Obituaries

Friday, December 14, 2007

Jean Edward WelkerNASA Physicist

Jean Edward Welker, 72, who spent 50 years as a physicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, died Dec. 5 of heart disease at Washington Hospital Center. He lived in Laurel.

Mr. Welker was a specialist in examining climate patterns in Russia and Eastern Europe. He worked at NASA until his death.

He was born in Mineola, N.Y., and received bachelor's and master's degrees in physics from Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. He received a doctorate in history from the University of Maryland in the early 1990s.

He was a member of St. Louis Catholic Church in Clarksville and sang in the choir. He had also sung in the University of Maryland choir.

His wife of 23 years, Joan M. Welker, died in 2000.

Survivors include three children, Edward Welker of Kensington, Catherine Welker of Washington and Tania Welker of New York; one sister, Nancy Frenze of Philadelphia; and three brothers, Paul Welker of Providence, R.I., Robert Welker of Arlington and Kenneth Welker of Oslo.

-- Matt Schudel

Joe W. McCartherArmy Master Sergeant

Joe W. McCarther, 81, a retired Army master sergeant, died of a heart attack Nov. 28 at Inova Alexandria Hospital. He lived in Arlington.

Sgt. McCarther served in the Army in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. He retired in 1974. Among his awards were two Bronze Stars.

He was born in Chickasha, Okla., and enlisted in the Army after high school. After his retirement, he worked for the Office of the Secretary of the Army and then the Office of the Secretary of Defense as a driver and clerk in classified positions. He retired in 1994.

Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Gine McCarther of Arlington; three children, Danny McCarther of Pakistan, Helene Lowry of Baltimore and Johnny McCarther of Alexandria; and six grandchildren.

-- Patricia Sullivan

Stanley Chickering StantonAuto Salesman

Stanley Chickering "Chick" Stanton, 71, a former Porsche sports car salesman, died Dec. 7 at Hilltop House assisted living facility in Winchester, Va. He had Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and lived most recently in Purcellville.

Mr. Stanton was born in Washington, grew up in Arlington and graduated from Washington-Lee High School. He served in the Army in Germany from 1959 to 1962 and was a manager of finance companies in Silver Spring and Woodbridge early in his career.

Because of his lifelong interest in sports cars, Mr. Stanton became a Porsche salesman at Heishman Porsche Audi in Arlington in 1971. He retired in 2006.

Mr. Stanton had a competitive racing license from the Sports Car Club of America and twice participated in the Sea-to-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, popularly known as the Cannonball Run. While practicing for the 1975 coast-to-coast race, he and a co-driver turned in their fastest time: 36 hours, 45 minutes.

Mr. Stanton also competed in the "One Lap of America" rally in the early 1980s, completing a 9,000-mile circuit around the perimeter of the continental United States in one week.

He was a member of the Potomac Founders' Region of the Porsche Club of America and helped start its driver education program. Among the several Porsches he owned, his favorite was a silver 1975 Carrera.

He lived in McLean until 2006, when he moved to Purcellville.

Survivors include his wife of 47 years, Katherine Stanton of Purcellville; two children, Matthew Stanton of Rehoboth Beach, Del., and Kasey Hyman of Bluemont, Va.; a sister; and four grandchildren.

-- Matt Schudel

Lola A. HoustonSecretary

Lola A. Forbes Houston, 64, a secretary for the Fairfax County police, died of complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Dec. 6 at her home in Chantilly.

Mrs. Houston worked for the Fairfax police for nearly 20 years, retiring in 2001. She previously worked in a travel agency in Hawaii from 1979 through 1987.

She was born in Norfolk and attended Northern Virginia Community College. Except for when she lived in Hawaii, she had been a Washington area resident since 1962.

Mrs. Houston was a member of Annandale United Methodist Church. She enjoyed bowling.

Survivors include her husband of 42 years, Lewis T. Houston of Chantilly; two sons, Scott Thomas Houston of Fairfax and Charles Thomas Houston of Springfield; two sisters; and three grandchildren.

-- Patricia Sullivan

Neil E. LerchArmy Civilian Personnel Official

Neil Eugene Lerch, 87, who spent 33 years as an Army Department personnel official, died Dec. 1 at Burke Health Care Center. He had heart and lung disease.

Mr. Lerch's career took him to Germany in the late 1950s, and he settled in the Washington area in 1963.

After retiring about 1980, he received training in physical therapy at Northern Virginia Community College and was a physical therapy assistant at Fairfax County nursing homes and hospitals for seven years.

Mr. Lerch, a Fairfax County resident, was born in Geneva, N.Y., and was raised on a farm. He was a biology graduate of St. Lawrence University and received a master's degree in psychology at Hobart College, both in New York state.

A son, Neil Stuart Lerch, died in 1995.

Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Carolyn Cooke Lerch of Fairfax; three children, David Jasper Lerch of Red Bluff, Calif., Robert M. Lerch of Chicago and Lora L. Riggins of Catlett; and three grandchildren.

-- Adam Bernstein

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