MARTIGNY, SWITZERLAND -- Marcel Lefebvre, 85, the rebel archbishop who was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church in 1988 for ordaining traditionalist clergymen, died March 25 in a Martigny hospital after undergoing abdominal surgery for cancer.

He had a following of an estimated 100,000 Catholic theological conservatives around the world who were unhappy with such Vatican moves as dialogue with other faiths and the abandoning of the Latin Mass.

Traditionalist Catholics venerated him as a representative of the "true church." Critics viewed him as an incorrigible reactionary who admired Spain's late Generalissimo Francisco Franco and would have liked to see the monarchy restored in France.

"Our future is the past," he once said. He denounced what he called the "satanic influence of neo-modernist and neo-Protestant tendencies" in the church.

The Vatican, in a statement on his death, said the pope never lost hope that the rebel archbishop might repent his traditionalist stance.

"The Holy Father hoped until the last moment for a gesture of repentance. He said he was prepared to remove the canonic penalty if there had been a sign from {Archbishop Lefebvre's} part to this effect," it said in a statement.

The Vatican said that on hearing of his death, the pope prayed for him.

Archbishop Lefebvre defied the pope on June 30, 1988, by consecrating four bishops without his approval at a colorful Latin ceremony in the seminary he founded in Switzerland's Rhone Valley village of Econe.

The Vatican promptly excommunicated him and the four bishops and decreed that he had created a schism, dividing the church. The last previous schism in the Roman Catholic Church had occurred in 1870, when a group rejected the new doctrine on papal infallibility.

Archbishop Lefebvre and his followers were unrepentant. "Schism? Yes, but only with the modernist pope, and those of his ideas which we oppose," he declared at the time.

"We consider that the penalties which are levied against us are absolutely null and void."

Archbishop Lefebvre had criticized the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council, not only for its abandonment of the traditional Latin Tridentine Mass, but also for its advocacy of a rapprochement with Protestants, Jews, Muslims and members of other religions.

In 1969 he started the "Order of the Fraternity of St. Pius X," named for a turn-of-the-century pope who opposed reforms. Pope Paul VI suspended Lefebvre from all priestly duties in 1976 after he refused to obey an order to stop ordaining priests into the brotherhood.

But Archbishop Lefebvre remained in the church, since it was only the unauthorized consecration of bishops that was punishable by excommunication. He retired as superior-general of the order in June 1983.

Even when Pope John Paul II allowed a very limited return of the old Tridentine Mass in 1984, the archbishop's fraternity showed little sign of giving up the fight.

After he made several public threats in 1987 to consecrate bishops to succeed him, the Vatican invited him to Rome for negotiations. He held several meetings with Vatican officials, and on May 5, 1988, signed an accord that would have recognized his order as a church institution in return for his publicly accepting the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. But he decided to go ahead with the consecration of four bishops.

Archbishop Lefebvre was born in the northern French city of Tourcoing, the son of an industrialist. Of his seven brothers and sisters, four became priests or joined a religious order.

After receiving doctorates in philosophy and theology, he was ordained in 1929 as a priest of the Congregation of the Fathers of the Holy Ghost. He was a missionary in Gabon, West Africa, from 1942 to 1955. A year after being made bishop in 1947, he was appointed the Vatican's apostolic delegate for French-speaking Africa. He was archbishop of Dakar, Senegal, from 1955 to 1962, returning to become superior-general of his order. He resigned in 1968 to protest the Second Vatican Council.

Pope John XXIII had made him a member of the commission that prepared the Second Vatican Council. Archbishop Lefebvre was one of the leaders of a group committed to "uphold the traditional faith" and refused to sign two of the council's 16 documents, dealing with religious freedom and the church in the modern world.

Survivors include a sister, Marie-Christiane, who opened a traditionalist convent for nuns in the Lake Geneva region.


Navy Rear Admiral

Lester R. Schultz, 77, a retired Navy rear admiral who served as assistant director of the National Security Agency, died March 24 at Concord Hospital in Concord, N.H., after a heart attack.

Adm. Schultz, a specialist in communications and cryptography, retired from the Navy in 1971 after more than 40 years of service that began when he entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1930. In retirement, he lived in Arlington and did consulting work until moving to Webster, N.H., in 1978. He was born in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

His Navy career included sea duty in the Atlantic and the Pacific before U.S. entry into World War II. He then served in the President's Map Room in the White House, where he began specializing in communications and cryptographic operations. During the later years of the war, he was a cryptographic specialist in the Pacific.

After the war, Adm. Schultz served briefly as commanding officer of the battleship Indiana, then returned to Washington, where he became head of the plans section of the Naval Security Group. He later served at the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk and on the staff of the commander of the Atlantic Fleet.

He returned to Washington in 1956 as assistant head, then director of the Naval Security Group. He later was deputy director of Naval Communications. He was assistant director of the National Security Agency from 1962 to 1968. He retired from the Navy officially in 1968, but continued to serve on active duty until 1971 as chief of the Pacific area office of the National Security Agency in Hawaii. This assignment included work involving the U.S. military effort in Vietnam.

Adm. Schultz's decorations included the Navy's Distinguished Service Medal and the Navy Commendation Medal.

Survivors include his wife of 53 years, the former Elizabeth Caroline Popp, of Webster; a son, Thomas Werner Schultz of Ocean City, Md.; and four grandchildren.


D.C. Native

Elizabeth Trescot Sprague, 84, a native Washingtonian who lived most of her life in the city, died of pneumonia March 23 at a nursing home in Pittsburgh.

In the late 1970s, Mrs. Sprague moved from Washington to Pittsburgh.

Her husband, William Worth Sprague, died in 1983. Survivors include a daughter, Victoria Auchincloss of Winston-Salem, N.C.; a sister, Mildred Orden of Asheville, N.C.; and two grandsons.