Herbert H. Denton Jr., 45, The Washington Post's correspondent in Canada, who also had been Maryland editor, District of Columbia editor and correspondent in Lebanon during a career of more than 20 years at the newspaper, died of pneumonia April 29 at a hospital in Toronto. He had AIDS. From his earliest days at The Post, during which he covered education in the District and subsequently Prince George's County affairs, through his reporting on the national and international scene, Mr. Denton was valued for the insight, thoroughness and determination he brought to his work. As an editor, he was esteemed for his ability to go to the heart of complex situations and to reveal the patterns and trends behind the rush of daily events. Often working with beginning reporters, he was a demanding taskmaster with exacting standards. Although his perfectionism could be difficult at times for his reporters, they ultimately admitted that they respected and even admired him for it. And they particularly appreciated the vigor with which he stood up for their completed work. As Maryland editor and later as District editor, Mr. Denton was one of the first black journalists to hold such authority in the newsroom. Many of those he hired or trained were black men and women in their twenties who went on to increasingly responsible assignments at The Post. A graduate of Harvard College who attended a segregated school in Little Rock, Ark., Mr. Denton impressed his colleagues with his courage amid the dangers of Beirut, his encyclopedic knowledge of whatever beat he covered and the intensity of his commitment to journalism and The Post. "Losing him is particularly difficult for all of us who have worked so closely together since the 1960s under Ben Bradlee to make the newspaper what it is today," said Managing Editor Leonard Downie Jr. "He was an integral part of that team . . . . He pushed himself and all the rest of us to do better and was one of the fierce guardians of this newspaper's ideals -- and we're going to miss that terribly." For many at the newspaper, Downie said, Mr. Denton was also "a very special friend: witty, incisive, supportive." Post Publisher Donald E. Graham, who was assigned with Mr. Denton to the same platoon of the 1st Cavalry during the Vietnam War, said Mr. Denton "understood complicated situations more clearly than the rest of us and . . . he had quite extraordinary judgment about people's abilities. He hired, or had crucial influence on, the careers of Milton Coleman, Courtland Milloy, Juan Williams, Cynthia Gorney, Keith Richburg, Athelia Knight and many others. He was a great reporter and editor." Mr. Denton was born July 10, 1943, in Muncie, Ind., and while growing up in Little Rock he watched federal troops escort Central High School's first black students to class. A scholarship helped him complete his secondary education at the Windsor Mountain School in Lenox, Mass. At Harvard he worked in the college library to help pay his way, and served on the editorial board of the Crimson, the student newspaper, graduating cum laude in 1965 with a bachelor's degree in American history. Mr. Denton joined The Post's city staff in April 1966, and a few months later was drafted into the Army. During service with the 1st Cavalry in Vietnam as a public information specialist in 1967 and 1968, he received the Bronze Star. After returning to The Post, he concluded six years of local reporting in 1974 by becoming an assistant Maryland editor and then Maryland editor. In that job he supervised coverage of matters such as the political scandals that embroiled Gov. Marvin Mandel. In 1976, he became District editor. As one of the principal editors on The Post's metropolitan staff, Mr. Denton "demanded reporting that was appropriately aggressive, responsible and sophisticated," said Milton Coleman, assistant managing editor for metropolitan news. "Mr. Denton laid the foundation" for covering Washington under home rule, Coleman said, and he also was credited with prompting more comprehensive coverage of the black community. One of Mr. Denton's memorable acts involved sending Juan Williams, then a beginning reporter, to Eastern High School. Freed from responsibility for daily coverage, Williams was instructed to slowly amass accounts and impressions in a diary. These were shaped into a prize-winning series that was ahead of its time both in technique and in its depiction of urban life and schooling. In 1980 Mr. Denton joined the national staff, covering urban affairs and state and local government activities as well as participating in White House coverage. The next year he was sent to Lebanon, where at a time of heightened sectarian violence, he joined special correspondent Nora Boustany in giving what Downie described as a highly productive and "incredibly brave" performance. Afterward, he opened The Post's bureau in Toronto. Fascinated by the Canada that he worked diligently to discover, Mr. Denton relished the opportunity to reveal it to readers here. He was an honorary member of the Museum Guild of Toronto. Survivors include his mother, Lucille D. Denton of Little Rock; a brother, Stanley, of Pittsburgh, and a sister, Jacquelyn Alton of Houston. Funeral services will be May 5 at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Little Rock. The family prefers that expressions of sympathy be sent to the church's building fund. A memorial service will be held next week in Washington. TERRENCE L. BERCINI Investment Director Terrence L. Bercini, 45, assistant director of investments for the United Mine Workers health and retirement funds, died April 28 of cancer at his home in Potomac. Mr. Bercini was a native of Belle Vernon, Pa., and a graduate of Georgetown University. He was a trust accounts supervisor in St. Louis from 1967 until 1969 when he returned to the Washington area as an assistant vice president and trust investment officer at American Security Bank. He joined the United Mine Workers in 1982. Since 1986 he was a volunteer treasurer and trustee of the Barker Foundation, a nonprofit Washington-based adoption agency. He was a member of Our Lady of Mercy Church in Potomac, where he had been a eucharistic minister. Survivors include his wife of 15 years, Deborah Bercini; two children, David Bercini and Sarah Bercini, all of Potomac, and his mother, Margaret Bercini of Belle Vernon. MARGARET MARY HAGEN Real Estate Sales Associate Margaret Mary Hagen, 58, a real estate sales associate with Long & Foster in Rockville since 1988, died April 27 of congestive heart failure at Suburban Hospital. She lived in Rockville. Mrs. Hagen was a native of Utica, N.Y. She came to the Washington area in the early 1960s as a wife and mother. She moved to Daytona Beach, Fla., in the mid-1960s and returned here in 1973. She was a sales associate with Merrill Lynch in Rockville from 1978 to 1988. She was a member of the Rockville Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where she had been a primary president, counselor of the young women's presidency, relief society leader, and a visiting teacher supervisor. Survivors include her husband of 37 years, Albert Leon Hagen of Rockville; four daughters, Cheri Lynn Waddell of Tigard, Ore., Valerie Jeannine Sucher of Gaithersburg, and Andrea Danice Hagen and Stephanie Sue Hagen, both of Rockville; two sons, David Bradley Hagen of Rockville and Randall Lee Hagen of Baltimore; a sister, Dorothea F. Edwards of Des Moines, and 11 grandchildren. RICHARD LAURENCE OLSON Federal Auditor Richard Laurence Olson, 81, a retired auditor with the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, died of emphysema April 28 at his home in Silver Spring. Mr. Olson was born in Dunkirk, N.Y., and he graduated from City College of New York. He joined the Social Security Administration in Baltimore in 1935 and worked there until 1937 when he was transferred to Springfield, Ill. He remained there until moving to this area in 1959 to work for the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He was auditor in charge of all field audits when he retired in 1972. Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Josephine K. Olson of Silver Spring; three children, Richard Dennis Olson of Columbia and Sandra Jo Olson and Laurence Lee Olson, both of Silver Spring, and three grandchildren. SIDNEY SCHECTER Civil Engineer and Surveyor Sidney Schecter, 79, a retired civil engineer and surveyor, died April 27 at Jefferson Hospital in Alexandria after a heart attack. Mr. Schecter, who lived in Arlington, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He attended Cooper Union Institute of Technology and graduated from Tri-State University in Indiana with a degree in civil engineering. During World War II, he served in the Army Corps of Engineers in Europe. He moved to the Washington area after the war and worked as a civil engineer and surveyor with several firms including Walter L. Phillips Inc. in Falls Church, Shapiro Inc. in Washington and Clarence W. Gosnell Inc. in Vienna. He retired in 1978 from John W. Allen Associates in Bethesda. In retirement he did volunteer work for the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia and Volunteers for the Visually Handicapped. Survivors include his wife of 45 years, Edith G. Schecter of Arlington; two sons, Stephen Schecter of Raleigh, N.C., and Daniel Schecter of Arlington, and three grandchildren. SALVATORE RAPISARDI Defense Department Chemist Salvatore Rapisardi, 67, a retired Defense Department chemist, died April 27 at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Washington of complications of diabetes. Mr. Rapisardi, who lived in Hyattsville, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He attended St. John's and George Washington universities. He served in the Army in Europe during World War II and in Japan after the war. He moved to the Washington area in 1952, and was a chemist at the Pentagon's sewage treatment facility. He retired in 1972. Mr. Rapisardi was a member of the College Park Moose, the American Legion Post in Greenbelt and the Disabled American Veterans. Survivors include his wife of 32 years, Mary E. Rapisardi of Hyattsville; four children, Francine Crispin of Melbourne, Fla., Nicholas T. Rapisardi of Beltsville, and Tina M. Hill and Neal B. Rapisardi, both of Lanham, and four grandchildren. WINIFRED LOUISE ROW Annandale Resident Winifred Louise Row, 77, a Washington area resident for 50 years, died April 22 at Jeffersonian Manor Nursing Home in Charles Town, W.Va., after a heart attack. Mrs. Row, who lived in Annandale, was born in Weaver, W.Va. She graduated from Davis Elkins College. During World War II she taught grade school in Washington and Arlington and was a clerk at the FBI. Survivors include her husband, Maurice F. Row of Annandale; four children, Maurice F. Row Jr. of Charlotte, N.C., Lawrence Row of Bluemont, Va., Ronald Row of Arvada, Colo., and Roberta Anderson of Punta Gorda, Fla.; a brother, Earl Montgomery of Sebring, Fla.; two sisters, Dorothy Pingley of Belington, W.Va., and Lucile Stankus of Lansdale, Pa., and seven grandchildren. VIRGINIA BROCKETT JACKSON D.C. Teacher Virginia Brockett Jackson, 78, a former Washington junior high school teacher, died of a heart ailment April 27 at Montgomery General Hospital. Mrs. Jackson, who lived at Leisure World in Silver Spring, was born in Enfield, Ill. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin. From 1953 to 1966, she taught at Sousa, Paul and then Backus junior high schools. She was a regent of the Daughters of the American Revolution and did oil painting, ceramics and silver and pewter design. She was president of the Rossmoor Garden Club. Her marriage to Hugh Jackson ended in divorce. Survivors include three daughters, Judy Gamble of Wilmington, Del., Janet Moore of Severna Park, Md., and Jeanne Deming of Flint, Mich., and five grandchildren. CLARENCE WHEELER STANFIELD R.J. Reynolds District Manager Clarence Wheeler Stanfield, 83, Washington district manager for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. from 1938 until he retired in 1965, died April 27 of congestive heart failure at Montgomery General Hospital. Mr. Stanfield, who lived at Leisure World in Silver Spring, was born in Danville, Va., and reared there and in Browns Summit, N.C. He joined R.J. Reynolds in Raleigh, N.C., in 1925 as an office boy. He played golf and shot snooker pool. His wife, Marjorie Williams Stanfield, whom he married in 1927, died in 1967. Survivors include a son, F. Wheeler Stanfield of Richmond; a brother, William Lee Stanfield of Mebane, N.C.; four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. CARLEY E. WELLS P.G. Schools Speech Therapist Carley E. Wells, 32, a speech therapist with the Prince George's public schools preschool, home-based, speech therapy program since 1984, died of cancer April 28 at her home in Alexandria. Mrs. Wells, who came here in 1981, was a native of Kansas. She was a 1979 graduate of the University of Kansas and received a master's degree in speech language pathology at Wichita State University. Survivors include her husband, Bruce, of Alexandria; her mother, Earnestine Ellis of Derby, Kan.; a sister, Cheryl Good of Wichita, and three brothers, Mark Ellis of Goddard, Kan., Craig Ellis of Overland Park, Kan., and Duane Ellis of New York City.