Leland J. Holland, 63, a retired Army colonel who was one of the 52 Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days after the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979, died of cancer Oct. 2 at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Col. Holland, a resident of Warrenton, was a military attache at the embassy when Islamic fundamentalists invaded it on Nov. 4, 1979, and took the American diplomatic staff prisoner. The incident provoked a crisis that contributed to the defeat of President Jimmy Carter by Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential election. The hostages were not released until Jan. 20, 1981, the day Reagan was inaugurated.
When he was freed, Col. Holland told reporters how Iranians ransacked his house in Tehran and took many personal belongings, including his watch and rings, and how he later spent long periods alone in a freezing cell and was beaten. His captors, he said, were "SOBs."
Back in the United States, he was made commanding officer of the Army's Vint Hill Station in Warrenton, a communications facility. There he stayed until Oct. 22, 1986, when he retired.
His military decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and the Air Medal. They recalled the high points of a 34-year career that began when he was drafted during the Korean War in 1952 and later took him to West Germany and Italy as well as to various posts in this country. Most of all they recalled his two tours of duty in Vietnam.
In September 1988 Col. Holland wrote an article for The Washington Post Magazine about his experiences in Iran, and he also told about a new crisis he was facing: Six days before he left the Army, he found out he had cancer.
"I know what it's like to have an enemy," he wrote. "In Vietnam, I was shot at plenty of times, and during the revolution in Iran I got shot at when I was standing by the embassy gate -- which is a hell of a thing to have happen to you.
"Then, when the Iranian radicals stormed the embassy and took us hostage, they worked me over pretty good. They knew I was a colonel in the Army, and they knew I worked in intelligence. In trying to get me to talk, they'd knock me around and leave me sitting all alone in a freezing-cold room for days on end. Then they'd come in, whack me with a rifle butt, put a gun up to my head and threaten to pull the trigger. So believe me, I know what it's like to have an enemy.
"But then the cancer thing came up. Cancer is an invisible enemy, and I didn't know how to fight back. How do you fight something you can't see?"
By way of answering that question, Col. Holland recounted the story of his life. He was born on a farm in Scales Mound, a tiny town on the prairies of northwestern Illinois. He attended a one-room school and was elected senior class president at his high school in Galena, Ill. When his father died, he took over running the farm.
But he had an idea of becoming a Catholic priest. A brother got big enough to do the farm work, and Leland Holland went off to Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, to take a pre-clerical course. While working as a waiter, he met his future wife. They were married the same year he was drafted. He was commissioned in 1955, and he graduated from the University of Nebraska. The Army became his career.
In his article in The Post, Col. Holland said he was lucky to have survived the hostage crisis "to spend some additional years with my family."
As for the cancer, he said, "I figure I've got two choices: I can sit around and worry myself to death, or I can take advantage of however much time I have left on Earth. I'm still paying attention to the weather report, and if the forecast is for a sunny day, then by God, I'm going to enjoy it."
Survivors include his wife, Mary Anne Holland of Warrenton; four sons, James L. and John S. Holland, both of Warrenton, Joseph R. Holland of Cincinnati and Jerome T. Holland of Jersey City; two daughters, Barbara L. Holland of Fairfield, Ohio, and Rose M. Brinkman of Chaptico, Md.; his mother, Clara M. Holland of Galena; two brothers, Edward A. Holland of Scales Mound and Robert P. Holland of Renton, Wash.; and six grandchildren.
Army Major General
Mark McClure, 92, a retired Army major general who served as a divisional field artillery commander during World War II and as an infantry division commander in the mid-1950s, died of pneumonia Oct. 2 at his home in Washington.
Gen. McClure was a native of Indiana and a 1922 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was commissioned in field artillery. During the 1920s and 1930s, his assignments included duty at Fort Myer and at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
After graduating from the Command and General Staff School in 1938, he came to Washington as a staff officer and was here when the United States entered World War II. During the war, he served as an infantry division chief of staff in South Carolina, and later as field artillery commander of the 95th Infantry Division in Europe.
His postwar assignments included duty as a professor of military science at Harvard University and as chief of staff of the Eighth Army in Korea.
In 1954, he commanded the 24th Infantry Division in Korea. His last assignment was as deputy commanding general for reserve forces with the Fourth Army at Fort Sam Houston, Tex. Gen. McClure retired from active duty in 1957 and settled in Washington.
His military decorations included a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, the Legion of Merit and the Distinguished Service Medal.
In the 1960s, he was treasurer of the Army Distaff Hall. He was a member of St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Washington.
His wife, Evelyn Krumm McClure, died in 1982. Survivors include a daughter, Lyn McClure Butrick of Athens, Ohio; and four grandchildren.
ANDREA P. de ZEREGA
Andrea Pietro de Zerega, 73, a Washington artist and sculptor who also had taught at Catholic University and Marymount College and at his own art school in Georgetown, died of a pulmonary embolism Sept. 29 at Georgetown University Hospital.
Mr. de Zerega, who lived in Washington, was born in the village of De Zerega in Italy's Genoa Province. He came to the United States and Washington at the age of 16 and attended the Americanization School here and Central High School.
Beginning in 1935 he studied four years at the Corcoran School of Art, where in 1939 his paintings were first displayed in a group show. Since then his work has been displayed at most of the major galleries of the United States and in Germany, Austria, Belgium, Greece and Italy. Much of his work, which was modern and abstract, was displayed at the Franz Bader Gallery in Washington.
He played soccer and tennis in the Washington area as a young man.
In 1945 he opened an art school in Georgetown, Studio San Marco, which he operated until 1964. Simultaneously he taught art at Catholic University from 1945 to 1950, then in 1952 joined the faculty at Marymount College in Arlington. He taught art there for the next 15 years and in that period was instrumental in the development of the school's department of fine arts.
In 1968, Mr. de Zerega and his wife, the former Mary Crump Bouldin, whom he had married in 1963, returned to his native De Zerega, where he continued to paint. He also took up sculpting. He returned to Washington two years ago.
Survivors include his wife.
WILLIAM G. ONSTED
Private Sector Council Executive
William George Onsted, 45, the president and chief executive officer of the Private Sector Council, a Washington nonprofit organization, died Sept. 30 from complications after heart surgery at a hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich. He lived in Potomac.
Mr. Onsted was hospitalized in Michigan after suffering a heart attack Sept. 11 while on a business trip.
A native of Michigan, he graduated from Michigan State University, where he also received a master's degree in labor relations.
In 1982, he was operating his own management consulting firm in Sunnyvale, Calif., when he came to Washington as a deputy project manager on the Grace Commission, a presidential group studying government cost controls.
In 1983, he founded the Private Sector Council and its sister affiliation, the Research Center for Government Financial Management. The Private Sector Council is composed of private corporations, foundations and associations. The council lends member executives to the government to assist on federal projects.
In 1986, he received a distinction in cash management award from the Treasury Department.
Mr. Onsted was a national board member of the USO and the membership chairman of the University Club.
Survivors include his wife, Diann K. Onsted of Potomac; a daughter, Laura Lee Onsted of Seattle; two sons, William A. and Jeffery, both of Potomac; a brother, John L. Onsted of Citrus Heights, Calif.; a sister, Mary Bayes of North Fort Myers, Fla.; and a stepbrother, James Mynahan of Arizona.
WALTER H. BEAL JR.
Defense Department Architect
Walter Henry Beal Jr., a retired architect at the Defense Department and a retired colonel in the Army Reserve, died Sept. 27 at Prince George's Hospital Center after a heart attack.
Mr. Beal, who lived in Mitchellville, was a Washington native. He graduated from Central High School and Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
Beginning in 1933, he worked as an architect at the Navy's Bureau of Yards and Docks. During World War II, he served as an Army artillery officer in Europe and attained the rank of major. He retired from the reserves in 1971. He retired from his civilian post in 1969.
Mr. Beal had been a member of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Washington.
His marriage to Sarah McCormick Beal ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife of 26 years, Helen Beal of Mitchellville; and a sister, Ann Beal Peters of Washington.
INDEL L. CARAWAY
Indel Little Caraway, 82, the widow of a retired Army lieutenant general and a longtime area resident, died Sept. 24 at the Army Distaff Hall after a heart attack.
Mrs. Caraway, who moved to the Army Distaff Hall from Chevy Chase in 1986, was born in Mobile, Ala. She moved to Washington in 1919 and graduated from Central High School and George Washington University.
She married Paul Wyatt Caraway, an Army officer, in 1934. She accompanied him on his military assignments in England, Italy, China and Japan. Gen. Caraway retired from active duty in 1964 and the couple settled here. He died in 1986.
Survivors include a sister, Ennis Mazza of Bethesda, and a brother, retired Marine Corps Col. Joseph Robert Little of Peoria, Ariz.