Leon Berkowitz, 75, one of the city's more respected painters and a founder of the Washington Workshop Center for the Arts in 1945, died of cancer yesterday at his home in Washington.
Mr. Berkowitz was best known for the dramatic, brilliantly colored abstract paintings he created since the early 1970s. Such paintings are in the permanent collections of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the National Museum of American Art and the Phillips Collection in Washington, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Conn.
He also was an outstanding art teacher here for more than four decades. From 1945 to 1956, and again in the late 1960s, he taught at Western High School (now the Duke Ellington School of the Arts). In 1969, he was appointed chairman of the painting department at the Corcoran School of Art, and he maintained a teaching position there until his death. He taught at various times at American University, Catholic University and the Art League of Northern Virginia in Alexandria.
The Washington Workshop Center for the Arts, founded by Mr. Berkowitz with his first wife, the late poet Ida Fox, and Helmuth Kern, was one of the more important artistic institutions in the city for a decade. The school, which closed in 1956, emphasized writing and dance as well as painting and sculpture. Many of the city's more famous artists, including Morris Louis, Ken Noland, Gene Davis and Thomas Downing of the Washington Color School taught or studied there.
Mr. Berkowitz was born in 1911 in Philadelphia. He studied at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1942, and at the Art Students League in New York, the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris and the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence.
After the workshop center closed, Mr. Berkowitz traveled extensively in Europe, returning to Washington permanently in late 1964.
In 1966, he was given his first one-man exhibition in a museum, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. In the ensuing years, his works were exhibited regularly at commercial galleries here, most recently last month at the Baumgartner Galleries.
Survivors include his second wife, Maureen Berkowitz, of Washington.
THE REV. DR. HARRY GRIFFITH BALTHIS, 76, a past president of the Methodist National Conference on Christian Education who had been a minister at four churches in the Washington area before retiring in 1976, died Aug. 16 at his home in Waynesboro, Va., after a heart attack.
Dr. Balthis was president of the Christian Education Conference in 1964. From 1954 to 1962, he was executive secretary of the board of education of the United Methodist Church's Virginia Conference. He was president of the Arlington Council of Churches in the early 1950s.
From 1941 to 1945, he was minister of the Vienna-Oakton United Methodist Church in Vienna, and then he spent six years at Arlington Forest United Methodist Church. He was pastor at Walker Chapel United Methodist in Arlington from 1962 to 1967 and at Fairlington United Methodist in Alexandria from 1971 to 1976.
He was minister at Main Street United Methodist Church in Waynesboro from 1967 to 1971. After retiring in 1976, he returned to Waynesboro where he had been minister emeritus of the Main Street church since 1985.
Dr. Balthis was born in Montgomery County. He was a 1934 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Randolph-Macon College, and he earned a bachelor's degree in divinity at Yale University in 1938. He was a recipient of an honorary doctorate from Randolph-Macon. He began his church career as a minister in Winchester, Va., in 1939. He was a trustee of Randolph-Macon Woman's College.
Survivors include his wife, Evelyn G. Balthis of Waynesboro; one daughter, Gay Brown of St. Louis; two sons, H. Griffith Balthis Jr. of Elkton, Md., and Charles David Balthis of Fredericksburg, Va.; two brothers, David L. Balthis of Ellicott City, Md., and Dr. Joseph H. Balthis Jr., of Hockessin, Del., and four grandchildren.
RUTH WHITE SKALLERUP, 89, a resident of Washington since 1962 and a former member of the Woman's National Democratic Club, died Aug. 16 at Georgetown University Hospital. She had heart and circulatory ailments.
Mrs. Skallerup was born in Chicago, and she lived in Philadelphia before moving here. She was a member of the Illinois Society.
Her husband, Walter T. Skallerup Sr., died in 1967. A son, Walter T. Skallerup Jr., the general counsel of the Navy, died July 29.
Survivors include one daughter, Barbara S. Weiss of Chevy Chase, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
LILLIAN ANNA MILLER, 75, a resident of the Washington area since 1936 and a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, died of a heart ailment Aug. 14 at the Washington Hospital Center. She lived in Landover Hills.
Mrs. Miller was a native of Pittsburgh. In the 1940s, she was a cafeteria cook at the Cheverly-Tuxedo Elementary School. She was a member of the Cheverly Community United Methodist Church, where she taught Sunday school in the 1950s.
Survivors include her husband, William A. Miller of Landover Hills; three sons, Donald W. Miller of Lanham, James A. Miller of Bowie and R. Jay Miller of Kirkland, Wash., and two grandchildren.
ROBERT E. HALL, 68, retired director of development and alumni affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, died of cancer Aug. 16 at Georgetown University Hospital.
Mr. Hall, a resident of Washington, was born in Massachusetts and graduated from the University of Massachusetts. He served in the Army during World War II, then earned a master's degree in international economics and Middle Eastern studies at the School of Advanced International Studies.
From 1950 until 1959, Mr. Hall was a field representative for Aramco in Saudi Arabia. On his return to Washington, he became director of development and alumni affairs at the School of Advanced International Studies, and he remained in that position until he retired in 1984.
Since then, he had been a volunteer tour guide at the Kennedy Center. He also was an amateur genealogist and gardener.
Survivors include one brother, Eben T. Hall of Bloomfield, Conn., and three sisters, Virginia Livernash of Arlington, Mass., Sylvia Bronson of Hartford, Conn., and Betsy Carrow of Taos, N.M.
MICHAEL L. KEEFE, 82, a retired director of security for the U.S. Post Office Department, died of cancer Aug. 17 at Montgomery General Hospital.
Mr. Keefe, a resident of Chevy Chase, was born in Bangor, Maine. He had lived in the Washington area since 1923.
He graduated from the old Columbus Law School.
He had worked 45 years for the Post Office Department before his retirement in 1968, and he was assigned to the Postal Inspection Service before he was appointed director of security about 1960.
Mr. Keefe was a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Bethesda.
His wife, Anna N. Jones Keefe, died in 1984.
Survivors include one daughter, Mary Eileen Bonhag of Ashton; two sons, Robert M. Keefe of Rockville and Thomas S. Keefe of Brookeville, and nine grandsons.
DAVID A. (SHERIFF) STONER, 87, a former General Services Administration detective and Montgomery County deputy sheriff, died of pneumonia Aug. 16 at a hospital in Abilene, Tex.
Mr. Stoner was born in Martinsburg, Pa. He served in the Army in the early 1920s, and his last post was at Fort Myer. He remained in the Washington area after his discharge.
Before joining the federal government in 1940 he worked at construction jobs in the area and drove taxicabs. He was a GSA detective when he retired in 1965, and for the last four years of that period, he also was a Montgomery County deputy sheriff.
A former resident of Washington and Rockville, he moved to Abilene in 1966.
Survivors include his wife, Marie L. Stoner of Abilene; one sister, Gertrude McGuire of Bedford, Pa., and one stepsister, Jane Daugherty of Hollidaysburg, Pa.