Max Shulman, author, screen writer and creator of one of television's most endearingly befuddled characters -- Dobie Gillis -- died of cancer yesterday at his home in Hollywood. He was 69.
Since the 1940s, when his book "Barefoot Boy with Cheek" hit the best-seller list, Mr. Shulman was known for a satirical wit that flourished on Broadway, on television and in films.
His books included "Rally Round the Flag, Boys," "Sleep Till Noon," "I Was a Teen-Age Dwarf," and "Anyone Got a Match?" while Broadway plays bearing his name were "How Now, Dow Jones" and "The Tender Trap." He coauthored the screenplay for the 1978 comedy "House Calls," starring Walter Matthau, Glenda Jackson and Art Carney.
Mr. Shulman's career in comedy began while he was an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, where he wrote a column called "On Campus" for the school humor magazine. According to Mr. Shulman's account, someone showed samples of the column to a visiting editor from the Doubleday publishing house, who inquired whether Mr. Shulman was interested in having a larger audience.
"He said, 'Would you like to write a novel?' " Mr. Shulman recalled in a 1978 interview. "That was kind of a dream. It was like somebody asking, 'Would you like a trip to the moon?' "
The result was "Barefoot Boy with Cheek," the misadventures of a young college undergraduate that gave Mr. Shulman a vehicle for scathing commentary on fraternities, sports, campus elections and other matters of dubious achievement.
Mr. Shulman's interest in the anxieties of youth struck television gold with "The Dobie Gillis Show." The program, which aired on CBS from 1959 to 1963, made a generational icon out of a teen-ager beset with angst over everyday life.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Mr. Shulman is survived by his wife, Mary Gordon Shulman; three sons; a daughter; a stepdaughter; a sister and seven grandchildren.
JOHN AUGUSTUS REXROTH
John Augustus Rexroth, 74, a retired commander in the Navy reserves and a former technical director of aircraft and weapons systems with the Naval Air Systems Command, died of cancer Aug. 21 at Arlington Hospital.
Cmdr. Rexroth, who lived in Arlington, was born in Grandview, Iowa. He graduated from Iowa State University. He moved to the Washington area in the early 1930s. He served in the Navy in the Bureau of Ordnance during World War II and was promoted to the rank of commander. He retired from the reserves in 1973.
After the war, Cmdr. Rexroth became a civilian employee of the Navy Department, where he was a project officer for various radar systems during the late 1940s and the 1950s. He also was an assistant for guided missile research and development during the 1960s, and technical director of the Bureau of Ordnance's surface weapons systems.
Cmdr. Rexroth was technical director of aircraft and weapon systems in the material acquisition group of the Naval Air Systems Command when he retired in 1973.
He had served on the board of the Virginia Engineering Foundation at the University of Virginia. He was a member of Calvary United Methodist Church in Arlington, where he had been board chairman and a past treasurer of the Calvary Foundation.
Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Florence Rexroth of Arlington; two daughters, Carol Greenberg of New York City, and Nancy Rexroth of Cincinnati; two brothers, Charles Rexroth of Moline, Ill., and Allen Rexroth of Silvas, Ill.; four sisters, Neva Rexroth, Mrs. David Garner, and Mrs. James Connor, all of Muscatine, Iowa, and Mrs. Clarence Sparling of Lomita, Calif., and two grandchildren.
LEONARD J. HOLSEY
State Department Employee
Leonard J. Holsey, 67, a retired State Department administrative officer who also had worked for the Peace Corps and the departments of Defense and Housing and Urban Development, died of cancer Aug. 24 at a hospital in Atlanta.
He had maintained a home in the Washington area for about 20 years before moving to Atlanta, where he had lived since May.
Mr. Holsey was a native of Fort Valley, Ga., and served with the Army in the Southwest Pacific theater during World War II. He had studied at Tuskegee Institute, the University of Paris and Boston and Harvard universities.
He had worked for the Defense Department in France, West Germany and Massachusetts from 1954 to 1966. He then spent two years with the Agency for International Development in Saigon. He came to Washington with AID in 1968. A year later, he began a three-year stint with the Peace Corps, serving in Sierra Leone. He then returned to AID, as an administrator in Nigeria and Saigon, from 1972 to 1973.
From 1973 to 1976, he was an equal employment opportunity officer at HUD and an administrator with the Conservation Foundation. He returned to State in 1977, serving in Haiti, Washington and at the U.S. consulate in Vancouver, B.C., before retiring in 1983.
His marriages to Ruth Holsey and Sonja Holsey ended in divorce.
Survivors include a son by his first marriage, Dr. Carl Holsey of Detroit; three children by his second marriage, Ivan, Philippe and Zana Holsey, all of Copenhagen; a sister, Ethel Fish of Detroit, and a grandchild.
Antonia Gordon, 65, a teacher in D.C. schools since 1967, died of a pulmonary ailment Aug. 25 at George Washington University Hospital.
Mrs. Gordon, who lived in Chevy Chase, was born in Yonkers, N.Y. She graduated from the College of New Rochelle in New York. She earned a master's degree in history from American University and had studied law at Georgetown University.
During World War II, she worked for the Office of War Information in London. During the late 1940s, she was a conference officer at the United Nations.
Mrs. Gordon moved to the Washington area in 1963. She joined the public schools in 1967 and was assigned to MacFarland Junior High School at the time of her death.
Survivors include her husband, Matthew Gordon of Chevy Chase; a son, Michael R. Gordon of Arlington; a daughter, Laurie Pattison-Gordon of Somerville, Mass.; four sisters, and three grandchildren.
NELLIE S. PARSONS
Nellie S. Parsons, 69, an area resident who was a former California schoolteacher, died Aug. 27 at the Takoma Park Heritage Health Center, where she had been since October 1987. She had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
She had done volunteer work for the Red Cross.
Mrs. Parsons, who was a native of California, had lived in this area from 1965 to 1975, and again since 1986. She was a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara. She had accompanied her former husband to State Department posts in Europe.
Her marriage to Gordon Parsons ended in divorce.
Survivors include a son, Peter, of Lanham; a daughter, Christy Orion of California; a brother, Charles Schultz of Connecticut, and three grandchildren.
RONY STANLEY ALVARADO PINETTA
Rony Stanley Alvarado Pinetta, 60, a maintenance worker with the Alexandria Sanitation Authority, died of cancer Aug. 23 at Prince George's Hospital Center.
Mr. Alvarado, who lived in Oxon Hill, was born in Guatemala. He worked there as a draftsman and postage stamp designer before moving to California in 1964. He was a hotel engineer in California before moving to this area and joining the staff of the Alexandria Sanitation Authority in 1978.
His marriage to the former Gilda Vassaux ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife, Priscilla Castle, and their two sons, Moshe Alvarado-Castle and Joshua Alvarado-Castle, all of Oxon Hill; three children by his first marriage, Ronny Alvarado Vassaux of Boston and Estuardo Alvarado Vassaux and Mireille Alvarado Vassaux, both of Guatemala; another daughter, Francisca Alvarado Hernandez of Guatemala, and two brothers, Edgar Alvarado Pinetta and Exal Alvarado Pinetta, and a sister, Ruth Alvarado de Martinez, all of Guatemala.
MINNIE M. HILL
Deaf Association Official
Minnie M. Hill, 84, who worked for the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf here for 20 years before retiring in the 1960s as its assistant executive director, died of congestive heart failure Aug. 25 at Georgetown University Hospital.
She had been a regional chairman and a member of the Washington Committee of the National Society of Colonial Dames, and had served on the executive board of the Colonial Dames of Maryland.
Miss Hill was a native and resident of Washington. She was a graduate of the University of Maryland, where she was a member of Phi Kappa Phi and the Mortar Board, two scholastic honor groups.
She was a member of the Jamestown Society, the Pilgrims of St. Mary's and the Prince George's Historical Society. She also was a member of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Washington.
Survivors include a sister, Eleanor Hill Koenig of Washington.
HENRY PAUL RUFF
Henry Paul Ruff, 79, a retired master plumber with the Washington plumbing firm of Atchison & Keller and a former president of the Colesville Lions Club, died of an embolism Aug. 26 at Holy Cross Hospital. He lived in Silver Spring.
Mr. Ruff was born in Whitestone, N.Y. He moved to the Washington area in the late 1930s and began his career at Atchison & Keller. During World War II, he served in the Coast Guard in the Pacific. After the war, he briefly operated his own plumbing company before rejoining Atchison & Keller. He retired in 1974.
Survivors include his wife, Helen L. Ruff, and a son, Paul R. Ruff, both of Silver Spring, and a granddaughter.
ANN DEAN RYAN
Insurance Agency Owner
Ann Dean Ryan, 66, who had operated the Ann Dean Insurance Agency in Fairfax since 1968 and who had worked in the area's insurance industry since the early 1940s, died of cancer Aug. 26 at her home in Fairfax.
Mrs. Ryan was a native of Washington. Before establishing her own agency, she had spent 20 years with Republic Insurance of Washington, where she was a licensed agent and office manager.
Her first husband, James T. Dean Sr., died in 1967. Her second husband, William J. Ryan, died in 1974. Survivors include three children by her first marriage, James T. Dean Jr. of Laurel, Donald A. Dean of Culpeper, and Dorothy West of Rockville; 13 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
ROBERT W. JUDGE
IBM Engineer & Administrator
Robert William Judge, 56, an IBM engineer and administrator and who had served on the standards committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, died Aug. 27 at the Hospice of Northern Virginia. He had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
He joined IBM in New York in 1969, as an advisory electrical engineer, and transferred here in 1973. At the time of his death, he was a contracts administrator in IBM's federal systems division.
Mr. Judge, who lived in Arlington, was a native of New Haven, Conn. He was a graduate of Yale University and had been an Air Force officer during the Korean War. Before joining IBM, he had worked for Litton Industries.
In addition to serving on the institute's standards committee, he had published articles in organization journals. His hobbies included tennis and sailing.
Survivors include his wife, Lucille, and a daughter, Tracey Judge, both of Arlington; a son, Michael, of Palm Court, Fla., and a sister, Lois Klee of Danville, Conn.