Joseph P. Lash, 77, whose longtime friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt helped him write a Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of the former first lady, died Aug. 22 at a hospital in Boston where he was being treated for a heart ailment.
The 765-page first book of his highly acclaimed two-volume work appeared in 1971. Titled "Eleanor and Franklin: The Story of Their Relationship Based on Eleanor Roosevelt's Private Papers," it was awarded the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for biography. It also won the 1972 National Book Award for Biography and that year's prestigious Francis Parkman Prize, awarded by the Society of American Historians.
In 1972, the 368-page sequel appeared. "Eleanor: The Years Alone" told of the former first lady's life from the death of her husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1945 until her death in 1962. Along the way, readers were shown the transformation of a shy, homely, wealthy orphan into the worldly wife of a president, a leader of the reform wing of the Democratic Party, a champion of the oppressed, a uniquely American voice in the United Nations and the holder of the popular title "first lady of the world."
Mr. Lash was chosen by Mrs. Roosevelt's literary executor, her son Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr., to write her definitive biography. Mr. Lash had been a friend of Mrs. Roosevelt since 1939 and an editorial page editor of the New York Post.
He was given sole access to Mrs. Roosevelt's files at the Roosevelt Library at Hyde Park, N.Y. Though the book was written with the obvious cooperation of the Roosevelt family, the Pulitzer Prize jurors noted that "there is nothing of an 'official' label on any of its pages."
The books later were used as the basis for a nine-hour television miniseries by ABC.
Mr. Lash was born in New York City to parents who had come to this country from Poland. His father, a storekeeper, died when Mr. Lash was 9 years old. While his mother ran the store, Mr. Lash later recalled, he grew up in the streets of New York.
He received a degree in English from the City College of New York in 1931 and a year later received a master's degree in English literature from Columbia University. In common with many of his age, Mr. Lash found it difficult to find work of any kind. Also, like many others of his generation, he was drawn to the left of the political spectrum.
A member of the Socialist Party since 1929, he helped form a coalition of liberal, socialist and communist youths -- the American Student Union -- in 1935. He was its national secretary for the next four years. In 1937, he left the socialist camp and toyed with the idea of joining the Communist Party until he was repelled by the Nazi-Soviet Non-aggression Pact in 1939.
In 1939, he was summoned to Washington to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Boarding the train, he found that a seatmate was the first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.
She learned that Mr. Lash was to testify on the influence of communists on student and youth groups. She advised him how to act before a congressional committee. On Dec. 1, Mr. Lash testified before the committee. Among those in attendance was Mrs. Roosevelt, who at the end of the day invited Mr. Lash and several other young people to dine with her and the president at the White House.
This was the start of a close working relationship between Mr. Lash and Mrs. Roosevelt. Both had made the intellectual journey from guarded admiration to deep suspicion of the Soviet Union, worked to better the cause of workers and minorities and sought a Democratic Party that reflected these ideals.
After serving with the Army Air Forces in the Pacific during World War II, Mr. Lash worked, along with Mrs. Roosevelt, to help found the Americans for Democratic Action. He served as New York City director from 1946 to 1948.
Mr. Lash joined the New York Post, then a leading liberal voice in the nation, in 1950. He worked as general assignment reporter, U.N. correspondent and editorial writer. When he left the paper, to begin work on the Roosevelt biography in 1966, he was assistant editor of its editorial page.
In addition to his books on Mrs. Roosevelt, he wrote a number of other books, including a biography of the late U.N. secretary-general Dag Hammarskjold and a book on the wartime relationship of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill.
His first marriage ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife, the former Trude Wenzel, of New York City, and two children.
BERNARD B. KLINE, 75, the owner and operator of the Rock Creek Pharmacy in Silver Spring for the last 34 years, died Aug. 21 at Holy Cross Hospital. He had pneumonia.
Mr. Kline, a Silver Spring resident, was born in Allentown, Pa., and graduated from the Philadelphia School of Pharmacy.
He came to the Washington area during World War II, and he operated the Dorchester Pharmacy in Washington before opening the Rock Creek Pharmacy.
He was a Mason and a member of Beth Shalom Congregation in Silver Spring.
Survivors include his wife, Ruth Kline of Silver Spring; two sons, Nelson Kline of Arlington and Lawrence Kline of Potomac; one daughter, Marjorie Kline of Burbank, Calif., and one grandchild.
ETHEL HECKNER WOOD, 92, a retired administrative assistant with the Navy Department's personnel office, died of congestive heart failure Aug. 14 at her home in Arlington.
Mrs. Wood was born in Portland, Ore. She moved to the Washington area in 1917. During the 1920s and the 1930s, she lived in South Africa, where her husband was employed by the General Motors Corp.
She moved back to the Washington area in 1944 and joined the staff of the Red Cross. She went to work for the Navy Department in 1946 and was assigned to the Bureau of Naval Personnel when she retired in 1965.
Mrs. Wood was a volunteer with the Red Cross and with senior citizens groups in Arlington.
Her husband, Donald B. Wood, died in 1944.
She leaves no immediate survivors.
RICHARD CLIVE SAUNDERS, 65, a photojournalist who was the retired international editor of Topic, a magazine published by the U.S. Information Agency for distribution in Africa, died Aug. 20 at George Washington University Hospital. He had diabetes.
Mr. Saunders, a Washington resident, joined the USIA in 1967 and made his career there covering Africa and African affairs. For the first three years, he was stationed in Tunis. He then worked from his home in Orange, N.J. He moved to Washington in 1972 and lived here for the rest of his life. He retired from USIA in 1986.
A native of Bermuda, Mr. Saunders came to this country in 1946. He lived in New York and then in New Jersey. He attended Brooklyn College and the New School for Social Research in New York City.
Before joining USIA, he was a free-lance photographer. He worked for Scope, an agency for photographers, and did assignments for Look, Ebony, Ladies Home Journal, Holiday and Fortune magazines.
He was a member of the American Society of Magazine Photographers.
Survivors include his wife, Emily Saunders of Washington.
ELAINE LOUISE QUARFORTH, 62, a former Washington area resident and a free-lance writer who had contributed articles to the Bowie Blade, died of cardiac arrest Aug. 20 at her home in Augusta, W.Va.
Miss Quarforth was born in Colorado Springs. She moved to the Washington area about 1945. During the 1960s and the 1970s, she wrote "The Voice of Carrollton," a weekly column about the people and events of that town, which appeared in the Bowie Blade. She moved to West Virginia in 1980.
She had written poems that appeared in Martin Baxbaum's anthology, "The Unsung."
Miss Quarforth had been a member of First Baptist Church of Riverdale, where she sang in the choir.
Her marriage to Dr. William D. Rosson ended in divorce.
Survivors include four sons, Paul Q. Rosson of Augusta, Michael A. Rosson of Silver Spring, Glenn D. Rosson of Friendsville, Md., and Allan S. Rosson of McLean; one daughter, Carol J. Rosson of Virginia Beach; her mother, Minnie Quarforth, and one brother, Donald C. Quarforth, both of Annandale, and two grandchildren.
MIRIAM RICHARDS RANSOM, 87, an area resident since 1978, died Aug. 20 at the Brooke Grove Nursing Home in Olney after a stroke.
Mrs. Ransom was born in Beaver Falls, Pa., and lived in New Jersey for 50 years before moving here. She had lived in Silver Spring before entering Brooke Grove six months ago.
Her husband, George E. Ransom, died in 1983. Survivors include a daughter, Margaret R. North of Silver Spring; a son, George E. Jr., of Wayne, N.J.; 11 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren.