John A. Nevius, 73, a former member and chairman of Washington's city council who also had practiced law here and served in local and federal government appointive positions, died April 23 at Sibley Memorial Hospital. He had lymphoma and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

He was appointed by President Johnson to serve on Washington's first city council in 1967, and he served until 1969. He was council president from 1972 to 1974 under an appointment by President Nixon. Mr. Nevius was the council's last appointed chairman before home rule legislation giving the city an elected council and mayor took effect.

In 1970, he was the Republican nominee in the first election for D.C. delegate, winning 25 percent of the vote in a six-person race. Democrat Walter E. Fauntroy won that election with 58 percent of the vote.

Mr. Nevius was counsel and then general counsel with Federal Services Finance Corp. here from 1950 to 1960, then a partner in his own firm, Clarke & Nevius from 1960 to 1972. In the latter capacity, he specialized in representing mutual funds on Capitol Hill. He retired in 1990 from the law firm of Jackson & Campbell.

He also had been a deputy assistant secretary for Community Development at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a director of the D.C. Redevelopment Land Agency, president of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, chairman of the D.C. Zoning Commission, and a lobbyist for the city's banking industry with the newly constituted city government in the late 1970s.

He was a third generation Washingtonian and a lifelong resident of the city. He graduated from Princeton University, served in the Navy during World War II and received a law degree from Georgetown University.

He had been a member of the Washington Home Rule Committee and chairman of its legislative committee.

On Washington's first presidentially appointed city council, Mr. Nevius was the minority party member, under legislation requiring bipartisan membership. Both as a council member and later as chairman, he was known for the rational, dispassionate and lawyerly manner in which he argued the issues. He was chairman of the council during the appointed mayoral term of Walter E. Washington, and in that capacity moved the council in the direction of closer cooperation with the executive branch.

Mr. Nevius had served on the boards of the D.C. Bicentennial Commission, Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation, Washington Hospital Center, Children's Hospital, the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, the D.C. Hospital Association, the Health and Welfare Council, Potomac School and Maret School.

He was a former vice chairman of the D.C. Republican Committee, president of the Princeton Club of Washington and a vestryman at St. Patrick's, St. Columba's and St. James Episcopal churches in Washington. He was a member of the Metropolitan Club and the Chevy Chase Club.

His marriage to the former Sheila Hersey ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife, Sally Betts Cunningham Nevius, whom he married in 1968, of Washington; their daughter, Kristina Nevius, a student at Davidson College in North Carolina; and two children from his first marriage, Theodore Nevius of Worcester, Mass., and Katherine Nevius of Arlington.


Funeral Director

Paul M. Lee, 40, a funeral director with Rapp Funeral Services in Silver Spring, died April 12 at his home in Silver Spring. He had AIDS.

Mr. Lee was born in Myersdale, Pa. He graduated from Frostburg State College and Wesley Theological Seminary at American University. In 1981, he received an associate's degree at the Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science.

He worked with Robert A. Pumphrey Funeral Home in Bethesda before joining Rapp in 1990.

Survivors include two sisters, Marie C. Hynde of Harrisburg, Pa., and Trudy K. Rogers of Warren, Ohio; and two brothers, Daniel G. Lee of East Lansing, Mich., and Ronald C. Lee of Myersdale.


NSA Physician

Warren Godfrey Preisser, 71, a physician who was a retired medical director of the National Security Agency, died of cancer April 19 at his home in Arnold, Md.

Dr. Preisser, who held the NSA's Meritorious Civilian Service Award, worked for that agency about 32 years before retiring in January. Before joining the NSA, he had practiced pediatrics in Langley Park.

In 1959, he had helped found the Edgemeade, the Maryland Center for Youth and Family Development, a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed youths. He had been an attending physician there since its founding and served as its president from 1981 to 1983. He also had been an attending physician at Maryland high school wrestling and basketball tournaments.

Dr. Preisser, who was born in Washington, was a 1940 graduate of McKinley High School, where he sang with "Ma Thompson's" glee club. He was a Navy submariner in the Atlantic during World War II. A graduate of George Washington University and its medical school, he served his pediatrics residency at Children's Hospital. In 1955, he had worked in Texas as a consultant during the polio epidemic.

His marriage to Dorothy Currier ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 16 years, Margaret Daum "Maggie" Preisser, of Arnold; four children from his first marriage, Robert, of Tampa, Alan, of Hampton, Va., Nancy Johnson of Damascus, and Dianne "Dee" Bagley of Gambrills, Md.; four stepchildren, Owen "Rusty" Jones of Arnold, Deborah Krisko of Warren, Vt., Teresa Everett of Owings Mills, Md., and Brian Jones of Cape St. Clair, Md.; 10 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.


Government Official

Ernest Kroll, 78, a prolific poet and retired State Department public information officer, died of cardiac arrest April 23 at Sibley Memorial Hospital. He lived in Washington.

He worked for the State Department 25 years before retiring in 1971.

In 1945, Mr. Kroll had his first poem published. It was purchased by The Washington Post, which paid him $2 for his work. He eventually saw his work appear in five volumes of poetry and in such magazines as the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Saturday Review, Esquire, the New Republic and the Nation.

In 1978 alone, his poems appeared in 59 magazines and journals. His "Cape Horn and Other Poems," published by E.P. Dutton, was a runner-up in the 1952 National Book Award competition. His other books included "The Pause in the Eye," also published by Dutton, and "Fifty Fraxioms," which was published in 1974 by the University of Nebraska Press.

But his most memorable moment in poetry may have come in 1982 when he learned that the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation thought he was dead. His work was among writings by 39 authors -- all of whom officials ruefully confessed they thought were dead -- that were hand-chiseled into the amber-toned surface of what is now called Freedom Plaza. The plaza, stretching along Pennsylvania Avenue between 13th and 14th streets NW, featured work by such writers as Whitman, Emerson, Dickens and Twain, and such statesmen as Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson and Webster.

Mr. Kroll's contribution, from a poem he had written 30 years before, said:

How shall you act the natural

man in this

Invented city, neither Rome nor


Officials confessed that had they known Mr. Kroll was alive, he would have been invited to the dedication.

Mr. Kroll was a native of Manhattan and was a 1936 graduate of Columbia University in New York. Before coming here in the early 1940s, he was a New York journalist, working for such publications as the Brooklyn Eagle.

During World War II, he served in the Navy working in communications and intelligence. He was a Japanese linguist.

Over the years, in addition to his government work and poetry, Mr. Kroll had contributed book reviews to The Post. He specialized in examining volumes of poetry and books dealing with history and the old American West.

Survivors include his wife, Margaret, of Washington; a son, Dennis, of Portland, Ore.; and a sister, Evelyn Simon of Fort Lee, N.J.


Postal Clerk

Warren "Woody" Taylor, 77, a retired postal clerk who was active in youth sports groups in Northern Virginia, died of a heart ailment April 15 at Arlington Hospital. He lived in Arlington.

Mr. Taylor, a Washington native, was a 1933 graduate of Central High School and a Marine Corps veteran of World War II. He worked in Washington for what became the U.S. Postal Service for 37 years before retiring in 1971. In the mid-1970s, he founded two sporting goods stores, called Sports Unlimited, in Arlington and in Vienna. He sold them in the 1980s.

From the late 1960s to early 1980s, he was a high school football referee and judge. He also had been active in the Arlington Recreational Youth Program.

Mr. Taylor was a past secretary-treasurer of the Northern Virginia Football Officials Association and had been elected to the Northern Virginia Football Officials Hall of Fame.

He was a past president of the Better Sports Club of Arlington and the Postal Service Masonic Square Club Lodge. He was a member of Arlington Centennial Masonic Lodge No. 81.

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Connie, of Arlington; two sons, Woody Jr., of McLean, and Marty, of Leesburg; a daughter, Judy Mattes of Russellton, Pa.; a brother, Warner, of Aquia, Va.; a sister, Lorraine Wildman of Denver; and seven grandchildren.