John A. McCone, 89, who was chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission during the Eisenhower administration and head of the Central Intelligence Agency under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, died of cardiac arrest Feb. 14 at his home at Pebble Beach, Calif.
A California Republican who made a fortune in engineering, shipbuilding and shipping, Mr. McCone's service as director of central intelligence encompassed the Cuban missile crisis of October 1962, and the discussions that eventually led to President Johnson's decision in the summer of 1965 to commit massive U.S. ground forces to the war in Vietnam. He thus played a role in two of the principal events in the nation's post-World War II history.
Mr. McCone was tapped by Kennedy to head the CIA in September 1961. The administration had just been through the debacle of the Bay of Pigs, the failed invasion of Cuba. The CIA had organized the operation, and Allen Dulles, who had headed the agency since 1953, had resigned as a result of it. In choosing Mr. McCone to take over, Kennedy was mindful of his high standing in Republican circles, and he hoped that the appointment would still criticism of the administration from that quarter.
Mr. McCone proved to be an able and innovative manager in the intelligence field. He increased the agency's ability to collect information by technological means -- for example, photographic missions by such spy planes as the U2 -- and he set up the CIA's directorate of science and technology.
In August 1962, he warned Kennedy that the Soviets had installed offensive ballistic missiles in Cuba. The president discounted the information as coming from an alarmist Republican, and Mr. McCone, who had recently married for the second time, took a wedding trip to Europe. In the meantime, flights over Cuba had been suspended because of the loss of spy planes over the Soviet Union and China. For this reason, further information on the situation in Cuba could not be obtained.
When he returned to Washington, Mr. McCone pressed for the resumption of reconnaissance flights. They were instituted at the beginning of October, and the presence of missiles was confirmed on Oct. 10.
In the ensuing crisis, Kennedy forced Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev to withdraw the weapons. In return, the United States quietly withdrew missiles it had stationed in Turkey.
In the discussions in early 1965 about what to do in Vietnam, Mr. McCone took the view that a ground campaign would not be successful, given the political restraints that would have to be put on it. He said the United States could not win the war unless it bombed North Vietnam into submission.
In April 1965, he resigned when Johnson refused to back his attempts to bring all of the government's intelligence efforts under the wing of the CIA.
Four months later, Mr. McCone was called upon by Edmund G. Brown, the Democratic governor of California, to head a commission looking into the riots that ravaged the Watts section of Los Angeles that summer, leaving 34 dead and more than 1,000 injured.
The group produced a widely hailed report that said the causes included calls to protest by civil rights leaders and federal programs that did not deliver the services that had been promised. It concluded that the problems afflicting the black community required no less than "a new and, we believe, revolutionary attitude toward the problems of our city."
In 1974 and 1975, a Senate investigation revealed that while Mr. McCone was in charge of the CIA, the agency had engaged in numerous illegal activities, including reading the mail of private citizens and planning attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro of Cuba and other foreign leaders. Because of an organizational setup designed to give the director "plausible deniability," the investigating committee concluded that Mr. McCone's role in these matters, if he had one at all, could not be determined.
In a statement issued yesterday, William H. Webster, the present director of central intelligence, said Mr. McCone's "long and distinguished career in government was marked by excellence, integrity and selfless devotion to duty."
John Alex McCone was born in San Francisco on Jan. 4, 1902. He graduated from the University of California in 1922 and went to work for the Llewellyn Iron Works in Los Angeles. The company later merged with the Consolidated Steel Co., and Mr. McCone was a vice president and director by the time he was 32.
In 1937, he left the steel business to help found the Bechtel-McCone Corp., an engineering company. During the war, he became president of the California Shipbuilding Corp., which produced 467 ships worth $1 billion for the war effort.
After the war, Mr. McCone took over the Joshua Hendy Corp., a shipping firm that operated a fleet of tankers and cargo vessels.
In 1948, Mr. McCone made his first foray into government service. He joined the Defense Department as an assistant to James V. Forrestal, the first secretary of defense, and helped him organize the CIA, which had been established the previous year. In 1950, he was made undersecretary of the Air Force, and at the end of 1951 he returned to his business interests.
In 1958, Eisenhower named him chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission. He headed that agency until Kennedy took office on Jan. 20, 1961.
Mr. McCone returned to California in 1965 and lived in San Marino until 1979, when he settled in Pebble Beach.
His first wife, Rosemary Cooper McCone, died in 1961. His second wife, the former Theiline Pigott, whom he married in 1962, died last year.
Survivors include five stepchildren, Ann Wyckoff, Theiline Scheumann, Mary Ellen Hughes, Charles M. Pigott and James C. Pigott, all of Seattle; and a sister, Mary Louise Shelby of El Toro, Calif.
RUTH BUTTS TAPKE
Ruth Butts Tapke, 96, owner for 40 years of the Evergreen Cafeteria in Washington, died Feb. 8 at a hospital in Chestertown, Md., of complications from a stroke. A resident of the Washington area for more than 70 years, Mrs. Tapke moved to Chestertown in 1989.
Mrs. Tapke opened her lunch cafeteria in 1918 and operated it at three locations, the last at 1106 Maryland Ave. SW, until 1959. On Saturday nights in the years before World War II, the cafeteria doubled as a French-style nightclub called the Montmarte Noctambule. The entertainment was voluntary, and provided by the customers.
Mrs. Tapke was a native of Wayne County, N.Y., and she attended the Ithaca Conservatory of Music. Before she moved here, she taught at the Thomas Indian School near Buffalo.
A lifelong pianist, she frequently gave recitals at the Arts Club of Washington, where she was a member of the governing board.
Her husband, Dr. Victor F. Tapke, died in 1984.
Survivors include a son, Dr. Peter Tapke of Chestertown, and a sister, Rachel Susan Littlefield, of Tacoma, Wash.
GRANVILLE WARNER HURLEY Sr.
Howard Architecture Professor
Granville Warner Hurley Sr., 86, a retired professor of architecture at Howard University, died Feb. 11 at Washington Adventist Hospital after a stroke. He lived in Washington.
Mr. Hurley retired in 1972 after teaching design and the history of architecture for 38 years at Howard, where he also had served as acting chairman of the architecture department. He taught during the summers at the old Washington Drafting School.
A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Hurley had bachelor's and master's degrees in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania.
He taught architecture from 1958 to 1961 in the Sudan, where he was sent by the State Department on special assignment to the Khartoum Technical Institute. In 1974, he was made a fellow in the American Institute of Architects.
He belonged to the Friars Club in Philadelphia.
Mr. Hurley's marriage to Catherine Grey Hurley ended in divorce. His second wife, Emmeta Cardozo, died in 1989.
Survivors include a son by his first marriage, Granville Warner Hurley Jr., and a stepdaughter, Gloria Olney, both of Washington.
STUART D. MENSH
Stuart D. Mensh, 40, a driver for about 10 years for Silver Spring Taxi Co., died of cancer Feb. 13 at the Washington Hospice. He lived in Silver Spring.
A native of Washington, Mr. Mensh attended Northwood High School and Montgomery College. He previously worked as a driving instructor and bookkeeper and was in the Army Reserve from 1969 to 1975.
Mr. Mensh is survived by his mother, Lila Mensh of Silver Spring; three sisters, Stephanie Mensh of Falls Church, Stacy Mensh of Silver Spring and Gillian Mensh of Santa Clara, Calif.; and a brother, Michael Mensh of Boston.
HAZEL OWENS LOEFFLER
Computer Systems Analyst
Hazel Owens Loeffler, 72, a retired computer systems analyst who had worked here for the Department of Commerce and the Internal Revenue Service, died of cardiac arrest Feb. 13 at her home in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Mrs. Loeffler was born in Free Union, Va. She moved to the Washington area in 1937.
She worked at the Department of Commerce from 1940 until 1965, then at the IRS from 1965 until retiring in 1973.
In 1974 she moved from Temple Hills to Myrtle Beach.
Survivors include her husband, Albert J. Loeffler of Myrtle Beach; a daughter, Barbara Armour of Waldorf; two sisters, Mary E. Flory and Frances V. Bear, both of Nokesville, Va.; and two grandchildren.
WILLIAM RAYMOND WEEMS
D.C. General Foreman
William Raymond Weems, 91, a retired foreman in the supply and procurement division of D.C. General Hospital, died of leukemia Feb. 4 at his home in Washington.
Mr. Weems was born in Rockville. As a young man he worked as a landscape gardener. He retired from D.C. General Hospital in 1974 after 37 years of service.
He was a former vestryman, chaplain of the Men's Club and usher at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Washington and a member of the Hamilton Street Block Club.
His wife of 46 years, Geneva E. Weems, died in 1988.
Survivors include his twin sister, Daisy Weems Selden of Washington.
DONALD W. PARK
Donald W. Park, 41, a first assistant engineer in the Merchant Marine, died Feb. 9 in an engine room fire aboard a cargo ship sailing the Indian Ocean, 120 miles from the coast of India.
Relatives said Mr. Park, who lived in Fairfax City, was one of six crew members who died in the fire on the Stonewall Jackson, which recently departed the Persian Gulf after delivering supplies to U.S. armed forces in Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Park, who had lived in Fairfax City since 1972, was born in Munich into a Foreign Service family. The family was posted outside the United States until 1964, and then settled in Greenville, N.C.
Mr. Park had been in the Merchant Marine since 1974. He was a 1978 graduate of the Calhoon Engineering School in Easton, Md.
He belonged to the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association.
He is survived by his wife, Sandra Park, and two sons, Brian Park and Michael Park, all of Fairfax City; his parents, Edward and Mariam Park of Mount Dora, Fla.; a sister, Phyllis Saarinen of Gainesville, Fla., and his grandmother, Charlotte Williams of San Jose.
OLIVE JEAN SCHNEIDER
Olive Jean Schneider, 83, a former secretary who worked for the Canadian Wheat Board and the Canadian Embassy, died Feb. 13 at the Powhatan Nursing Home in Falls Church. She had rheumatoid arthritis.
Mrs. Schneider, who lived in Arlington for 28 years, was born in Winnipeg, Canada. She worked for the Canadian Wheat Board there until 1944, when she moved to Washington as part of the staff it established here for World War II.
After the war, she worked for the Canadian Embassy until her marriage in 1948 to Edward W. Schneider.
From about 1960 to 1975, Mrs. Schneider was a part-time secretary for Glenn D. Everett, a Washington correspondent for Ohio newspapers. In the 1970s, she also was a part-time secretary for the Arlington County Employment Office for Youth and Senior Citizens.
Mrs. Schneider was a member of the Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ in Arlington.
In addition to her husband, of Arlington, survivors include a brother, Jack McCracken of Sylvan Lake, Alberta, Canada, and a sister, Florence Ryan of Pompano Beach, Fla.
ANTHONY J. HARDING
Anthony J. Harding, 26, a customer representative with Pan American Airways in Washington, died Feb. 6 at D.C. General Hospital. He had AIDS.
Mr. Harding was born in Washington and lived in the city at the time of his death. He grew up in Gambrills, Md., where he graduated from Arundel High School. He also graduated from George Mason University, where he majored in business administration.
Before joining Pan American Airways about four years ago, he was a waiter at the American Cafe on Capitol Hill.
Mr. Harding had appeared in theatrical productions at Perry's Cafe on Connecticut Avenue NW, and he was a volunteer counselor to HIV patients at the Whitman-Walker Clinic.
Survivors include his companion, Nevin Forbes of Washington; his mother, Margaret Sullivan of Annapolis; his stepmother, Alice Harding of Palm Coast, Fla.; two sisters, Deborah Harding of Glen Burnie and Barbara Harding of Boston; a stepsister, Colleen Sullivan of Annapolis; and two brothers, Wallace Harding of Jessup, Md., and Harry Harding of Glen Burnie.
GRACE M. MOZEE
Grace M. Mozee, 67, a retired employee of the Foremost Laundry and other laundries in the Washington area, died Feb. 12 at the Washington Hospital Center. She had diabetes.
Mrs. Mozee was a lifelong resident of Washington, and she was a graduate of Cardozo High School. She worked in the laundry business from the early 1950s until retiring about 1985.
Her marriages to Lawrence Prince Jr. and George Mozee ended in divorce.
Survivors include a son by her first marriage, Richard Prince Sr. of Temple Hills; three children by her second marriage, Janet Hargrove and Janice Mozee, both of Washington, and George Mozee of Upper Marlboro; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.