Melvin M. Payne, 79, board chairman emeritus of the National Geographic Society who also served as president, executive vice president and secretary of that organization, died of pneumonia Oct. 6 at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Payne joined National Geographic as a secretary in 1932 at the age of 21, and he served in a variety of assignments there for the next 57 years. He traveled throughout the world and was a major influence in the planning of National Geographic's explorations.

From 1975 to 1989 he was chairman of the society's committee for research and exploration, with an annual budget of $5 million. In this capacity he backed such projects as Jacques-Yves Cousteau's underwater explorations, the first American ascent of Mount Everest, the Leakey family's search for the origins of man in eastern Africa and Jane Goodall's study of wild chimpanzees.

Dr. Payne's adventures in the field included riding in a canvas sack into the Sacred Well of the Maya at Chichen Itza, Mexico, where in 1963 the society was recovering relics and bones of human sacrifices, and an expedition to Mauritania in West Africa to study a total solar eclipse.

He was project officer of a 76-member National Geographic-Air Force team that traveled to Bocaiuva, Brazil, in 1947 to study a solar eclipse.

One of his first major assignments was to help set up and maintain a tent city for scientists, technicians and military personnel near Rapid City, S.D., in 1934 and 1935 to study the historic flights of the stratosphere balloons Explorer I and Explorer II that helped open the way for orbital space flights in the 1960s.

A resident of Bethesda, Dr. Payne was born in Washington. He attended Business High School and National University's law school and received a law degree from Southeastern University. He received doctorates from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and Iowa Wesleyan College and an honorary doctorate from the University of Miami. A 14,800-foot mountain in Peru was named for him in 1963.

In 1958, Dr. Payne became vice president and associate secretary in charge of administration at the society and a member of its Board of Trustees. He became executive vice president and secretary in 1962, president in 1967, chairman of the board in 1976 and chairman emeritus in 1987.

He led the committee that created Explorers Hall at the society's headquarters in Washington, and he was a major influence in the development of television projects that resulted in the hourlong specials produced by National Geographic.

Dr. Payne also was author of several articles in National Geographic magazine, and he was editor of two books: "We, the People: The Story of the United States Capitol," and "Equal Justice Under Law: The Supreme Court in American Life."

He was chairman of the Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites and Buildings and Monuments; director and chairman of the White House Historical Association; and a vice president and trustee of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society and the Supreme Court Historical Society.

He was a member of the Cosmos Club, the Metropolitan Club, the Alfalfa Club, the Chevy Chase Club and Burning Tree Club.

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Ethel McDonnell Payne of Bethesda; two daughters, Fran Payne of Olney and Nancy Jeanette Payne of Boca Raton, Fla.; a brother, Stanley Payne of Rockville; a sister, Lois Grimm of McLean; three grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.


Antitrust Lawyer

Lewis Bernstein, 74, retired chief of the special litigation section of the antitrust division of the Justice Department, died of cancer Oct. 7 at his home in Bethesda.

Mr. Bernstein was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and received a law degree from St. John's University. He practiced law in New York before World War II.

He served in the Army during the war and participated in the invasion of Sicily. He later served in France and Germany and was awarded a Bronze Star for organizing the criminal investigation division of the 7th Army.

After the war he practiced law in Fort Fairfield, Maine, where he was president of the Chamber of Commerce. He moved to the Washington area in 1953 and joined the Justice Department. He became chief of the special litigation section of the antitrust division in 1958. He retired in 1978 and returned to private practice. At his death he was senior counsel to the Washington law firm Leighton & Regnary.

In 1971 he received the Justice Department's John Marshall Award for enforcement of antitrust laws.

In the 1950s Mr. Bernstein was a member of the Greenbelt City Council. He was a former president of the Mohican Hills Civic Association of Bethesda and the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Jewish Community Group. In 1989 he received the Consumer Lawyer of the Year award from the D.C. Bar Association.

Survivors include his wife of 42 years, Elaine Bernstein of Bethesda; and four children, Lois Bernstein of Eugene, Ore., Robert Bernstein of New York City, John Bernstein of Portland, Ore., and Carol Bernstein of Bowie.


Georgetown Graduate

Sean Patrick Hopkins, 26, a 1986 graduate of Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, died Oct. 6 at his home in Washington. He had AIDS.

Mr. Hopkins was born in Buenos Aires and moved to the Washington area as an infant. He graduated from Washington International School, where he was valedictorian of his class in 1982.

He was fluent in French and Spanish and had studied Mandarin.

Mr. Hopkins was a member of Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church in Washington, where he served as sacristan.

Survivors include his companion of a year, Donald Mahr of Alexandria; his parents, Robert and Brenda Hopkins of Washington; and a grandmother, Doris Stephenson of England.


Former Area Resident

Kevin Lee Yarbrough, 35, a Washington native and graduate of Herndon High School who owned and operated a design and advertising agency in San Francisco, died Oct. 7 at his home in San Francisco. He had AIDS.

Mr. Yarbrough, who was a former Falls Church and Reston resident, moved to San Francisco in 1979. He received a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Virginia in 1978 and did public relations work at the Agriculture Department in 1978. He also worked briefly on Capitol Hill in 1978.

Survivors include his companion, Douglas Charles Brock of San Francisco; his parents, Charles and Mary Yarbrough, and a brother, Kirby, all of Reston; a half brother, Kim Yarbrough of San Diego; and a half sister, Susan Claridge of Nevada.


Junior High Student

Stephen A. Sims, 15, a ninth-grader at Alexandria's George Washington Junior High School, died of pneumonia Oct. 6 at the National Institutes of Health. He had chronic granulomatous, a white blood cell disorder.

He was a lifelong resident of Alexandria. He was president of the Freshman Council and a member of the National Junior Honor Society at his school.

He had a brown belt in karate and was coxswain of Alexandria's T.C. Williams High School rowing team.

Survivors include his parents, Stephen F. and Bettina A. Sims, and a brother, Christopher Sims, all of Alexandria; his maternal grandparents, Harry R. and Merle K. Anderson of Alexandria; and his paternal grandfather, Joseph B. Sims of Sacramento County, Calif.



Howard S. Epstein, 54, a lawyer who earlier this year founded the Rockville law firm Magazine, Epstein and Magazine, died of cancer Oct. 7 at George Washington University Hospital.

Mr. Epstein, who lived in Chevy Chase, was born in Ithaca, N.Y. He graduated from Cornell University and its law school.

He moved to the Washington area in 1961 and began working with the division of food and drug advertising at the Federal Trade Commission, where he remained until 1968 when he moved to Union, N.J., as general counsel to Bishop Industries.

In 1969, Mr. Epstein returned to the Washington area and began working in the consumer protection division of the Justice Department. From 1975 to 1977 he was general counsel of the American Freedom Train that toured the country as part of the nation's bicentennial celebration.

He began working for the law firm that becamer Diuguid, Kennelly & Epstein in 1977 and remained there until founding Magazine, Epstein and Magazine.

Mr. Epstein was president of Ohr Kodesh Congregation in Chevy Chase from 1985 to 1987. He was president of the Cornell Club of Washington from 1972 to 1974 and president of the Federation of Cornell Clubs from 1987 to 1989.

Survivors include his wife, Carol Epstein of Chevy Chase; two children, Mark Epstein of College Park and Linda Epstein of Fremont, Ohio; a brother, David Epstein of Fort Myers, Fla.; and a sister, Carol Sue Hai of Rochester, N.Y.


Indian Affairs Official

William S. King, 67, a retired official of the Bureau of Indian Affairs who also was a partner in the Tortilla Factory restaurant in Herndon, died of lymphoma Oct. 1 at Stuart Circle Hospital in Richmond.

Mr. King was born in Spokane, Wash., and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley.

From 1954 to 1960, he was executive secretary of the Arizona Bureau of Ethnic Research. From 1961 to 1968, he was superintendent of the Salt River Indian Agency in Scottsdale, Ariz. In 1968, he was transferred to Washington as chief of the office of community development and trust responsibilities at the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In that job he worked with congressional staff on the development of Indian legislation. He retired from the Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1978.

In 1976, he opened the Tortilla Factory restaurant in Herndon and remained active in its management until shortly before his death.

A former resident of Paeonian Springs in Loudoun Couty, he moved to Richmond in 1988.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara King, and two daughters, Mary and Susan King, all of Richmond.