The obituary Nov. 20 of Ray Kenneth Smathers, a retired Army colonel, incorrectly reported his first name and World War I service. He did not serve in France during that war. (Published 11/28/90)

Garner "Jim" Cline, 63, a McLean resident who was a retired staff director of the House Judiciary Committee and an authority on U.S. immigration law and refugee matters, died Nov. 18 at Hershey Medical Center in Pennsylvania, where he was undergoing treatment.

He had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

He was appointed Judiciary staff director in 1973 by then-Chairman Peter W. Rodino Jr. (D-N.J.). Mr. Cline's voice was heard on national television in 1974 when he called the roll of members voting on articles of impeachment against President Nixon.

As House Judiciary director until he retired in 1986, Mr. Cline was a behind-the-scenes power on Capitol Hill. His knowledge of immigration law, and his experience on the staff of the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, made him "more influential than some members of the House on immigration," Sen. Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.), then chairman of a Senate immigration subcommittee, said in 1984.

Mr. Cline was both credited and criticized that year for helping block passage of a comprehensive immigration bill sought by the Reagan administration. In the mid-1960s, he was counsel to the immigration subcommittee during passage of legislation repealing the national origins immigration quotas.

A native of Easton, Pa., Mr. Cline came to Washington in 1951 after graduating from Lafayette College. He worked as elevator operator in the Capitol and in other jobs there while working toward a law degree at Georgetown University.

In 1954, he was appointed clerk of the Patronage Committee, the Democratic panel that alloted patronage jobs to party members. He was appointed by his patron on the Hill, his hometown representative, Francis Walter (D-Pa.). Mr. Cline moved to the Judiciary Committee in 1957.

When he retired, he was appointed to the Commission for the Study of International Migration and Cooperative Economic Development, where he served until it issued its final study this summer.

Survivors include his wife, Frances Christy Cline of McLean; a son, James Garner of Fort Worth; and a granddaughter.


Army Colonel

Raymond Kenneth Smathers, 91, a retired Army colonel and lawyer who had lived in the Washington area since 1960, died of congestive heart failure Nov. 18 at Fox Chase nursing home in Silver Spring. He lived in Silver Spring.

Col. Smathers was a native of North Carolina and a graduate of what is now Duke University, where he set records running track. After serving as an Army officer in France during World War I, he graduated from Atlanta Law School and practiced law in Georgia and North Carolina before returning to active duty in 1936.

During World War II, assignments included a tour in Europe on the staff of the 12th Army Group, commanded by Gen. Omar N. Bradley. After the war, he served in Japan as a liaison to Japanese courts. His last assignment was as a lawyer looking into disability issues at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Survivors include his wife, Rolande, of Silver Spring; a daughter, Raymonde Kaye Mize of Tulsa; and five grandchildren.


Washington Native

Edith Owen, 69, a native of Washington and a retired secretary, died of cancer Nov. 19 at her home in Kensington.

A secretary at Bolling Air Force Base during World War II, she worked during the late 1970s for a rental company in Kensington.

Mrs. Owen attended Eastern High School and Strayer College. During World War II, she was a volunteer with the Red Cross and a nurse's aide. She had lived in Kensington since 1948.

Survivors include her husband, George C. Owen, and her mother, Elvie Lampen, both of Kensington.


Church Member

Sylvia R. Orr, 92, an area resident since 1930 who was a member of Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church in Washington, died of cardiovascular disease Nov. 16 at Sibley Memorial Hospital.

Mrs. Orr, who lived in Washington, was a native of Iowa. From 1920 to 1930, she taught violin at Dakota Wesleyan University in South Dakota.

Her husband of 49 years, Joseph L. Orr, died in 1980. She leaves no immediate survivors.