Jean Reiff Hailey, 70, who worked as a reporter at The Washington Post for almost 40 years after becoming one of the first women in its newsroom, was found dead yesterday in her home in Fairfax County.

The cause of death was not determined and was under investigation by the Northern Virginia Medical Examiner's Office.

After making her way into what had been the all-male territory of the newsroom, Mrs. Hailey covered police headquarters in the early years of her career, then went on to become a general assignment reporter, assistant city editor, rewrite specialist and obituary writer.

A particularly fast and fluid writer, she was devoted to the traditional who-what-when-where-why school of just-the-facts journalism, and over the years applied her skills to covering virtually every nook and cranny of life in the District of Columbia and its suburbs.

Her beats or long-term assignments included the schools, the District Building, the Virginia suburbs and Capitol Hill hearings.

In addition, she gave steady support and guidance to colleagues, including many younger ones, who would telephone her with news they had just gathered or on-the-scene accounts from fast-moving events as they occurred. Mrs. Hailey would coolly draw out the details, and, with the newspaper's deadlines fast approaching, would write the stories.

She was born Jean Reiff on July 9, 1920, in Allentown, Pa., and received a bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary.

For her, as for many women, the outbreak of World War II provided opportunity. Although women did report for the society page, The Post was described in a history of the paper as "a fortress of glorious male isolationism" at the war's outset.

The war, according to author Chalmers M. Roberts, "changed all that." Men went into the armed services. Mrs. Hailey, who joined The Post less than a year after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, became one of the first copy girls.

Then, according to Roberts, "she was the first to graduate to reporter." She took assignments that included covering police headquarters while the reporter on that assignment, Alfred E. Lewis, was in the Marine Corps.

At the war's end, Roberts wrote, Mrs. Hailey was "the only one {of the new women reporters} to survive after the men returned."

Mrs. Hailey retired in 1981 and had spent much of the time since then on travel and at such hobbies as gardening and needlepoint.

She was married in 1949 to Albon B. Hailey, also a reporter at The Post. He died in 1963.


P.G. School Official

Dana G. Kurfman, 65, director of social studies programs in the Prince George's County public schools since coming here in 1970, died of cancer Dec. 22 at his home in Kettering, Md.

Mr. Kurfman was a native of Chicago and a graduate of Beloit College. He received a master's degree in history from the University of Chicago and a doctorate in education from the University of Illinois.

During the 1950s, he was a high school teacher in Wisconsin, taught education courses at Western Michigan University and served as social studies coordinator of the Ann Arbor, Mich., public schools. From 1960 to 1966, he worked for the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J. He then worked on a federally funded high school geography project in Boulder, Colo., before coming here.

Mr. Kurfman also had done consulting work for textbook publishers, wrote and edited technical works and served on grant review panels. He was a member of the National Council for the Social Studies and was a life master of the American Contract Bridge League.

Survivors include his wife of 38 years, Patricia, of Kettering; two sons, David, of Ephrata, Pa., and Paul, of Estes Park, Colo.; a daughter, Julia Schneidkraut of Boulder; his mother, Peggy Kurfman, and a sister, Marjorie Sneller, both of Hastings, Neb.; and six grandchildren.


Navy Captain

Grant S. Heston, 75, a retired Navy captain who was a defense consultant and real estate salesman here from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, died Dec. 21 at the Sunrise retirement home in Arlington after a heart attack. He lived in Arlington.

Capt. Heston, who had lived in this area since 1952, was born in Washington and grew up in Cumberland, Md. He was a 1938 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. During World War II, he served aboard destroyers in the Pacific.

His postwar assignments included tours at the Pentagon, where he worked in anti-submarine warfare, service in Naples, and command of an eight-destroyer squadron out of Norfolk in the early 1960s. His last assignment, before retiring from active duty in 1968, was as an anti-submarine warfare instructor at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Capt. Heston held the Legion of Merit. He was a graduate of the Industrial College and the Armed Forces Staff College.

He had served on the vestry of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Arlington.

Survivors include his wife, the former Jean Dulin, of Arlington; two sons, James N., of Piscataway, N.J., and Grant Jr., of Raleigh, N.C.; a brother, Newton, and a sister, Elizabeth Bell Heston, both of Pittsburgh; and three grandchildren.


NASA Official

Matthew M. Flattery, 76, a retired NASA official who also had worked for the Veterans Administration and the State Department, died Dec. 21 at his home in Alexandria after a heart attack.

He began his government career here in 1947 with the VA. He later transferred to State, where he was a budget and finance program manager. He joined NASA in the 1960s and retired in 1973 as chief of Apollo resources for manned lunar spaceflight.

Mr. Flattery was a native of Staten Island, N.Y., and attended George Washington University. He came here after serving with the Army in Europe and the Mediterranean during World War II.

He had done volunteer work in Alexandria for the Society for the Prevention of Blindness. He was a member of Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Alexandria. His hobbies included golf.

Survivors include his wife, Adele V. Flattery of Alexandria; three sons, Brian, of Washington, Donald, of Alexandria, and Sean, of Springfield; two daughters, Eileen Roberts of Great Falls, Va., and Patricia Flattery of Alexandria; two brothers; two sisters; and four grandchildren.


Kodak Employee

Paul Edward Pallett, 68, a retired employee of the Eastman Kodak Co. who was a Navy veteran of two wars, died of cancer Dec. 21 at his home in Chevy Chase.

Mr. Pallett, who had lived in Annapolis for 11 years before moving to Chevy Chase in 1980, was a former resident of New York state. He was a native of Cozad, Neb., and a graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology in New York.

A former Navy pilot, he served in this country during World War II and in Korea during the conflict there.

He worked for Kodak for 20 years before retiring in 1977. Over the years, he had been a company technical representative, lecturer and photographer. Before joining Kodak, he had worked for General Electric.

His marriage to the former Carolyn Emblidge ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife, the former Rhoda "Charli" Schoen, of Chevy Chase; three sons by his first marriage, Bryan, of Pasadena, Md., Stephen, of Severna Park, Md., and Kevin, of Annapolis; his mother, Hester Pallett of Cozad; and three grandchildren.


UAL Auditor

Aquila S. Myers, 84, a retired auditor with United Airlines who was active in church groups, died of respiratory failure Dec. 23 at Prince George's Hospital Center. He lived in District Heights.

Mr. Myers was a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., and attended Pace Institute. He worked in New Jersey for a concern that became part of United Airlines before transferring here in 1946. He retired from United in 1967.

After that, he did accounting work for several area churches until retiring a second time in February 1990.

Mr. Myers was a member of Mount Calvary Catholic Church in Forestville. He also had belonged to the St. Vincent de Paul and Holy Name societies.

Survivors include his wife, Grace E., of District Heights; two daughters, Maureen "Cookie" Bowman of Virginia Beach, and Michele Ballotta of Washington; and two grandsons.