Alvin E. Kraus, 75, a past president and retired board chairman of the old Criterion Insurance Co., a subsidiary of the Government Employees Insurance Co. (GEICO), died of cancer Sept. 2 at his home in Potomac.

He had a nationwide reputation as a foremost industry authority on the auto insurance underwriting business. He was a former chairman of the National Industry Committee of the National Association of Independent Insurers.

Mr. Kraus, who joined GEICO in 1939, retired as Criterion's president in 1974, reportedly because of differences with others in top management on the company's future. Two years later, the board of the giant and financially troubled insurance concern asked him to return as a special consultant to the GEICO board chairman in the area of underwriting.

News accounts reported that he was given carte blanche by the directors to help bring about a wholesale reorganization of GEICO's underwriting operations -- including promotions and dismissals. He helped nurse the insurance firm back to financial health. He was a director of the GEICO Corp. from 1978 to 1983, and was an honorary director at the time of his death. He was chairman of Criterion from 1978 to 1981.

Mr. Kraus was a native of Runge, Tex. He was a graduate of the Schreiner Institute in Kerrville, Tex., and attended George Washington University. He joined GEICO's underwriting department in 1939. He was named assistant secretary of GEICO in 1948, assistant vice president in 1949 and vice president of the underwriting department in 1950.

In 1961, he helped found Criterion, now the GEICO Indemnity Co., which was a GEICO affiliate to insure high-risk drivers. He became executive vice president of Criterion in 1964 and was its president from 1966 until retiring the first time in 1974.

Mr. Kraus was a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the Maryland Horse Breeders Association, the Kenwood Golf and Country Club and the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rotary Club.

His wife, the former Emmie M. Harwood, died in 1985. Survivors include two daughters, Eugenia Kraus Anderson of Los Altos, Calif., and Karen Elizabeth Kraus of Potomac; a sister, Bernice K. Krula of Silver Spring, and a grandchild.

WILLIAM T. FINE,

69, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and former Navy Department official who was safety director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 1978 to 1986, died of hepatitis Aug. 28 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

He contracted hepatitis after receiving a tainted blood transfusion.

Col. Fine, who lived in Silver Spring, had been an area resident since retiring from active duty in 1966. An ordnance officer, he had served for 27 years and was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War. From 1966 until joining HHS in 1978, he was safety director of the Naval Surface Weapons System.

He was a past president of the American Society of Safety Engineers and was a recipient of that organization's man-of-the-year award. He was a past commodore of the Chesapeake Bay Yacht Clubs Association and the Potomac Yacht Clubs Association. He was a founder and past commodore of the Aquia Harbour Yacht Club of Stafford, Va. A Mason, he was a past patron of the Order of the Eastern Star.

Col. Fine was a native of Syracuse, N.Y., and earned a degree in mechanical engineering at Cornell University. He served in the Southwest Pacific theater during World War II and in Korea during the war there. He was safety dirctor of the Japan Ordnance Command from 1952 to 1956, and later was a battalion commander in West Germany. His last Army post was at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Survivors include his wife, the former Martha Ann Dworsky, of Silver Spring; a daughter, Betsee Finle-Haney of Malibu, Calif.; a brother, Richard H., of Latham, N.Y., and a grandchild.

VIOLET GOLDBERG,

78, who died Aug. 31 as a result of injuries she received earlier that day in a two-car collision on Rte. 28, had been an area resident since 1940 and had long been active in animal welfare efforts. She lived in Potomac.

A spokesman for the Montgomery County police said Mrs. Goldberg was in an eastbound car driven by her husband, Dr. Herbert Goldberg, when a westbound vehicle, driven by a 31-year old Poolesville woman, crossed to the eastbound lane and struck the Goldbergs' car. The accident occurred between Darnestown and Poolesville, police said.

Mrs. Goldberg and the driver of the second car were pronounced dead at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital. Dr. Goldberg was admitted to Suburban Hospital in critical condition. Police said Dr. Goldberg and his wife were wearing seat belts at the time of the accident and the second driver was not.

Mrs. Goldberg was a native of Halifax, Yorkshire. She was an honors graduate of St. Andrew's University in Scotland, where she received a master's degree in history and economics. She had been personnel director for the Eveready battery company of Great Britain before coming to this country in 1933.

She had been active in Washington area animal rescue work for more than 40 years. In 1973, she cofounded the Friends of Montgomery County Animals, a private volunteer organization that cares for injured animals and wildlife and seeks homes for horses, cats, and dogs. Mrs. Goldberg was the organization's head of adoption at the time of her death.

In addition to her husband, of Potomac, survivors include two daughters, Janet Hitchen of Boyds, and Louise Goldberg of Potomac, and a sister, Joy Pearce of Christchurch, New Zealand.

ELIZABETH BLOOD MILES,

74, a retired partner in a Washington public relations counseling firm, died of cancer Sept. 2 at her home in Washington.

Mrs. Miles was born in Montreal. She grew up in Manchester, N.H., and graduated from Wheaton College in Massachusetts. During the late 1930s, she was a reporter for the Boston Herald newspaper and worked as a public relations director of Colby Junior College in New London, N.H.

She was commissioned in the Navy in 1942 and served during World War II as a naval liaison officer with an Army entertainment unit in New York. She received a commendation from the Navy for outstanding service. She moved to the Washington area in 1948.

During the late 1960s, she was assistant editor of the publication "The Guide to Federal Assistance for Education." From 1970 until she retired in 1980, Mrs. Miles and her husband were partners in Thomas W. Miles Associates, a public affairs counseling firm.

She also had edited and written several publications for the Department of Labor, including "The Handbook for Job Restructuring" and "A Directory for Reaching Minority Groups."

Mrs. Miles was a past chairman of the safety committee of John Eaton Elementary School and was a founding member and past chairman of the Community Coordinating Council for Washington Integrated Secondary Education.

Survivors include her husband, Thomas Ward Miles of Washington; three sons, Nickerson Blood Miles and Rogers Blood Miles, both of Washington, and Christian Thomas Miles of Bethesda; one daughter, Kemp Miles Minifie of New York City, and four grandchildren.

WILSON MILES CARY,

76, a retired advertising salesman with the Army Times Publishing Co. in Springfield, died Sept. 2 at George Washington University Hospital. He had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Mr. Cary, who lived in Washington, was born in Richmond and moved to this area in 1924. He was a 1931 graduate of Episcopal High School in Alexandria and attended Hampden-Sydney College.

During World War II, he served in the Army in Europe. During the 1950s and the 1960s, he had his own home improvement firm. He joined Army Times Publishing in 1970 and retired in 1980.

Mr. Cary had been a member of the Sons of the American Revolution.

Survivors include his wife, Charlotte Kelley Cary of Washington; five daughters, Anne Ewin of Silver Spring, Martha C. Romberg of New Carrollton, Meredith Fisher of Arlington, Deborah Cary of Staten Island, N.Y., and Sally M. Cary of Washington; three brothers, the Rev. Hunsdon Cary Jr. of Palm Beach, Fla., and Cashiers, N.C., George D. Cary of Lynchburg, Va., and retired Army Col. Randolph Cary of Wilmington, N.C.; three sisters, Anne Tilton of Richmond, Mary Babiak of Philadelphia, and Helen Stewart of Santa Monica, Calif.; 11 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

THE REV. DR. CLAUDE E. GUTHRIE,

70, a former Washington area resident and a retired headmaster of the Queen Anne Episcopal School in Upper Marlboro, died Aug. 24 at his home in Safety Harbor, Fla. He had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Dr. Guthrie was born in Fouke, Ark. He graduated from North Texas State University, where he also received a master's degree in music. He received a master's degree of divinity at the University of the South in Tennessee and received a doctorate in education at the University of Sarasota in Florida.

Before moving to the Washington area in 1975, Dr. Guthrie held teaching and administrative positions in Tennessee, Florida and in the Carolinas. He served as headmaster of the Queen Anne School until retiring in 1981 and moving to Florida.

Survivors include his wife, Verle Craver Guthrie of Safety Harbor; three sons, David E. Guthrie of Greenville, S.C., John C. Guthrie of Clearwater, Fla., and Mark C. Guthrie of Oldsmar, Fla.; one brother, Morris E. Guthrie of Grand Prairie, Tex.; three sisters, Connie Robertson and Emmozelle Bailey, both of El Dorado, Ark., and Ouida Grant of Grand Prairie, and four grandchildren.