Obituaries

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Lester Homer Mock Jr.Diesel Mechanic

Lester Homer Mock Jr., 86, a diesel mechanic for Greyhound Bus Line, died of a heart attack Dec. 9 at Montgomery General Hospital. He lived in Silver Spring.

A native Washingtonian, Mr. Mock attended McKinley Technical High School. He boxed in the Golden Gloves tournaments in the 1930s and was acknowledged in 1936 for his sportsmanship.

That year Mr. Mock was scheduled to fight Angelo Pappas for the District title but was told he was being awarded the title in a forfeit, because Pappas's mother had died. Pappas showed up for the match despite his grief, but organizers told him he need not box. The 112-pound Mr. Mock refused to accept the gloves and asked they be given to "the poor boy whose mother had died." The Washington Post treated the two boxers to a night on the town, according to a February 1936 account in the newspaper.

Mr. Mock enlisted in the Army during World War II and served in Europe. He returned to Washington and his job at Greyhound, where he worked until his 1980 retirement. He also taught diesel mechanics and refrigeration in vocational classes in D.C. public high schools.

He volunteered at the University of Maryland greenhouse, where he helped design and build a cooling system.

While a boy, he developed a passion for farming and animals. Later in life, he raised fruits and vegetables on his property in Silver Spring and gave them to friends and neighbors.

His wife, Theresa Annette Howard Mock, died in 1961.

Survivors include his companion, Ann K. Dentry, of Silver Spring; and a daughter, Diane Mock of Minneapolis.

-- Patricia Sullivan

Charles E. Edwards IIINeurologist, VA Official

Charles Eugene Edwards III, 80, a neurologist who served on the Department of Veterans Affairs Board of Veterans' Appeals from 1979 to 1994, died Dec. 1 at his home in California, Md. He had Parkinson's disease.

Dr. Edwards had a private neurology practice before joining the VA. He was chief of neurology at D.C. General Hospital from 1959 to 1966 and a clinical professor of neurology at Georgetown University Medical School during much of his later career.

He was a native Washingtonian and a graduate of Gonzaga College High School. He served in the Army in occupied Germany from 1945 to 1947.

He was a 1951 graduate of Georgetown University and a 1955 graduate of its medical school. He received a master's degree in neurology from Georgetown in 1959.

He moved from Rockville to California, in St. Mary's County, in August.

He was a member of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Rockville, and he volunteered as an attending physician for Catholic Church pilgrimages of the sick to Lourdes, France.

He was a member of professional organizations and spent years researching the medical history of President Woodrow Wilson, who suffered a debilitating stroke in office.

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Elizabeth Nistal Edwards of California; four children, Charles Edwards IV of Marietta, Ga., Sharon Edwards of Berkeley, Calif., Michael Edwards of Leonardtown and John Edwards of Washington; and five grandchildren.

-- Adam Bernstein

Omar Ranck BuchwalterPresbyterian Minister

Omar Ranck Buchwalter, 89, a former Presbyterian minister in Kensington who was active in civil rights causes, died of complications of anemia Dec. 9 at his home in Chambersburg, Pa.

Dr. Buchwalter was the pastor at Warner Memorial Presbyterian Church in Kensington from 1959 to 1966. He organized a day nursery for the children of African American congregants, publicly supported another minister who demonstrated to desegregate a Baltimore amusement park and, with 104 other local clerics, signed a petition that called for a cease-fire in Vietnam in 1964.

He was named chairman of the Washington Presbytery Commission on Religion and Race and served on a commission that reported to President John F. Kennedy on the need for civil rights legislation. He marched in civil rights demonstrations in Selma, Ala., and registered voters in South Carolina. He also was dean of the Graduate College of the Washington Presbytery.

Dr. Buchwalter left the Washington area in 1966 to work in the Office of Economic Opportunity in Atlanta. He joined an integrated church congregation there. In 1968, he moved to Clifton, Va., where he worked for the Research Analysis Corp. to institute a juvenile justice program that involved delinquents in their own sentencing.

He retired in 1984 but worked as an interim pastor at a number of community churches in West Virginia and New York.

He was born in Gap, Pa., and graduated from Taylor University in Fort Wayne, Ind. He served in the Army during World War II as a chaplain in the Pacific theater. After the war, he became a professor in the College of Theology at Silliman University in the Philippines.

In 1953, he received a doctorate in philosophy and theology from a joint program of Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University.

He enjoyed tennis, reading, bowling, golfing and volunteering at Penn Hall Nursing Center in Pennsylvania and for Meals on Wheels.

Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Dorothy Marie Buchwalter; six children, Philip R. Buchwalter of Pittsburgh, Bonnie E. Fortuna of Springfield, Stephen L. Buchwalter of Hopewell Junction, N.Y., Marcia A. B. Brown of Baltimore, Suzanne L. O'Dell of Crozet, Va., and Marie E. Crizer of Dunn Loring; a brother; two sisters; 21 grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.

-- Patricia Sullivan

Patricia M. ByrneAmbassador

Patricia M. Byrne, 82, a former ambassador to Mali, Burma and the United Nations, died of a cerebral hemorrhage Nov. 23 at George Washington University Medical Center. She lived in the District.

Ms. Byrne, a Foreign Service officer since 1949, was named ambassador to Mali by President Gerald R. Ford in 1976. President Jimmy Carter sent her to Burma in 1979. President Ronald Reagan named her the deputy U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, at the rank of ambassador, a job she held from 1985 to 1989.

She retired in 1989, but she later returned to the State Department and worked for several years to help establish procedures for declassifying documents.

She was born in Cleveland and graduated from Vassar College. She received a master's degree from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in 1947.

Ms. Byrne joined the Foreign Service two years later and was posted to Athens. She served in Saigon from 1950 to 1955. She was a desk officer for Laos at the State Department, followed by assignments in Turkey and Laos. In 1969, she became the first female graduate of the National War College. Her next assignment was in Paris. In 1973, she was transferred to Sri Lanka, where she was deputy chief of the mission.

After her retirement, Ms. Byrne settled in Washington, where she was a member of the Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retired. She worked on the group's education committee, which grants more than $200,000 in scholarships each year. She was twice elected to the group's board.

She also was a volunteer with the Senior Living Foundation and the Asia Society.

Survivors include a sister.

-- Patricia Sullivan

© 2007 The Washington Post Company