In the obituary yesterday of Barnee Breeskin, who composed the song "Hail to the Redskins," the name of the person who wrote the words was incorrect. She was Corinne Griffith. (Published 10/27/89)
Barnee Breeskin, 79, a band leader, public relations executive and man about town whose best-known contribution to the local scene was the music for "Hail to the Redskins," the fight song of the Washington Redskins football team, died of cancer Oct. 25 at Suburban Hospital. In one way or another, Mr. Breeskin had been associated with the Redskins since the team came here from Boston in 1937. He was the leader of the Redskin Wigwam Band, which played in a teepee high above the old Griffith Stadium. From 1938 to 1952, he was the team's director of entertainment. Since 1956, Mr. Breeskin had run his own public relations company in Washington. But his name often came to mind when people talked about the football team. Whenever there was a story about how the Redskins got started or there was some unusual event that affected its fortunes -- the players strike in 1987, for example -- Barnee Breeskin was apt to be called by reporters for comment. And those stories always recalled that in 1937, when he was the orchestra leader in the Blue Room at the Shoreham Hotel, Mr. Breeskin wrote the music for "Hail to the Redskins." The lyrics were written by Corinne Griffin, the wife of George Preston Marshall, the team's founder. Mr. Breeskin got the copyright in 1938. Mr. Breeskin also was a longtime member of the Circus Saints and Sinners, a businessmen's group whose members roast celebrities at their luncheons. Mr. Breeskin was president of the local chapter for 17 years and president of the national organization for two years. Last April, Mr. Breeskin himself was roasted at a meeting of the Touchdown Club, of which he was an honorary member. A native of Washington and a resident of this area all his life, Mr. Breeskin graduated from the old Central High School and attended Georgetown University. His first career was in music. From 1930 to 1956, he led the orchestra at the Blue Room at the Shoreham. He then founded Barnee Breeskin Inc., a public relations firm whose first client was Pan American Airways. He also did fund-raising for a number of organizations, including the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Leukemia Society of America and American University. Mr. Breeskin was a 32nd-degree Mason and a Shriner and a member of Kiwanis International and the advisory board of the Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts. He was a colonel in the Civil Air Patrol. He lived in Rockville. Survivors include his wife, Maria Dolores Breeskin of Rockville; two sons, David Thomas Breeskin of Alexandria and Steven Harbin Breeskin of Gaithersburg; a sister, Mae Weiss of Los Angeles; three brothers, Nathan Breeskin of Silver Spring, Jack Breeskin of Boston and Sol Breeskin of Los Angeles; and four grandchildren. JOHN NELSON HUGHES Navy Rear Admiral John Nelson Hughes, 79, a Navy rear admiral who was awarded a Navy Cross for heroism in combat against the Japanese during World War II, died of pulmonary arrest, Alzheimer's disease and cancer Oct. 22 at Potomac Valley Nursing Center in Rockville. Adm. Hughes retired from the Navy in 1959 as comptroller of the Navy's Bureau of Personnel after 32 years of service. A resident of Bethesda, he was born in Columbia, Mo., and grew up in Ames, Iowa. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1931. Pre-World War II duty included service aboard ships based at Long Beach, Calif., study at the University of Mexico in Mexico City and teaching Spanish at the Naval Academy. He was awarded a Navy Cross, the Navy's highest decoration for gallantry after the Medal of Honor, for action in combat against the Japanese in the Baedong Straits off the island of Bali in the Netherlands East Indies on Feb. 19-20, 1942. "Under heavy fire from enemy Japanese cruisers and destroyers, then Lt. Hughes delivered well-directed and gallant attacks by gun and torpedo fire against a vastly superior force of enemy vessels, scoring several hits which damaged target ships and silenced their fire," the citation accompanying the award said. Later in the war, Adm. Hughes served in the North Atlantic on destroyer patrols against German submarines and in the Mediterranean, where he participated in landing operations on Corsica and Italy. He was commander of a mine sweeper squadron in the North China Sea during the Korean War. Later he commanded a reactivated naval training facility in San Diego, then was posted in Washington, where in 1954 he received a master's degree in business administration at George Washington University. After a final sea command in the Pacific, he returned to Washington, where he served as comptroller of the Bureau of Personnel until retirement. Adm. Hughes's decorations also included the Legion of Merit and two Bronze Stars. In retirement he had been secretary of the American Pharmaceutical Society, a math teacher at Bullis School and chief accountant at Thomas Cook Travel in Washington until retiring again in 1975. Survivors include his wife of 42 years, Elizabeth Wilson Hughes, and two sons, Hugh J.H. Hughes and George W.W. Hughes, all of Bethesda; a brother, Daniel E. Hughes of Arlington, and a sister, Alice Hughes Missildine of Columbus, Ohio. DANIEL DEAN SWINNEY JR. Public Health Official Daniel Dean Swinney Jr., 79, a retired official of the U.S. Public Health Service who had recruited medical personnel worldwide for graduate training in public health, died of congestive heart failure Oct. 24 at the Washington Hospital Center. Mr. Swinney worked 28 years for the Public Health Service before retiring in 1971. He joined the organization in 1943 as a commissioned officer and spent the World War II years helping state health officials fight venereal disease around military bases in Arkansas and Nebraska. He returned to Washington after the war and continued working for the Public Health Service as a social statistician specializing in state health programs. In 1951, Mr. Swinney was assigned to the division of international health. For the next two decades, he recruited medical officials from all over the world to train in the United States for careers as public health officers in their own countries. Upon retirement, Mr. Swinney and his wife spent two years conducting a survey of public health programs around the world for the Christian Medical Commission of the Geneva-based World Council of Churches. They visited 50 countries on that assignment, which included travel to some areas so remote they could be reached only by dugout canoes. A resident of Arlington, Mr. Swinney was born in Portland, Ore., and grew up in small towns in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. He attended Tonkawa Junior College in Oklahoma, then hitchhiked to Chicago, where he graduated from the University of Chicago. He received a master's degree at the university's School of Social Service Administration. He came to Washington in 1937 to work as a social economist in the Works Progress Administration. Early in World War II, he was a labor economist for the War Production Board. Mr. Swinney was an avid golfer and a member of the American Public Health Association, the National Peace Institute Foundation and Rock Spring Congregational Church in Arlington. Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Olive Jean Walker Swinney of Arlington; two children, Lael Stegall of Washington and Daniel Dean Swinney III of Chicago; and four grandchildren. EDWARD J. FAHY Navy Rear Admiral Edward J. Fahy, 79, a retired Navy rear admiral who made his career in submarines and ship construction, died of cardiac arrest Oct. 25 at a hospital in Delray Beach, Fla. He underwent heart surgery this year. During World War II, Adm. Fahy commanded the submarine Plunger in the Pacific. He also served on the staff of the commander of all submarines in the Pacific Fleet, and was responsible for introducing new developments in electronics and communications, particularly between submarines and airplanes. His postwar assignments included duty at the submarine base at New London, Conn., where he was commanding officer and director of the underwater sound laboratory, and the Mare Island Naval Shipyard, where he was commander from 1961 to 1965. In 1965, he was stationed in Washington as head of the Bureau of Ships in the Navy Department. When this became the Naval Ship Systems Command in a reorganization of the Navy Department in 1966, Adm. Fahy became its first director. He retired from that post in 1969. Adm. Fahy's military decorations include the Legion of Merit and two awards of the Navy Commendation Medal with combat "v." Adm. Fahy was born in New York City. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis in the class of 1934. He did graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. After retiring from the service, he lived in Annapolis until 1974, when he moved to Florida. Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Cecelia Finn Fahy of Delray Beach; five children, Elizabeth Weeks of Fairfax, Antoinette Gaylord of Coronado, Calif., Kathleen Wagner of Arlington, Bridget Flint of Alexandria, and Navy Cdr. Edward J. Fahy Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla.; and eight grandchildren.