Viola J. Lee, 84, retired deputy chief of the public assistance division of the D.C. Department of Public Welfare, died of kidney failure Jan. 26 at George Washington University Hospital.

A Washington native, Mrs. Lee began with the city's public assistance department as a caseworker in 1935, not long after passage of Social Security legislation. She rose to senior supervisor and assistant chief of the division of Aid to Dependent Children.

Mrs. Lee was one of the early caseworkers who joined the department after Social Security legislation greatly broadened funding for public assistance. In 1954, she testified before city officials about the then-phenomenon of assistance cases representing three generations of dependency. The families, she said, had begun with private assistance and then had almost continuous contact with public welfare officials during two decades of public help.

For some mothers on welfare, "thinking of rehabilitation in terms of independence is a new idea," she told one advisory council. She retired as deputy chief in 1969.

Mrs. Lee was a graduate of Dunbar High School and Howard University, from which she received a bachelor's degree in sociology and a master's degree in social work. She received a second master's degree, in sociology, from the University of Pennsylvania.

She taught social science briefly at St. Phillip's Junior College in San Antonio before she became a caseworker.

After her retirement from the city government, she helped to found a day-care center associated with People's Congregational United Church of Christ. She served as its director until 1976.

Mrs. Lee was superintendent of the Sunday school at the church, directed its vacation Bible school and served on the board of the Inoa Wipple Home. A member of People's Congregational Church for more than 50 years, she wrote a history of the institution that was published here in 1988.

Mrs. Lee's husband, Robert Lee, died in 1985. Survivors include a sister, Leona J. Doyle, and a brother, Robert F. Jackson, both of Washington.


Ex-Marine Corps Aide

Edna Dowling Woodruff, 90, a sixth-generation Washingtonian and former Marine Corps aide, died of pneumonia Jan. 29 at Perry Point Veterans Administration Hospital.

She had lived for 10 years at Vinson Hall in McLean before she was admitted to Perry Point about a year ago. Her previous homes were in Washington and Chevy Chase.

A graduate of Eastern High School, Mrs. Woodruff served as a Yeomanette in the Navy during World War I. For 25 years after the war, she was an administrative assistant in the office of the judge advocate general of the Marine Corps here.

She was active in Huegenot Society and was a former D.C. chapter president and national board member of the Daughters of 1812, an organization of descendants of those who served in the War of 1812. She was also a volunteer with the Navy Relief Society and belonged to the Society of Sponsors of the U.S. Navy, a group of people who have christened Navy ships.

Mrs. Woodruff's ship was a frigate named after her only child, Robert Graham Bradley. He was a World War II Navy hero who died saving sailors from the USS Princeton during the battle of Leyte Gulf in the Philippines.

That ship, now a guided missile frigate, is stationed in the Persian Gulf.

Mrs. Woodruff's first marriage, to Raymond Thomas Bradley, ended in divorce. Her second husband, retired Navy Rear Adm. George Lynn Woodruff, died in 1950.

She has no survivors.


Graphic Illustrator

William Howard Lyons, 68, a retired graphic illustrator at the National Oceanographic Data Center, died of cardiac arrest Jan. 27 at Howard University Hospital.

Mr. Lyons, who lived in Washington, was born in Wendell, N.C., and came to this area as a child.

He graduated from Cardozo High School and served in the Army in Burma and India during World War II. After the war, he was a postal clerk until joining the staff at the National Oceanographic Data Center as an illustrator in 1956. He retired in 1972.

Mr. Lyons was a past master of John F. Cook Masonic Lodge in Washington.

His marriage to Essie Lyons ended in divorce.

Survivors include two children, Douglas C. Lyons of Chicago and Linda M. Lyons of Atlanta; and his mother, Elsie Lyon of Washington.