Obituaries

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Joseph K. BrattonEngineers Corps Chief

Joseph K. Bratton, 81, a lieutenant general who was a former chief of the Army Corps of Engineers, died of an aneurysm June 2 at Virginia Hospital Center.

Gen. Bratton was the top official with the Corps of Engineers from 1980 until 1984 and oversaw the doubling of military construction for the Army and Air Force. The Army family housing program doubled under his command, and he emphasized the corps' contribution to national preparedness.

At the 100th birthday celebration of the Washington Monument in 1984, Gen. Bratton praised the 555-foot, 5 1/8 -inch obelisk as "classic and enduring. In a world that changes very fast," he said, "it commemorates things that are stable and honorable."

He was born in St. Paul, Minn., and graduated third in the Class of 1948 at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He received a master's degree in nuclear engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1959.

Gen. Bratton served in Austria, Korea and Germany and in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. He also worked in the Atomic Energy Commission's reactor development division and was a military assistant to the secretary of the Army and to the secretary of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was chief of nuclear activities for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe from 1972 to 1975 and director of military applications at the Department of Energy from 1975 to 1979.

At the time, the government was trying to prevent the Progressive magazine from publishing an article on how a hydrogen bomb works. The author said he got everything in the article from public sources, which the government disputed. But when a researcher found a key document marked "unclassified" in a government library, the case began to fall apart.

Gen. Bratton, who ran the nuclear weapons program for DOE and was its acting assistant secretary for defense programs, called the security breach "serious. We have egg on our face."

The erroneous declassification "should have been caught by the review," he told The Washington Post in 1979. "It's an embarrassment."

Gen. Bratton, who went on to lead the Corps of Engineers after that, retired from the military in 1984. His awards included the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the Army Distinguished Service Medal, three awards of the Legion of Merit and two Bronze Star Medals.

He went on to become senior vice president with the Washington office of the Pasadena, Calif.-based Ralph M. Parsons Corp., an engineering and construction company. In 1995, he and his wife moved to Melbourne, Fla. He returned to Northern Virginia last year and lived in McLean.

He enjoyed skiing, running marathons and playing squash.

His wife of 55 years, Louise Bratton, died in 2006. A son, John Bratton, died in 1993.

Survivors include four children, Joseph K. Bratton Jr. of Windermere, Fla., Mari Pierce of McLean, James Bratton of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., and Anne M. Verville of Arlington; a sister; 14 grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

-- Patricia Sullivan

C. Gordon Furbish Jr.Army Lieutenant Colonel

C. Gordon Furbish Jr., 84, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and insurance agent, died of cancer June 8 at his Springfield home.

Col. Furbish served for 28 years in the military, starting with the Army Air Forces during World War II, when he flew 35 B-17 missions over Germany. He also flew missions in C-47s in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He also worked in public affairs and was chief of the armed services news branch at the Department of Defense. He retired in 1971.

Col. Furbish then worked as an underwriter for New York Life Insurance Co.

He was born in Natick, Mass., and grew up in Framingham, Mass. He attended Northeastern University before joining the military.

Among his military awards were two Legion of Merit honors and an Air Medal.

Col. Furbish was a volunteer and past president of the Annandale Christian Community for Action, and he was a reading tutor at Belvedere Elementary School in Falls Church. He also sponsored the resettlement of a Vietnamese family.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Virginia Mary Furbish of Springfield; three children, retired Army Col. Bruce Furbish of San Antonio, retired Army Maj. Glenn Furbish of Severna Park and Barbara Fitch of Reston; a brother; and six grandchildren.

-- Patricia Sullivan

Eleanor Collier HavisHomemaker, Volunteer

Eleanor May Collier Havis, 96, a homemaker and volunteer, died May 31 at her home in College Park. She had Alzheimer's disease.

Mrs. Havis, who lived in the same house since 1943, volunteered for the Girl Scouts and the Red Cross bloodmobile canteens. She was Sunday school superintendent and a board member at University United Methodist Church in College Park.

She was born in Wooster, Ohio, and graduated from Wooster College. She worked for a short time as a welfare investigator, then for two years as a society editor and reporter for the Wooster Daily Record. She married and moved to Ithaca, N.Y., and then to College Park in 1943.

She enjoyed playing golf and bridge and worked part time at the Maryland Book Exchange, from which she retired in 1991.

Her husband, Leon Havis, died in 1962.

Survivors include two children, Kathryn Fuller of Hyattsville and Andrew Lee Havis of Silver Spring; three granddaughters; four great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.

-- Patricia Sullivan

Laidler Bowie MackallLawyer

Laidler "Mac" Bowie Mackall, 90, a partner in the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson for 50 years, died of congestive heart failure June 6 at his home in Chevy Chase.

Mr. Mackall, a native Washingtonian, graduated from St. Albans School and Princeton University. He received a law degree from Georgetown University in 1947.

During World War II, Mr. Mackall served in the Army Air Forces as a pilot in the Pacific and the China-Burma-India theaters. He flew B-17s, B-24s and B-29s, with 17 missions "over the hump" of the Himalayas. Among his military awards were the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star and the Air Medal.

He joined Steptoe & Johnson in 1949 and made partner in 1952. He was a fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers. He was a litigator, and he specialized in railroad law, among other interests. He retired in 1999.

Mr. Mackall was a member of the Chevy Chase Club, the Metropolitan Club and the Moorings Club in Vero Beach, Fla., where he also had a home.

His marriage to Nancy Taylor Mackall ended in divorce. A daughter from that marriage, Nancy Mackall Lurton, died in 1992.

Survivors include his wife of 26 years, Prudence Colbert of Chevy Chase; three daughters from his first marriage, Christie Connard of Corvallis, Ore., Susan Smythe of Charleston, S.C., and Bruce McConihe of Potomac; three stepchildren, Melissa Colbert of Kensington, Gary Colbert of Chevy Chase and Chris Colbert of Brookline, Mass.; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

-- Patricia Sullivan

Dorothy P. McCallumHecht Co. Employee

Dorothy Pease McCallum, 93, who spent about 50 years working in the customer service department at the Hecht Co. department store in Silver Spring, died May 7 at Crescent Cities Center nursing home in Riverdale. She had Alzheimer's disease.

Mrs. McCallum was born in Maine and raised in Prince George's County. She spent most of her life in the Prince George's County community of Rogers Heights. She enjoyed growing roses.

Her marriage to Neil McCallum ended in divorce.

Three sons died: Kenneth "Buddy" McCallum in 1969, William McCallum in 1978 and Robert McCallum in 2005.

Survivors include two daughters, Karen Sorrentino of Westminster, Md., and Maryann McCallum of Valrico, Fla.; 10 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.

-- Adam Bernstein

James F. MileyArmy Colonel, Pepco Officer

James Francis Miley, 80, an Army Corps of Engineers colonel who retired in 1977 and became general services manager of Potomac Electric Power Co. before retiring again in 1988, died May 16 at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. He had respiratory failure.

Col. Miley was a native of Des Moines and graduated in 1953 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where he was on the sailing and pistol teams. In 1959, he received a master's degree in civil engineering from Iowa State University.

His military assignments included command of an engineer combat battalion in Vietnam. His final active-duty assignment was in the Office of the Secretary of Defense as chief of war plans.

His decorations included two awards of the Legion of Merit and two awards of the Meritorious Service Medal in addition to the Bronze Star Medal and the Air Medal.

Since the mid-1970s, he had lived in the Alexandria part of Fairfax County.

Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Ruth Laurent Miley of Fairfax County; five children, Frances Miley Hudson of Vero Beach, Fla., and Buffalo, Patricia Rehberg of Renick, W.Va., Susan Murphy of the Alexandria part of Fairfax County and Mark Miley and Matthew Miley, both of Richmond; a sister; and four grandchildren.

-- Adam Bernstein

Edwin Terry ProthroPsychologist, Educator

Edwin Terry Prothro, 87, who taught psychology for many years at the American University of Beirut and later was an executive with a Lebanese educational foundation in Washington, died June 2 of heart disease at his home in Bethesda.

Dr. Prothro, who went by Terry, began his academic career in his home state as a psychology professor at Louisiana State University from 1946 to 1949. He then taught for two years at the University of Tennessee before his first posting to American University of Beirut, from 1951 to 1953.

He taught for a year at Brooklyn College in New York before returning to Lebanon in 1954. He founded the Beirut university's psychology department and was a professor there for 30 years. In addition to his teaching, he was dean of the faculty of arts and sciences from 1965 to 1973 and university provost from 1967 to 1970. He chaired the board of graduate studies from 1963 to 1970 and served as director of the university's Center for Behavioral Research from 1973 to 1985.

While on leave from the university, Dr. Prothro taught at the University of Michigan (1957-58) and the University of California at Santa Barbara (1975-77), where he also directed the statewide university system's education abroad program. He was a fellow at Harvard University's Middle East Center in 1961.

On Feb. 10, 1984, Dr. Prothro was evacuated from Lebanon with other Americans during the Lebanese civil war.

He directed the Hariri Colleges Project in Washington in 1985-86, then became vice president of the Hariri Foundation, which provides educational and technical support to Lebanese students in North America. He retired in 1997.

Dr. Prothro was born in Robeline, La., and graduated from Louisiana College in Pineville, La., in 1939. He received master's and doctoral degrees in psychology, both in 1942, from Louisiana State University. He was an aviation psychologist with the Navy from 1943 to 1946.

Dr. Prothro was the author of five books and dozens of professional articles on his specialty of cross-cultural psychology. He won grants and professional awards from the Ford Foundation, UNICEF and the National Institute of Mental Health and served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Social Psychology and Marriage and Family Review. In 1969, he was awarded the Order of the Cedars by the Republic of Lebanon.

He lived in Chevy Chase for 13 years before moving to Bethesda 10 years ago.

His marriage to Dorothy Kenworthy Prothro ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 39 years, Najla Salman Prothro of Bethesda; a daughter from his first marriage, Martha Carol Wells of Stockton, Calif.; a daughter from his second marriage, Gwendolyn Prothro Renigar of Washington; and a grandson.

-- Matt Schudel

Sister Miriam ReginaEducator

Sister Miriam Regina, 81, a retired teacher and school administrator, died of cancer June 6 at St. Angela Hall in Kensington.

She was born Mary Ann Brosnan in Baltimore and grew up in the District. She was educated at St. Patrick's Academy in the District and in 1945 entered the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross at Notre Dame in Indiana. She made final profession of vows in 1950.

She received her undergraduate degree from Dunbarton College of Holy Cross and took graduate courses in education at Trinity College in the District.

She was a teacher and administrator at a number of schools in the Washington area and in Austin; Batavia, N.Y.; New York; and in Alexandria, Arlington and Norfolk. She taught for four years at St. Joseph's Home and School in the District, for five years at St. Patrick's School in Baltimore and for 13 years at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Raleigh, N.C. She was principal for 16 years at Holy Cross Elementary School in Garrett Park.

After 53 years as an educator, she retired and moved to St. Angela Hall, where she became active in the Sisters' Presence Program at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring. Known for her cheerful and outgoing personality, she relied on her sense of humor to buoy patients and staff in the surgical services waiting area.

Survivors include a sister, Joan Brosnan of Gaithersburg.

-- Joe Holley

Joseph J. TafeJustice Department Trial Lawyer

Joseph John Tafe, 67, a Justice Department trial lawyer from 1966 to 2003 who spent most of his career in the criminal division's internal security section, died May 16 at Inova Fairfax Hospital after a heart attack.

Mr. Tafe retired as chief of the internal security section's export control enforcement unit.

He directed the effort to enforce export laws targeted at preventing U.S. technology with national security implications -- including missiles and software -- from being illegally transferred abroad through front companies and other means.

He oversaw a large increase in export prosecutions and the creation of investigative and prosecution strategies and procedures that remain in effect.

Early in his career, he participated in prosecutions of people suspected of being involved in organized crime and in investigations and trials of Vietnam War-era antiwar protesters, including a bombing by radicals at the University of Wisconsin in 1970.

Among his honors was the attorney general's award for exceptional service.

Mr. Tafe was born in Philadelphia, where he graduated from La Salle University in 1961 and Temple University law school in 1965. He lived in McLean.

Survivors include his wife of 39 years, Ethelyn Champagne Tafe of McLean; three sons, Christopher J. Tafe of Aldie, Gregory L. Tafe of McLean and Joseph J. Tafe II of New Haven, Conn.; a brother; a sister; and four grandchildren.

-- Adam Bernstein

Esther Baitz ZismanSecretary, Homemaker

Esther Baitz Zisman, 97, a secretary, volunteer and homemaker, died of cardiac arrest June 6 at her home in Rockville.

She was born in Baltimore, the eldest of five children. At age 13, she began working at Montgomery Ward to help support her family. She later worked as a secretary at the Department of Agriculture and for the head of the Children's Bureau at the Labor Department.

In 1935, she married William A. Zisman, a physical chemist at the U. S. Naval Research Laboratory.

Mrs. Zisman, who had studied at the Peabody Conservatory when she was young, enjoyed playing the piano. She also volunteered with Planned Parenthood.

In her 50s, she fulfilled a postponed dream and received a bachelor's degree in American Studies from the University of Maryland.

Her husband died in 1986.

Survivors include a daughter, Sandra Zisman of Rockville; and two sisters, Mildred Hamer of Rockville and Beatrice Zuckerman of Bethesda.

-- Yvonne Shinhoster Lamb

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