The obituary of Norman J. Karl, an area clinical psychologist, incorrectly reported the names of his two brothers on Sunday. They are Samuel Kobulnick of Bellmore, N.Y., and Lester Kaye of Huntington, N.Y. Both had changed their names. (Published 10/16/90)
Douglas Edwards, 73, a pioneer of broadcast journalism who helped shape television news as the first anchor of the CBS evening newscast, died yesterday of cancer at his home in Sarasota, Fla.
After starting in radio as a 15-year-old in Alabama, Mr. Edwards went on to spent 56 years on the air, 46 with CBS News, before retiring two years ago, with a valedictory in which he told his listeners, "What a trip it's been."
He was alluding to a career that included covering the waning days of World War II from London under the legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow, subsequent postwar assignments in Europe, and anchoring television coverage of the 1948 national political conventions here at home.
In the calm, sober, unsmiling style that became his trademark, Mr. Edwards presented the news each night for 14 years. By 1957 his show was being watched by an average of 34 million viewers a week, making it the world's single largest news medium.
In excerpts from his broadcasts, put on the air yesterday by radio station WTOP-AM, he told the story of a changing and turbulent world beset by war and turmoil. But his favorite story, he said, was one of scientific progress and human triumph: the development of the Salk vaccine against polio.
"I have never done a more satisfying broadcast," he said.
He also covered many important stories personally.
One was the July 1956 sinking of the ocean liner Andrea Doria after a fog-shrouded collision in the North Atlantic.
As the world listened, Mr. Edwards circled above the stricken vessel in a seaplane, broadcasting live.
"The Andrea Doria, pride of the Italian Lines, looking like a colorful but big and dead hippopotamus . . . .
"And down goes the Andrea Doria, the time, 10:09 . . . Eastern Daylight Time . . . . "
Mr. Edwards was born in Ada, Okla., on July 14, 1917. His father died when he was an infant. He and his mother, an elementary school principal, moved to New Mexico, and then to Troy, Ala., where he spent most of his boyhood.
Radio played an important role in his early years. He spent hours listening and by the age of 12 was reading newspaper stories into a telephone mouthpiece. At 15, he went on the air on a 100-watt station that older friends had patched together.
After high school he attended the University of Alabama, Emory University and the University of Georgia. Continuing his radio career, he worked for stations in Dothan, Ala., Atlanta and Detroit before joining CBS in 1942 as an announcer.
In 1947, he became the first major radio news figure to make the transition to the infant medium of television. No one was certain just what the flickering black-and-white screen should show.
"I remember guys coming up with brainstorms like wanting me to wear a football helmet to report the football scores."
On Aug. 15, 1948, came the first airing of "Douglas Edwards With the News," CBS's first nightly news program. The 15-minute show reached about 30,000 viewers in five eastern seaboard cities, including Washington.
Fourteen years later, in one of the industry's major upheavals, Mr. Edwards was replaced as evening news anchor by Walter Cronkite.
Mr. Edwards described the shift, apparently prompted by ratings concerns, as "a blow," but also said he "had a good run . . . and it was time for a change."
He continued to deliver radio newscasts and an afternoon television broadcast that was later retitled the "CBS Mid-Day News with Douglas Edwards."
In 1985, he signed a new five-year contract with CBS, but in 1988, he retired, telling listeners that it was "time to set out on another leg of the journey." He received many honors, including a 1956 Peabody Award for best television news.
In addition to his wife, May, of Sarasota, survivors include three children from a previous marriage; two stepsons; and four grandchildren.
Administrative Law Judge
Norman Zankel, 59, a retired National Labor Relations Board administrative law judge, died of cancer Oct. 12 at his home in Potomac.
Mr. Zankel was born in New York City and grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Syracuse University and its law school. He served in the Army from 1954 to 1956.
He then practiced law in Boston. In 1959, he joined the staff of the National Labor Relations Board in Boston. He became an administrative law judge in 1977 and moved here. He retired in September for health reasons.
Mr. Zankel was president of the Federal Administrative Law Judges Conference. He was a member of Temple Sinai in Washington.
Survivors include his wife, Dorothy C. Zankel of Potomac; two daughters, Toby Heilweil of Bethesda, and Ronni November of Newtown, Pa.; a sister, Rhoda Bagen of Edison, N.J.; and a grandchild.
WALTER E. MEUSE SR.
Walter E. Meuse Sr., 73, who was a steam station engineer with the Pennsylvania Railroad at Union Station here for 40 years before retiring in 1978, died Oct. 10 at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital after a heart attack. He lived in Gaithersburg.
He spent three years with the Civilian Conservation Corps, in his native Massachusetts and in Maine, before coming to Washington in 1937. He had served as sergeant-at-arms of Maryland Free State chapter of the National Association of the Civilian Conservation Corps Alumni in Hyattsville. He had done volunteer work for the Montgomery County Hospice in Bethesda.
His first wife, Dorothy Meuse, died in 1967. Survivors include his wife, Sara, of Gaithersburg; a son by his first marriage, Walter Jr., of Frederick, Md.; a stepson, Michael Larmer of Sacramento, Calif.; a sister, Helen Roberts of Reading, Mass.; and three grandsons.
AUDRY 'AUDIE' BALMER
Audry "Audie" Balmer, 64, a superintendent with area private roadbuilding concerns from the late 1950s to 1974, who also had been a professional bowler in the 1960s, died of cancer Oct. 12 at his home in Centreville.
Among the companies he worked for were Corson & Gruman and Helsing Brothers. In 1974, he moved to Florida, where he operated his own construction business for two years. He returned here in 1978.
Mr. Balmer was born in Missouri and grew up in Kansas. He served with the Army Air Forces in Europe during World War II. Before coming here in the late 1950s, he had been a commercial airline pilot in California.
He was a past president Road Builders Association of Metropolitan Washington.
Survivors include his wife, Gail, of Centreville; his mother, Inez Payton of Wichita, Kan.; and two sisters, Xerphia White of Mesquite, Tex., and Hilda Hodge of Wichita.
HARRIET F. HAAS
Harriet Frances Haas, 70, a retired social worker at the Higher Horizons Head Start program in Fairfax, died of cancer Oct. 10 at Arlington Hospital.
Dr. Haas, who lived in Arlington, was a native of California. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley where she also received a master's degree in social welfare. She received a doctoral degree in social psychology from the University of Rennes in France. She was a diplomate of the National Association of Social Workers.
From the early 1950s until 1968, she was a social worker in California public school systems. She moved to Baltimore in 1969, where she was a member of the social welfare faculty at the University of Maryland. She came to the Washington area in 1975 and worked at the International Rescue Committee in Washington and later the Arlington Hospital Hotline before joining Higher Horizons in 1980. She retired in 1988.
She was a member of the Order of the Eastern Star.
Her marriage to Siavoosh Nematollahi ended in divorce.
Survivors include a son, Wales P. Nematollahi of Austin, Tex., and a grandchild.
NORMAN J. KARL
Norman J. Karl, 54, a clinical psychologist at the Metropolitan Psychiatric Group in Washington and Bethesda, died of a heart ailment Oct. 13 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
Dr. Karl, who lived in Potomac, was a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. He graduated from Brooklyn College and received master's and doctoral degrees in psychology from Michigan State University.
He came to the Washington area in 1968 as a member of the psychology department faculty at the University of Maryland. While there, he was on the staff of the school's counseling center and established the HELP Center crisis clinic.
He left in 1971 and joined the Metropolitan Psychiatric Group, a private Washington area mental health service.
Survivors include his wife, Edith L. "Elly" Karl of Potomac; two daughters, Jennifer Ruth Karl of College Park, and Allison Rachel Karl of Athens, Ga.; two brothers, Samuel Karl of Bellmore, N.Y., and Lester Karl of Huntington, N.Y.
Antiques Refinisher and Appraiser
Gladys Zalia Brennan Harris, 76, who had done antiques refinishing and appraisal work here for the past 25 years, died of cancer Oct. 11 at her home in Laurel.
She had done much of her antiques work along the Route 1 corridor in suburban Maryland.
Mrs. Harris received a degree in aeronautical engineering at the College of Notre Dame in her native England. She worked for the British Air Ministry before coming to this country and Washington during World War II.
She was a member of St. Nicholas Catholic Church in Laurel.
Survivors include her husband, retired Army Lt. Col. Martin Henry Harris Jr. of Laurel; five daughters, Elizabeth A. Ramsey of Burke, Stephanie J. Harris of Laurel, Phyllis J. Nosek of San Jose, and Barbara J. Orak and M. Kathryn Harris, both of San Francisco; a sister, Frances Rakocka of Southsea, England; and six grandchildren.
ELIZABETH B. BARTCH
TV Broadcast Engineer
Elizabeth Beckwith Bartch, 38, a television broadcast engineer who worked for WDCA and WETA here from 1981 to 1985, died of cancer Oct. 12 at the Washington Hospice. She lived in Bethesda.
Mrs. Bartch was a native of Akron, Ohio, and received an education degree at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Before coming here in 1981, she had been a junior high school teacher in Ohio and broadcast engineer in Ohio and Illinois.
She was a member of Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church in Bethesda. She had done volunteer work for several organizations, including the American Cancer Society's Discovery clothing store.
Survivors include her husband, Karl Christopher Bartch, and a daughter, Jennifer Elizabeth Bartch, both of Bethesda.
I. MARTIN LEAVITT
I. Martin Leavitt, 80, a lawyer with the Washington law firm of Steptoe & Johnson from the 1930s until retiring as a partner in 1974, died Oct. 13 at the Oak Springs nursing home in Warrenton after a stroke. He lived in Arlington.
Mr. Leavitt was a native of Portsmouth, Va., and a graduate of the University of Virginia. He also graduated from its law school and then taught there for a time. He worked for an office of Steptoe & Johnson in West Virginia before serving with the Navy in the Pacific during World War II. He came to Washington shortly after the war.
He was a member of St. Mark's Methodist Church in Arlington.
Survivors include his wife, Ruth, of Arlington.
ELIZABETH D. MERCER
Elizabeth Dobbyn Mercer, 94, an area resident since about 1960 who lived in Bethesda, died of congestive heart failure Oct. 11 in Gaithersburg at the Shady Grove nursing home, where she had spent the past year.
Mrs. Mercer was born in Canada and came to this country at an early age. She spent more than 30 years with People's Gas, a Chicago area utility, where she was an accountant, before retiring about 1960.
Her husband, Arthur Cleveland Mercer, died in 1925. Her survivors include a son, A. Bruce Mercer of Bethesda; three grandsons; and four great-granddaughters.
CLARA BRASEL SWALLEN
Secretary at Smithsonian
Clara Brasel Swallen, 73, a retired secretary at the Smithsonian Institution, died of a kidney ailmnet Oct. 10 at a nursing home in Delaware, Ohio.
Mrs. Swallen, who moved to Ohio from Columbia in 1989, was a native of Washington. She graduated from Western High School and Georgetown University.
She worked briefly at the U.S. Patent Office before going to the Smithsonian in 1947. She retired in 1965 and moved to Florida. She returned here in 1986.
Survivors include her husband, Jason Swallen of Delaware; and a brother, John Brasel of Larchmont, N.Y.