Melvin N. Carter Truck Driver
Melvin N. Carter, 63, a retired truck driver, died of cancer Dec. 12 at his home in the District.
Mr. Carter -- known as Jack -- was born in Richmond and graduated from Maggie Walker High School, where he sang in the choir and played football and baseball. After completing high school, he worked in the family business, Carter Brothers Funeral Home, and later was one of the first African American delivery drivers hired by Miller and Rhodes department stores in Richmond.
He moved to Washington about 1970. For 32 years, he drove for various concrete companies in the area. He retired from Super-Concrete Corp. this year.
An active member of the Teamsters Union, he served as shop steward for Local 639. He was an avid hunter and fisherman and delighted in sharing his bounty with friends and family. He also enjoyed singing tunes from the '50s and '70s with his brothers at family gatherings.
His marriage to Vivian Moon Carter ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife of 21 years, Geraldine Turpin Jones of Washington; three children from his first marriage, Melvin D. Carter and Rodney Carter, both of Richmond, and Kimberly A. Carter of Atlanta; two stepchildren, Michael Turpin of Waldorf and Tracey Jones of Lottsburg, Va.; three brothers, Frederick D. Carter of Washington and Stanley E. Carter and Alfred E. Greene III, both of Temple Hills; three sisters, Alfreda Greene, Michelle Greene and Patricia Greene, all of Washington; and 11 grandchildren.
Samuel Heller Interior Department Official
Samuel Heller, 92, who retired in 1971 from the Interior Department as assistant director of the office of territories, helping oversee U.S. trust territories in the Pacific, died of complications from a broken hip Dec. 11 at Sibley Memorial Hospital.
Mr. Heller, a Bethesda resident, briefly did managerial work for the Veterans Administration before spending 20 years at Interior.
He was a New York native and a 1935 graduate of New York University. Early in his career, he did administrative work for the New York state and New York City governments.
He served in the Army in the Pacific during World War II and retired from the Army Reserve in 1971 as a colonel.
In retirement, Mr. Heller was a guide at Hillwood Museum and Gardens, the former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post.
He also volunteered as a paralegal for AARP's Legal Counsel for the Elderly and as a genealogical aide in the National Archives and Records Administration. He was profiled in the book "Jewish Fathers: A Legacy of Love" (2004).
His wife of 50 years, Helen Schreiber Heller, died in 1998.
Survivors include three children, Susan J. Heller, Lawrence N. Heller and Ruth Heller Catan, all of Bethesda; and four grandchildren.
Mary Speer Marshall Volunteer
Mary Speer Marshall, 85, a volunteer with the Textile Museum, died of cancer Dec. 13 at her home in Washington.
Mrs. Marshall was born in Minneapolis and grew up there and in Chicago. She attended the University of Minnesota and then went to work for a Universal Pictures distributor in Minneapolis. During World War II, she moved to California to work for Lockheed Martin Co. and later for the Rand Corp. in Santa Monica.
She married in 1953 and volunteered with the UCLA Arts Council. In 1973, she followed her husband to Washington, where she became active with the Textile Museum and ran its membership program for many years.
Survivors include her husband, Andrew Marshall of Washington, and two sisters.
Welba S. 'Robie' Robinson Systems Engineer, Tax Preparer
Welba Sedral "Robie" Robinson, 81, a retired systems engineer with IBM who volunteered as an AARP tax preparer, died of prostate cancer Dec. 10 at his home in Gaithersburg.
Mr. Robinson worked for IBM from 1953 to 1988.
For about 10 years, he helped senior citizens at the Damascus Senior Center complete their tax returns and assisted them in other matters. He also served on the center's board of directors.
Mr. Robinson was born in Mt. Jackson, Va., and attended Shenandoah College. He served in the Army in the South Pacific during World War II. In 1953, he received an electrical engineering degree from the University of Virginia.
He had lived in the Washington area since 1956.
Mr. Robinson was a member of the Laytonsville Lions Club and St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Laytonsville. He also maintained ties to Otterbein Chapel in Mt. Jackson.
Survivors include his wife of 44 years, Sylvia Robinson of Gaithersburg; three children, Susan Agrawal of San Antonio, Linda Robinson of Philadelphia and David Robinson of Ashburn; and four grandchildren.
Robert E. Spriggs High School Science Teacher
Robert E. Spriggs, 74, a high school science teacher, died Dec. 12 at his home in Clinton. He had Parkinson's disease.
Mr. Spriggs taught chemistry and general science at Suitland High School from 1954 to 1983. In addition to teaching the basics of science, he sometimes entertained his students with tales of his hunting, fishing and trapping.
He was born in Great Cacapon, W. Va., and graduated from Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, W. Va. He served in the Army from 1952 to 1954.
He had lived in Clinton for 42 years and was a member of Fellowship Baptist Church in Upper Marlboro.
Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Mary Short Spriggs of Clinton; three children, Barbara Gill of Palmer, Alaska, Carol Kneiss of Boiling Springs, Pa., and Michael Spriggs of Clinton; five grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.
Wilson R. Gaines Printing Office Employee
Wilson R. Gaines, 82, a retired employee of the Government Printing Office, died of a stroke Dec. 13 at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington.
Mr. Gaines worked for the GPO for more than 25 years, until the late 1980s. He was a review editor for the Language Americas Association of the U.S.A. Inc.
He was born in Charleston, S.C., and graduated from the College of Charleston. He was an Army veteran of World War II and served 17 years in the Army Reserve. He lived briefly in Miami in the mid-1950s before making Alexandria his home.
He had no immediate survivors.
Cheryl Jean Miller Naturalist
Cheryl Jean Miller, 49, a naturalist, died of ovarian cancer Dec. 9 at her home in Beltsville.
She worked for the Anacostia Watershed Society in 1996 and 1997 and spearheaded the Indian Creek Reforestation Project, which returns native plants to the Anacostia watershed. In 1994, she revitalized and supervised the bluebird recovery project at the Agricultural Research Services Center in Beltsville.
Ms. Miller, an accomplished tracker, was co-founder of the Mid-Atlantic Primitive Skills group in 1997. She became involved with the plant spirit medicine community of the Huichol Indians of Mexico and helped raise funds for the Blue Deer Center, a retreat in New York's Catskill Mountains that is devoted to the customs of the Huichol.
Ms. Miller, who was born in Takoma Park, grew up in Rockville and graduated from Wheaton High School in 1973. She received an associate's degree from Montgomery College in medical laboratory technology in 1975 and a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Maryland in 1988. She was working toward a master's degree in landscape architecture at the time of her cancer diagnosis.
She worked as a medical laboratory technician at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda from 1975 until 1989, when she became northeast regional sales manager for Murex Diagnostics, a job she held until 1995.
She received a black belt in tang soo do, a Korean martial art.
Survivors include her lifetime partners, Marcia and Robert Van Horn of Beltsville; and two brothers, Gary P. Miller of Arlington and Mark S. Miller of Mount Airy.
Michael Joseph Sage Computer Analyst, Volunteer
Michael Joseph Sage, 65, a computer systems analyst in the Office of the Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services and a community volunteer, died of sepsis Dec. 2 at Sibley Memorial Hospital. He lived in Bethesda.
Mr. Sage worked for the agency from 1970 until August, when he retired. Before moving to Bethesda, Mr. Sage had worked at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and had worked in New York as a computer specialist with IBM in Poughkeepsie, White Plains and New York City.
Born in Wooster, Ohio, he was raised in Orrville, Ohio. He received a bachelor's degree in science from Ashland College in Ohio in 1962. He was a National Science Foundation Fellow and received a master's degree in science from Syracuse University in 1966, after teaching high school mathematics for three years in Shreve, Ohio.
Mr. Sage was a member of St. Bartholomew Church in Bethesda for 34 years. He was a coach and league commissioner of Montgomery Soccer Inc., both boys and girls, during its initial years. He coached Kiwanis baseball and Bethesda Boys Club football and was a swim-team representative and executive board member for Merrimack Park swim club in Bethesda. He served on the executive board of the Bannockburn Elementary School PTA. He was a crossword puzzle enthusiast and enjoyed reading.
Survivors include his wife of 42 years, Rose Sage of Bethesda; three children, Steven Joseph Sage of Rochester, Mich., David Nicholas Sage of Annapolis and Michele Rose Sage Coratola of Gaithersburg; a brother; a sister; and four grandchildren.
Yale F. Fineman Music Librarian
Yale F. Fineman, 53, music librarian at the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library at the University of Maryland, died of lung cancer Dec. 2 at his home in Silver Spring.
Mr. Fineman had been the acting head librarian since July. He had worked at the Maryland library since August 2002, and he managed the library's collections, taught music research methodology classes and answered queries for information.
Mr. Fineman, who was born in Philadelphia, graduated from the University of Massachusetts in Boston. He received a master's degree in musicology from Tufts University in 1994 and a master's degree in library science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1995.
He worked briefly at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1996 and then in the Music & Art Department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh until 1998.
In 1998, he went to work for the Duke University Music Library, where he created a music Web site DW3Classical Music Resources. He published numerous articles on digital information dissemination.
He studied and performed classical guitar for 35 years, with a repertoire that ranged through five centuries of music.
His first wife, Debbie Bolles, died 15 years ago. Survivors include his wife of six years, Carol Fineman of Silver Spring; and two brothers.
Charles N. Whelan Federal Engineer
Charles N. Whelan, 81, an engineer who worked for the federal government, died of congestive heart failure Dec. 16 at his home in Potomac.
Mr. Whelan, a native Washingtonian, grew up in Cabin John and attended Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School.
During World War II, he served as a Navy pilot in the Pacific theater. A reservist after the war, he was recalled to active duty in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis. He retired from the Navy Reserves in 1967 with the rank of commander.
He started working at the Army Map Service and later became a mechanical engineer at the Defense Department's Harry Diamond Laboratories, now the Aldelphi Laboratory Center. He retired in 1977 and worked for the next five years for Raytheon's E-Systems.
Mr. Whelan was a woodworker who specialized in Queen Anne-style furniture. He twice was scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 773 in Potomac. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, hiking and camping.
His wife of 42 years, June Hodtwalker Whelan, died in 1991.
Survivors include three children, Mary W. Smith of Fairfax, John T. Whelan of Huntingtown and Charles N. Whelan V of Great Falls; and six grandchildren.
Ruth Doench Shook Volunteer
Ruth Doench Shook, 90, a longtime District resident and a volunteer with area charities, died of cancer Dec. 11 at her home in Tulsa, Okla.
Mrs. Shook lived in the area from 1945 to 1980. She served for many years as a volunteer at the Florence Crittenden Home and was a docent at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.
She also was an active member of the Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church in Washington.
Mrs. Shook, a native of Cincinnati, attended the University of Cincinnati. She worked for the Pogue's Department Store in Cincinnati from 1935 to 1943, where she was made responsible for the training all in-store female employees.
She married Richard L. Shook in 1942, and they soon moved to Pittsburgh and then to Washington, where Mr. Shook practiced law. He died in 1980.
Survivors include three children, Leslie Ann Dalton of Tulsa, Langley R. Shook of Washington and Wilson M. Shook of Glencoe, Ill.; two sisters; and eight grandchildren.