Roland J. Queene Sr., 58, a former superintendent of Forest Haven, the District of Columbia's home for the mentally retarded, who also had been an official in mental retardation programs in Virginia, Maryland, and New York, died of a cerebral hemorrhage Sept. 27 at his home in Clifton Park, N.Y.
Mr. Queene became superintendant of Forest Haven in 1974 amid public and congressional cries for change at the problem-plagued institution. After trying unsuccessfully for two years to get the support he wanted from the old D.C. Department of Human Resources, Mr. Queene resigned in 1976. In an interview printed in The Washington Post, Mr. Queene said he quit as a resulted of long-standing "philosophical differences" between himself and DHR administrators. "I feel that my usefulness is now about shot," he said in the interview.
Mr. Queene was born in Annapolis and graduated from Bates High School. During World War II, he served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He graduated from Bowie State College in 1951. He later earned a master's degree in educational administration and supervision from Loyola College in Baltimore.
He moved to Washington in 1968 and joined what became the University of the District of Columbia as an associate professor. He later worked for the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as regional director of mental retardation. He was the Virginia director of mental retardation before he took over Forest Haven in 1974.
In September, Mr. Queene left his job as director of the division of program development and demonstration at the Department of Health and Human Services and moved to New York, where he was deputy director for community services at the Wilton Developmental Center until his death.
His marriage to Dolores Queene ended in divorce.
Survivors include a daughter, Lisa Queene, of Saratoga Springs N.Y.; a son, Ronald Jr., his mother, Rosa Blake, and a brother, Benjamin, all of Annapolis; a sister, Jean Haughton of Philadelphia, and a grandson.