The Rev. Annie M. Woodridge, 64, an inner-city community activist who was founder and pastor of a storefront church in Washington and director of Mother Dear's Community Center on 14th Street NW, died Sept. 26 at Georgetown University Hospital after a stroke.
For the last 21 years, Mrs. Woodridge, who was known in her neighborhood as "Mother Dear," had directed the community center, which supplied food and clothing for the hungry and homeless and a variety of counseling services for the mentally ill, the unemployed and ex-convicts.
Since 1962, Mrs. Woodridge also had been pastor of St. Ann's Cathedral Baptist Church, located in what once was the private synagogue of a Jewish psychiatric home on Spring Road NW. There she preached at services twice a week and presided at weddings and funerals.
She came to Washington from New Orleans in 1954, and soon after turned the basement of her house in the 1400 block of Half Street NW into a recreation center for neighborhood children who had no place to play.
Later, she formed a Jobs for Teens program which operated out of her home. It was there that she acquired the nickname "Mother Dear," when youths who came to her for counseling heard some of Mrs. Woodridge's 15 children refer to her that way.
She was born in New Orleans and graduated from Dillard University there. After moving to Washington, she studied theology at Howard University, and was ordained a Baptist minister here in 1960. During her early years in Washington, Mrs. Woodridge taught piano lessons to neighborhood children.
At Mother Dear's Community Center, Mrs. Woodridge counseled as many as 200 people a week, and her activities ranged from helping people fill out job applications to finding overnight shelter for homeless persons. She distributed surplus food from the Department of Agriculture, and she recruited volunteer seamstresses to mend and alter clothing on donated sewing machines.
She ran unsuccessfully for D.C. delegate to the House of Representatives in 1970, and later worked at one of Del. Walter Fauntroy's district offices. Mrs. Woodridge also had taught religion at Howard University, served on the board of the New Model Cities Development Corporation, been a member of the President's Committee for the Handicapped and been chaplain for the Area 4B Mental Health Center.
Mrs. Woodridge participated in a religious goodwill mission to the Soviet Union in 1968, where the Russians gave her the award of "Twice Hero Mother."
In 1979, Howard University's Black Women's Symposium nominated her for "Mother of the Year," and she was awarded a certificate of appreciation by Mayor Marion Barry.
Survivors include her husband, Joseph Woodridge Sr. of Washington and New Orleans; six sons, nine daughters, 65 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.
ALMA GERTRUDE GRIFFIN, 65, a retired food service worker at the Bethesda Naval Hospital and a member of Corinthian Baptist Church in Washington, died Oct. 6 at the Greater Southeast Community Hospital. She had Huntington's disease.
Mrs. Griffin, a resident of Washington, was born in Clinton, S.C. She moved to this area in the late 1930s and went to work at the naval hospital. She retired in 1968.
Her husband, the Rev. Percy Griffin, died in 1973. Survivors include two daughters, Delores Rucker of Silver Spring, and Alice Taylor of Gaithersburg; one brother, Timothy Wilson of Charlotte, N.C., and three grandchildren.
LELAND F. RAMSDELL, 78, a retired personnel officer who had worked 18 years for the National Park Service in Washington, died of cancer Sept. 29 at his home in Columbia.
Mr. Ramsdell was born in Sheridan, Wyo., and moved to Wisconsin as a child. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, where he also received a master's degree in English.
Before moving to the Washington area in 1943, Mr. Ramsdell was a personnel classifier for the Wisconsin state government in Madison. In Washington, he worked for the Office of Emergency Management and then in the Office of the Secretary of the Interior before he joined the Park Service in 1950.
In 1968, Mr. Ramsdell moved to Richmond as assistant regional director for the Park Service. He retired in 1970 and moved back to this area in 1979.
Survivors include his wife, Marjorie Ramsdell of Columbia; one son, Douglas L. Ramsdell of New York City; one daughter, Lorraine G. Ramsdell of Lanham, Md.; and four sisters, Dorothy Atkinson of North Freedom, Wis., Eleanor Roessler of Derwood, Md., Irene Arnold and June Jurney, both of Los Alamos, N.M.
VIRGINIA L. BROWNE, 54, a former social worker and the deputy director of Family Service of Montgomery County Inc., died of cancer Oct. 5 at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital.
Mrs. Browne, a resident of Bethesda, was born in Philadelphia. She graduated from Colby College in Maine and received a master's degree at the Columbia University School of Social Work. She moved to this area in 1968.
For the last 15 years, Mrs. Browne had worked at Family Service, and she had been deputy director for the last two years.
Survivors include her husband, David A. Browne of Bethesda; three daughters, Lauren Washington of Gaithersburg, Allyson L. and Kyla E. Browne, both of Bethesda; her parents, the Rev. Dr. J. Oscar and Alice W. Lee of Gaithersburg; and one sister, Jacquelin Young of New York City.
JOHN C. LANGTRY, 68, a Washington native who left this area in the 1940s and retired as a sales representative with the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Co. in 1972, died of an aneurysm Sept. 25 at a hospital in Garden City, N.Y.
Mr. Langtry, who had lived in Garden City since 1946, graduated from the old Western High School. He attended George Washington University and graduated from New York University. During World War II, he served in the Army in Europe.
Survivors include his wife, Doris B. Langtry of Garden City, and two brothers, James H. Langtry of Annapolis and Wilbur W. Langtry of Albany, Ga.