Joan Southcote-Aston, 72, a retired curator at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection and director of its Friends of Music program, died of a heart attack Dec. 14 at Georgetown University Hospital.

In 31 years with Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown, Mrs. Southcote-Aston was curator of its Byzantine studies program, the Princeton Index of Christian Art and the house collection of art and antique furniture.

She took over the Friends of Music local concert program that had been begun as a gathering of family and friends of Robert Woods Bliss and Mildred Bliss, who donated Dumbarton Oaks to Harvard University 50 years ago. Mrs. Southcote-Aston developed the chamber music society into a prestigious subscription chamber series, one that paid musicians only union scale but attracted some of the best artists in the country.

Mrs. Southcote-Aston was a friend of the Blisses, whom she met while she was a social secretary at the British Embassy. A native of Bexhill, Sussex, England, Mrs. Southcote-Aston came to this country during World War II to work in the embassy, where she was employed until 1958.

She retired from Dumbarton Oaks in 1988, and lived nearby in Georgetown.

In addition to her interest in art and music, Mrs. Southcote-Aston also was active with Epiphany Catholic Church in Georgetown and was a founder of the Georgetown Prayer Group.

Her marriage to Harry Savile Southcote-Aston ended in divorce.

Survivors include two sisters, Mary Bundey of Lyn, England, and Freda Stuart Ruthven of London.


C&P Employee and Church Deacon

Addison Odell Graves, 75, a retired Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. employee who had been a deacon of Peoples Congregational Church in Washington, died Dec. 17 at Washington Hospital Center. He had cancer.

He joined C&P after World War II, and was a driver and warehouseman with the company until retiring in 1974.

Mr. Graves, who moved here in 1937, was a native of West Point, Miss. He served with the Army in Europe during World War II.

His wife, the former Annice Wilson, died in 1979. Survivors include a son, Odell, of Trotwood, Ohio; a daughter, Judy Graves Dixon of Atlanta; and three grandchildren.


Navy Rear Admiral

A. Atley Peterson, 74, a retired Navy rear admiral who later became an official of the Treasury and Energy departments, died of cardiorespiratory failure Dec. 17 at Arlington Hospital.

Adm. Peterson served 32 years on active duty and in the Navy reserves before retiring in 1972 as deputy director of naval intelligence in Europe. Earlier assignments had included service as naval attache in Brussels and duty as plans coordinator at the National Security Agency.

On retiring from the Navy, he had served as assistant director for technical and scientific services for the Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. In the 1980s, he had worked for the Department of Energy as director of the Emergency Advisory Staff.

Since retiring from the Navy, Adm. Peterson had also directed a staff of senior scientists at Sperry Rand and headed a requirements division of an electro system at LTV. He had also worked for Sperry Rand during the 1960s as program coordinator for intelligence systems and for Litton Industries as special assistant to the vice president for advanced systems.

He was born in La Crosse, Wis. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin and from the U.S. Naval Academy. During World War II, he served in the Mediterranean and participated in the planning for landings in Italy.

After the war, Adm. Peterson worked for Proctor & Gamble, but returned to active duty in the Navy during the Korean War.

His military decorations included a Bronze Star and a Meritorious Service Award.

He lived in Arlington and had been a permanent resident of the Washington area for 40 years.

His marriages to Douglas Peterson and Kay Peterson ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 21 years, Mechthild E. "Mitzi" Peterson of Arlington; two children from his first marriage, A. Padget Peterson of Orlando, Fla., and Lans Peterson of Palm Beach, Fla.; a sister, Betty Olson of Madison, Wis.; a brother, Dr. Rodney K. Peterson of Stoughton, Wis.; and a grandson.


Government Official

Ben Posner, 76, a retired assistant director of the U.S. Information Agency who was vice president for finance and planning for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting from 1973 to 1977, died Nov. 22 at a hospital in Westlake Village, Calif., after a heart attack.

A former Greenbelt and Silver Spring resident, he lived here from 1936 until moving to the Virgin Islands in 1977. A resident of Westlake Village, had had lived in California since 1988.

Mr. Posner was a native of Tucson, and served with the Army in the Pacific during World War II. A 1936 graduate of the University of Arizona, he received a master's degree in accounting from George Washington University and a doctorate in public administration from American University.

He began his government career in 1937 as a clerk-typist with the Navy Department. He later worked for the National Labor Relations Board and the Economic Stabilization Agency before joining the State Department in 1953. He then was a USIA budget officer and retired as the agency's principal administrative and financial officer in 1973.

He was the recipient of a USIA Distinguished Service Award and 1970 Rockefeller Public Service Award.

He had been a founding member and officer of Temple Emanuel in Kensington.

Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Selma, of Westlake Village; two sons, Dr. Richard Posner of Woodland Hills, Calif., and Dr. David Posner of San Jose; and five grandchildren.