children; and six grandchildren.

Joseph Rhodes Defense Department Employee

Joseph Franklin Rhodes, 92, a Defense Department employee from the 1940s to 1973 who retired from a budgetary oversight position affecting missile systems, died Nov. 20 at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington after a heart attack.

Mr. Rhodes, an Arlington County resident, was a native of Peru, Ind., and a mechanical engineering graduate of Purdue University.

His hobbies included fishing, boating and water skiing.

His wife of 49 years, Edythe Follin Rhodes, died in 1996.

Survivors include two children, Sandra Lessard of Rochester, N.H., and Jeff Rhodes of Nashville; two sisters; and a grandson.


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