Col. Rudolph G. Seeley, 72, a Fairfax County civic leader and developer who helped pioneer the explosive commercial growth of the Tysons Corner area, died of cancer Jan. 4 at his home in McLean.
He helped transform a sleepy crossroads into a bustling metropolis. In addition to housing and shopping developments, Tysons Corner now has more office space than downtown Richmond or Miami.
As an officer and founder of the Westpark and Westgate organizations, Col. Seeley was instrumental in building many of that area's landmarks, including the Tysons Corner Center shopping mall and more than 55 office buildings. The West Group development organization was involved in construction projects throughout the area.
As a civic leader, Col. Seeley was past president of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, past chairman of the Salvation Army advisory group of Northern Virginia, a trustee of the George Mason University Foundation, and a director of the Wolf Trap Farm Park National Business Advisory Council and the Fairfax Symphony.
He also was a director of the Northern Virginia Community Foundation and had served on the Northern Virginia committee of the Virginia Motor Vehicle Conference.
Col. Seeley was born in Berlin. He came to this country in 1933 and settled in New York. During World War II, he served in the Army in the Mediterranean and European theaters. He retired from the Reserves in 1950 with the rank of colonel.
It was not until after the war that Col. Seeley moved to the Washington area. The family of his wife, the former Martha Ulfelder, had been farmers in the Tysons Corner area since the 1920s, and the colonel became manager of their dairy business.
According to his associates, Col. Seeley also was among the first to see what effect the Capital Beltway would have on land values in the area. Plans for the Beltway were announced in 1952 and acquisition of the right of way began in the late 1950s.
Construction occurred between 1958 and 1964. There were 14 interchanges on the highway in Fairfax County alone. The idea that major commercial development would take place so far from downtown Washington was thought to be preposterous.
Where the Beltway passed near Tysons Corner there was a feed store, a gas station, a restaurant and a general store. Much of the Ulfelder farm was taken for the Beltway right of way. Mindful of development opportunities, Col. Seeley led a group in acquiring more acreage with a view to rezoning it for commercial use.
The wisdom of this move was affirmed with construction of the Dulles Airport Access Road. The Seeley-Ulfelder holdings were at the intersection of Rtes. 7 and 123, roads that had existed since Colonial times. With the building of the Beltway and the Dulles Access Road the land was better served by major highways than any location in Northern Virginia.
In 1961 Col. Seeley and Gerald Halpin, a former officer of Atlantic Research Corp., combined land holdings to build a research and industrial park and they helped found the Westgate Corp. to carry out their plans.
Col. Seeley also was part of a partnership that leased land to Maryland builders who erected the Tysons Corner Center. It opened in 1968 with three anchor stores and about 70 smaller businesses. It set a standard for regional super malls in the Washington area, providing not only convenience but also high fashion on a scale and with a sophistication not previously seen here.
At one point Col. Seeley was a principal in a partnership that owned the land on which Tysons II, an enormous retail-hotel-office complex, is being constructed.
Col. Seeley thus played a pivotal role in one of the country's major capitalist legends. What was his farmland only 30 years ago first became a major retail hub and then the biggest office center in Maryland or Virginia. The process of putting auto-dependent urban centers where before there was nothing but pasture represents a major change in the way Americans build cities.
In addition to his wife, of McLean, Col. Seeley is survived by one son, Jack Seeley of Herndon; two daughters, Margaret Seeley of San Diego and Julie Seeley of Falls Church; one sister, Ilse Aarons of San Francisco, and four grandchildren.
KHOI VAN DOAN,
44, a former Vietnamese prisoner of war who became an air conditioning and heating engineer with the Hyatt Hotel in Arlington, died Jan. 3 at his home in Vienna after a heart attack.
Mr. Doan was born in Saigon. He served in the Marine Corps of the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War. He spent 6 1/2 years in a Communist prison before escaping to Thailand in 1982.
He moved to the United States in 1983 and settled in the Washington area. After graduating from Northern Virginia Community College, he went to work as an assistant air conditioning and heating technician at the Westpark Hotel at Tysons Corner. He had worked at the Hyatt Hotel in Arlington since June.
Mr. Doan was a member of Blessed Vietnamese Martyrs Church, a Catholic congregation in Arlington, and the Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers Association.
Survivors include his wife, Bich Doan, one son, Tung Doan, two daughters, Anne and Elaine Doan, and one brother, Hanh Doan, all of Vienna.
JAMES MADISON ANDREWS IV,
82, who served 10 years as an assistant director of the Central Intelligence Agency before retiring in 1957, died of cancer Dec. 29 at his home in New Canaan, Conn. He lived in Washington for 47 years before moving to Connecticut in November.
As assistant director, he directed the development of CIA programs for automated information data retrieval. He was a recipient of the Intelligence Medal of Merit.
Mr. Andrews was a native of Schenectady, N.Y. He was a 1928 graduate of Harvard University, where he also received a doctorate in anthropology. Before World War II, he served as curator of Harvard's Peabody Museum. During the war, he served with the Office of Naval Intelligence and attained the rank of commander. He returned to Harvard after the war, and joined the CIA when it was established in 1947.
He was a member of the Cosmos Club and the Society of the Cincinnati.
His wife, Louise Joan Andrews, died in 1973. Survivors include a stepson, Stephen Andrews Wise of New Canaan, and two stepgrandchildren.