Richard Dempsey, 78, a Washington artist whose paintings included portraits of such public figures as Duke Ellington, Joe Louis and Thurgood Marshall and abstract impressions of people and things he'd seen in the slums of Washington's inner city and in Africa and Central America, died of pneumonia and circulatory ailments Oct. 8 at Washington Hospital Center.

For 35 years Mr. Dempsey's paintings were exhibited at the Franz Bader Gallery in Washington, and they were displayed at government buildings around the city and at U.S. embassies throughout the world.

In 1982 a show of his abstract watercolors based on a six-month stay in Jamaica was displayed at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, and more recently he did a series of 30 paintings based on a trip to Goree Island, off the coast of Senegal, and Mr. Dempsey's feelings about slavery.

He did several large paintings after the 1968 Washington riots that followed the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. They were intended both as expressions of sympathy with the rioters and revulsion at the violence and destruction of the riots.

For 30 years, before he retired from the government in 1981, Mr. Dempsey was a supervisor in the graphics department of the General Services Administration. He came to Washington in the early 1940s and initially worked as a draftsman at the Federal Power Commission, and at the time he was the only black draftsman in his division.

A resident of Takoma Park, Mr. Dempsey was born in Ogden, Utah, and he grew up in California. He attended Sacramento Junior College and the California School of Arts and Crafts, and during the Great Depression worked for the Works Progress Administration making models of the San Francisco World's Fair.

Soon after the United States entered the war, Mr. Dempsey heard President Franklin D. Roosevelt ask every American to do his part for the war effort in a radio broadcast. He wrote the president a letter saying he was willing to do whatever he could, and the note found its way to an FPC personnel officer who offered Mr. Dempsey a job.

Mr. Dempsey was a government worker for most of his remaining years in Washington, but painting became his avocation.

In 1946 he won a $1,500 fellowship from the Julius Rosenwald Fund that enabled him to travel along the East Coast painting leading black public figures.

During the 1940s and 1950s, he used to cut through the alleys and back yards of Southwest Washington before redevelopment on his way to work, then return on weekends to paint what he had seen.

In 1951 he taught and painted in Haiti. He taught at the Corcoran Art Gallery during the 1960s. In 1963 he had a one-man show of his paintings in Bogota, Colombia.

Mr. Dempsey's paintings were displayed at the Franz Bader Gallery from 1951 to 1985.

Survivors include his wife, Vonja Kirkland Dempsey of Takoma Park; and two stepchildren, Tesa McCord of Washington and Wilson McCord of New York City.

GARTH B. OSWALD SR.,

69, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who was a mental health therapist with the Arlington Department of Human Resources from 1977 to 1986, died of kidney disease Oct. 7 at Fairfax Hospital. He lived in Arlington.

Mr. Oswald was born in Alma, Mich. He graduated from Michigan State University and received a master's degree in gerontology and alcoholism counseling from Antioch College. During World War II, he served in the Army Air Forces. He later became an intelligence officer with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and had assignments in China, West Germany, the Philippines and Libya. He retired in 1966 and moved to Washington. Mr. Oswald worked as a researcher for American University before joining the Arlington Human Resources Department.

Survivors include his wife, Christine H. Oswald of Arlington; two daughters, Judith Koutek of Valparaiso, Ind., and Penny Halpern of Herndon; one son, Garth B. (Chip) Oswald Jr. of Arlington; one sister, Geraldine Weber of Phoenix, and five granddaughters.

HAROLD L. BOUTIN,

77, a retired founding partner of the old Johnson & Boutin architectural firm in Washington, died of a stroke Oct. 10 at George Washington University Hospital. He lived in Washington.

Mr. Boutin was born in Cape Girardeau, Mo. He moved to the Washington area in 1936. He graduated from George Washington University, where he also earned a master's degree in architecture. He later studied at the Royal Technical University and at the Royal Academy in Sweden.

He went to work in 1938 for the old Public Buildings Administration. In 1940 he joined the Navy Department's old Bureau of Yards and Docks as the assistant head of civilian housing.

Mr. Boutin started his private practice in architecture in 1945 and was a founder of the architectural firm of Johnson & Boutin in 1949.

During his career, he designed more than 40 churches and numerous other buildings, including Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Wheaton, St. Mary's Academy for Girls in Leonardtown, Md., and Drew Elementary School and Hines Junior High School in Washington. He retired in 1969.

He was a member of the American Institute of Architects and Christ Episcopal Church in Georgetown.

Survivors include one sister, Josephine Renfrew of Cape Girardeau.

THEODORE MACKLIN BALL,

83, a civil engineer by training who was a retired Army lieutenant colonel and a former project engineer with General Services Administration, died Oct. 10 at Walter Reed Army Hospital after a heart attack.

Col. Ball, who lived in Washington, was native of Pennsylvania. He was a 1926 graduate of Norwich University in Vermont. Commissioned in the horse cavalry, he was called to active duty in 1940. He served in this country during World War II and later held engineering posts in West Germany and France before retiring from active duty in 1957.

He worked for the GSA from 1957 to 1971. During those years, he worked on such projects as the renovation of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and work at the National Bureau of Standards and the Smithsonian Institution.

Col. Ball was a member of the Retired Officers Association, the Society of Mayflower Descendents, and the D.C. Society of the Sons of the American Revolution. He had attended the Navy Chapel on Nebraska Avenue NW.

Survivors include his wife, the the former Ella Gerow of Washington; a son, Theodore Jr., of Tullahoma, Tenn.; three daughters, Betsey Eberle of Atlanta, Barbara Leutzinger of Burlingame, Calif., and Carolyn Baldwin of Williamsville, N.Y., and 12 grandchildren.