Ethel Butler, 82, the teacher and choreographer who was a pioneer of modern dance in Washington, died of cancer April 9 at the Hospice of Washington.
Before she started her own troupe and studio here in the 1940s, Miss Butler was the principal teaching assistant to Martha Graham, founding mother of American modern dance. A Brooklyn native, Miss Butler had attracted Graham's attention while studying at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. When her studies were completed in 1933, she joined Graham's company, where she was a soloist for 12 years.
Miss Butler later was credited with discovering others who went on to win international acclaim in modern dance. Among them were Merce Cunningham, her student at Mills College in 1939, and Paul Taylor, who studied with her when he was growing up in Washington. Both men become celebrated soloists and choreographers and founded their own companies.
Miss Butler left the Graham organization to move to Washington during World War II. She taught at Howard University and Georgetown Day School before founding her own studio in Bethesda. She later taught at the University of Maryland and elsewhere.
She directed her company and Bethesda studio until 1978. In addition to professionals, she taught generations of children and young adults interested in dance movement. Among her students were actress Ingrid Bergman and writer Betty Bao Lord. Miss Butler also trained dancers of the Katherine Cornell dance company and taught at the Paul Taylor Dance Studio in New York.
Liz Lerman, who founded the Dance Exchange studio in Washington and directed her own company, took her first dance lessons at Miss Butler's studio, where the walls were plastered with pictures of the legendary ballerina Maria Tallchief. Lerman later danced with the Butler company.
Washington Post critic Jean Battey Lewis observed in 1968 of one performance that the Butler group was "an exceptionally well-trained company that danced with great control, sometimes too much control." There was at that point, "a noticeable lack of the daring, the sharply dynamic," she said, calling it "a surprising development in Miss Butler, who was a featured dancer in Martha Graham's company during that group's strong, percussive period in the 1930s."
While Miss Butler was still dancing in her own company, the critic noted, she had "leaned toward sharply dramatic works." But by the late 1960s, Lewis said, the Butler company had turned to a lyric style.
In 1980, Post critic George Jackson, reviewing a performance by the Center Dance Ensemble of Miss Butler's new work, "Splintered Pulse," noted that the choreographer still had "something fresh to say." The dance work alluded to the "Greek" period of Graham's choreography, developed into a dialogue between a chorus and a duo of dancers, and ended "in pessimism, in the shattering of the old modern dance beliefs," Jackson wrote.
In 1991, he wrote that Miss Butler's dance, "Passing, on a Whisper," introduced eight dancers "gradually into a composition that uses each body sculpturally, as a rounded volume in its own space, and as a counterweight to other bodies on the stage."
Miss Butler, he wrote, was "a virtuoso in juggling symmetry and asymmetry. Her balanced groupings are never quite equal and her imbalanced formations never tip the scale totally. She uses shuffling linearly for runs and circularly for turning, changing an awkward step into one that is agile. . . . Butler has stated that Passing' shows people who don't fully acknowledge each other's presence."
In a story about a master dance class for professionals and advanced students at Bethesda's Feet First studio last year, Mary Belferman wrote in The Post that the dancers were awed by Miss Butler, a tiny, smiling figure in a black tunic and slacks, who skipped around the practice room, arms waving, fingers snapping.
A former student of Miss Butler's in attendance that day, Barry Jones, himself a teacher, said she had "a wonderful, magical influence" on dancers. "I even have a thing I teach my students, the Ethel run," he said.
"I love to teach," Butler told Belferman. "I have an absolute passion for making dancers." She said her techniques were "Martha Graham-inspired, but with a twist -- it's all my own stuff. But I wouldn't say it's all that different."
Miss Butler, who was honored in the summer at the American Dance Festival in Durham, N.C., lived in Bethesda. She traveled regularly to New York to teach at the Paul Taylor School and the Martha Graham Studio. "I have an enormous amount of energy," she said in The Post interview last year.
Miss Butler's marriage to David Campbell, a fellow dancer in the Graham company, ended in divorce. Her second husband, Verne Blasdell, died in the 1980s. There are no immediate survivors. EDWARD JOSEPH KOWALESKI Physician
Edward Joseph Kowaleski, 75, a former professor and chairman of the family medicine program and department at the University of Maryland medical school, died April 9 at Anne Arundel Medical Center after a heart attack. He lived in Arnold.
Dr. Kowaleski worked 18 years at the University of Maryland medical school in Baltimore before retiring in 1990. While there, he instituted the first educational program in geriatric medicine and was chief of staff of the university hospital. He also had been president of the medical staff at the John L. Deaton Medical Center in Baltimore.
Dr. Kowaleski was born in Mount Carmel, Pa., and graduated from Franklin and Marshall College. He received his medical degree from George Washington University and did a medical internship at George Washington University Hospital. He then served as a physician in the Air Force.
Before joining the faculty at U-Md., Dr. Kowaleski practiced medicine in Rothsville, Pa., and in Akron, Pa.
His first wife, Nancy Leaman Kowaleski, died in 1989. A daughter, Carol Chidester, died in 1994.
Survivors include his wife, Regina Loy Kowaleski of Arnold; two children from his first marriage, Stephen Kowaleski of Athens, Ga., and Lydia Kovacs of White Plains, Md.; a stepdaughter, Sherry O'Donnell of Severna Park; two sisters; nine grandchildren; and two great-granddaughters. RICHARD A. KIRSTEIN Developer
Richard A. Kirstein, 67, a builder and developer who co-founded Richmarr Construction Corp. and served as chairman and chief executive officer of Richmarr Development Co., died April 8 at his home in Bethesda after a heart attack.
Mr. Kirstein had developed more than 8,000 houses and 10,000 apartment units, as well as office buildings, industrial complexes and shopping centers in the Washington area.
He was born in Washington, graduated from Roosevelt High School and graduated summa cum laude from Catholic University. He was a construction superintendent with Standard Construction Co. until 1953, when he founded his own businesses.
He was a director of the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia Builders Association.
Mr. Kirstein was president and co-founder of the American Digestive Disease Association, chairman of the Israel Bond Organization and a founding member of the Washington Jewish Community Foundation, through which he helped in the construction of the Jewish Community Center, the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington and the Jewish Social Service Agency in Rockville. He was a member of Washington Hebrew Congregation.
He was a member of the trustees council of the National Gallery of Art and the Woodmont Country Club.
Survivors include his wife, Lee Greenberg Kirstein of Bethesda; four children, Gary Kirstein and Steven Kirstein, both of Potomac, Lauren Issembertof New York and Kevin Kirstein of Ocean City; his mother, Sadie Kirstein, and a brother, Larry Kirstein, both of Washington; and 10 grandchildren. ANTONIO C. BONANNO Gemologist
Antonio C. Bonanno, 79, who directed the Columbia School of Gemology and the National Gem Appraising Laboratory in Washington from the early 1950s until 1993, died of a heart ailment March 28 at his home in Fredericksburg, Va.
Mr. Bonanno was a Washington native who moved from Silver Spring to Fredericksburg two years ago. He was a graduate of Roosevelt High School and attended George Washington University and the University of Maryland.
He served in the Army during World War II, in a vocational program that trained disabled veterans in lapidary and gemology. Later, his Columbia School trained many jewelers in the Washington area. His laboratory was one of the first gem testing facilities in the country.
Mr. Bonanno was co-editor of the gemology column of National Jeweler magazine and co-wrote four books on the subject. He was a founder of the Accredited Gemologists Association, a distinguished fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain and a master gemologist appraiser of the American Society of Appraisers.
Survivors include his wife, Ruth Bonanno of Fredericksburg; six children, Anthony J. Bonanno of Santa Fe., N.M., Kenneth E. Bonanno of Fredericksburg, Antoinette Bonanno Matlins of Woodstock, Vt., Rosine Bonanno Honeycutt of Cloyd, Va., Karen Bonanno DeHaas of State College, Pa., and Kathryn L. Bonanno of New York; five grandsons; and two great-granddaughters. DELROY B. GOUCHNAUER Management Analyst
Delroy B. Gouchnauer, 65, a retired civilian Army management analyst who also was a retired major in the Army Reserve, died of multiple myeloma March 29 at his home in Herndon.
Mr. Gouchnauer, who retired from the reserves about 1990, had served on active duty from 1952 to 1954 and again in 1969 and 1970. He settled in the Washington area in 1969 and joined the Army in a civilian capacity in 1972. He retired in 1991.
He was a member of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Herndon, serving in church ministries and as a member of the sanctuary choir. Over the years, he had served as vice president of the Lutheran Brotherhood of the Greater Dulles Branch, as an area coordinator for Reston-Herndon Meals on Wheels, as treasurer of Herndon Housing Inc. and as treasurer of Link Inc., a church charitable group. He also helped organize a local support organization for people with multiple myeloma.
Mr. Gouchnauer, a Minneapolis native, was an education graduate of the University Minnesota. He taught school in Minnesota before beginning his government career.
Survivors include his wife of 45 years, Janet M., of Herndon; a son, Daniel B., of Saratoga, Calif.; two daughters, Jodi Palmore of Germany and Julie Reynolds of Herndon; a sister, Ruth Johnson of Fresno, Calif.; and four grandchildren. G. HOLLIS STEWART Personnel and Security Officer
G. Hollis Stewart, 84, who retired in 1965 as a personnel and security officer with the Census Bureau, died of a heart ailment April 6 at Asbury Park Methodist Home's Wilson Care Center in Gaithersburg.
Mr. Stewart, a native of Doubs, Iowa, had lived in the Washington area since 1930. He was a graduate of Southeastern University and National Law School, now part of George Washington University.
He began his federal career in 1930 as an investigator with the Civil Service Commission and transferred to the Census Bureau in 1940.
Mr. Stewart was a Mason, member of the Order of the Eastern Star and president and treasurer of the men's Bible class at Eldbrooke United Methodist Church in Washington.
Survivors include his wife of 64 years, L. Blanche Stewart of Gaithersburg, and a daughter, Joanna L. Kieffer of Olney. HUBERT WATERBURY ANDERSON Physicist
Hubert Waterbury Anderson, 78, a physicist who had worked in the Washington area from 1946 to 1962 for the National Bureau of Standards and what then was the Diamond Ordnance Fuse Laboratories, died of cancer April 5 at his daughter's home in Cheverly.
Mr. Anderson was born in Corvallis, Ore. He graduated from Oregon State University, where he also received a master's degree in physics. He served in the Army during World War II, then settled in Washington.
From 1962 until he retired in 1984, Mr. Anderson worked at the Army's Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. He returned to the Washington area and settled in Cheverly three years ago.
His marriages to Frances Norman Anderson and Virginia Mason Anderson ended in divorce.
Survivors include two daughters from his first marriage, Marilyn D'Angelo of Cheverly and Elizabeth Gay of Brookeville; a brother; a sister; and four grandchildren. W. EDWARD LAWRENCEElectrical Contractor
W. Edward Lawrence, 94, who retired in 1990 after operating the Edward Lawrence Electric Co. in Silver Spring for 66 years, died of congestive heart failure April 4 at Holy Cross Hospital. A resident of Silver Spring, he had lived in the Washington area for 72 years.
Mr. Lawrence was born in Bluefield, W.Va. He attended the University of Virginia.
He was a Mason and a member of the Almas Temple, Elks, National Capital Optimists Club and the board of Prospect Hill Cemetery in Washington.
His marriage to Marjorie Lawrence ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife of 45 years, Hilda Laue Lawrence of Silver Spring. ALVIN BROOKS KIGERAccountant
Alvin Brooks Kiger, 80, an accountant who retired from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in 1977, died March 22 at Manor Care Fernwood Nursing Home in Bethesda after a heart attack.
Mr. Kiger was a lifelong resident of Washington. He attended Cornell University and spent most of his working life at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.
His wife, Caroline Martin Kiger, died in 1987, and a daughter, Carol Martin Kiger, died in 1984. He leaves no immediate survivors. CAPTION: ETHEL BUTLER