Jo Van Fleet, 81, an Oscar and Tony award-winning actress who often portrayed determined, maternal but proudly stoic characters on stage, screen and television, died June 10 at a hospital in Queens, N.Y. The cause of death was not reported.
She won her Academy Award, for best supporting actress in 1955, for her portrayal of James Dean's mother in Elia Kazan's film "East of Eden." It was her first picture.
In 1957, she won a Tony Award as best featured actress on Broadway for her role as Jessie Mae Watts in Horton Foote's "A Trip to Bountiful."
Over the years, Miss Van Fleet played mother to many: She was Anthony Perkins's mother in "Look Homeward, Angel" on Broadway, Paul Newman's mother in the movie "Cool Hand Luke" and Cinderella's wicked stepmother in the 1965 television revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella."
Some of her best performances were portrayals of women much older than herself: In Kazan's "Wild River," she portrayed an 80-year-old matriarch who refuses to leave her island home, which is about to be flooded by the Tennessee Valley Authority.
In her first year in Hollywood, Miss Van Fleet played the mother of Susan Hayward, who was older than she, in the film "I'll Cry Tomorrow."
She made her New York stage debut in "The Winter's Tale" in 1946. In 1950, she played Regan to Louis Calhern's Lear in "King Lear."
Her other film credits include "The Rose Tattoo," "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral," "This Angry Age," "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight" and "I Love You, Alice B. Toklas."
Miss Van Fleet, who was born in Oakland, Calif., studied theater at the College of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif.
She moved to New York, studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse and became a member of Kazan's Actors Studio.
She made her New York stage debut in 1946 in "The Winter's Tale."
Her husband, William Bales, a dancer and choreographer, died in 1990. Survivors include a son, Michael, of Toronto; and a granddaughter.
HENRY T. GANNON
Navy Captain and Physician
Henry T. Gannon, 84, a retired Navy captain and physician who worked for the National Academy of Sciences from 1961 until retiring again in 1974, died June 7 at Bethesda Naval Hospital after a heart attack. A Washington area resident since the 1940s, he lived in Falls Church.
During his years with the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Gannon headed blood preservation programs at the academy's National Research Council.
He served on active Navy duty from 1940 to 1961, including a World War II tour in the North Atlantic aboard the Houston, the second cruiser to bear that name during the war.
After the war, he taught military medicine at the Naval War College and graduated from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. Other postings included tours in the Washington area with the office of the secretary of defense and Bethesda Naval Hospital.
Dr. Gannon, who was born in Auburn, N.Y., was a 1934 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a 1938 graduate of the St. Louis University medical school in Missouri. He served his internship in St. Louis.
He was a member of the Edward D. White Council of the Knights of Columbus and St. James Catholic Church in Falls Church. Earlier, he belonged to several area square-dance clubs.
Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Dorothy H., of Falls Church; three sons, Stephen R., of Ketchum, Idaho, H. Michael, of Grand Junction, Colo., and Lawrence W., of Los Angeles; a daughter, Beverly Jean Snazelle of Canby, Ore.; and two grandchildren.
MILDRED RIVERS SOUTHERN
Mildred Rivers Southern, 96, who worked for the Census Bureau for 25 years before retiring in 1965 as a statistical clerk, died June 7 in Kensington at the Circle Manor nursing home, where she had spent the last four years.
Mrs. Southern, who lived in the District before entering the nursing home, was born in Philadelphia and came to the Washington area in 1909. She was a graduate of Dunbar High School.
She was a member of 19th Street Baptist Church in Washington. She was a member of the church's Helping Hand Club.
Her husband, Albert Southern, died in 1963. Survivors include a son, Herbert B., of Piscataway, N.J.; a daughter, Dr. Mildred S. Cannon of Silver Spring; a sister, Inez Browne of Washington; six grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
B. FRANK BREWER
B. Frank Brewer, 90, a retired Agriculture Department marketing specialist, died of pneumonia May 19 at Westminster at Lake Ridge retirement community in Woodbridge.
Mr. Brewer, who was born on a farm in Missouri, attended the University of Oklahoma.
In 1938, he moved to the Washington area as an Agriculture Department marketing specialist. He retired in 1972.
He was an elder at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Arlington.
Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Dorothy Brewer of Westminster at Lake Ridge; five children, Barbara Barry and Joanne Winn, both of Richmond, Martha Lawson and Mari Gruber, both of Jim Thorpe, Pa., and Robert Brewer of Arlington, Wash.; 11 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
VICTOR J. WHITE
Air Force Colonel
Victor J. White, 49, a retired Air Force colonel and fighter pilot, died of brain cancer June 9 at home in Herndon.
Col. White retired from the Air Force in January after having served as U.S. air attache to South Korea. During 26 years in the Air Force, he flew more than 3,000 hours in a variety of aircraft, commanded a tactical fighter squadron, served as an instructor pilot and was a deputy division chief in the office of the vice chief of staff.
He served in Oklahoma, Texas, California, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Korea, England and the Washington area, where he had lived off and on since 1984. His military decorations included the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Services Commendation Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
He was born in Boise, Idaho, and graduated from Merrimack College in Massachusetts. While serving in the Air Force, he received a master's degree in management from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. He graduated from the Air Command and Staff College and the Army War College.
Survivors include his wife of 26 years, Phyllis White, and two children, Elise White and Michael White, all of Herndon; his mother, Angelus White of Hampton, N.H.; a brother; and a sister.
CHARLES R. DICK' BASSETT
Charles R. "Dick" Bassett, 74, retired solo clarinetist with the Army Band, died of congestive heart failure May 17 at home in Alexandria.
Mr. Bassett also gave private clarinet lessons until shortly before his death.
He was born in Cleveland and graduated from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. He received a master's degree in music from the Jordan Conservatory in Indianapolis.
In 1948, he moved to Washington as a clarinetist with the National Symphony Orchestra. He taught at Catholic University in 1954, then in 1955 joined the Army Band, which is based at Fort Myer. He retired from the Army as a sergeant major in 1980.
Survivors include his wife, Aileen Bassett of Alexandria; three children, David Bassett of Nashville, Claudia Bassett of Los Angeles and Linda Fraley of Sumter, S.C.
DONALD FRANKLIN THOMPSON
Donald Franklin Thompson, 72, who operated the heating and cooling equipment at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers' building in Washington, died June 10 at the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville. He died of complications following surgery for liver cancer.
Mr. Thompson was born in Warren County, Va. In 1942, he moved to the Washington area.
He was a member of the International Union of Operating Engineers and began working at the machinists' building in Washington in 1949. He retired in the 1980s. On retiring, he moved to Orange, Va.
His marriage to Betty P. Hedrick ended in divorce.
Survivors include a daughter, Jane Thompson Lewis of Upper Marlboro, and a grandchild.
CATHERINE ELIZABETH HOFFMAN NIENHUIS
Catherine Elizabeth Hoffman Nienhuis, 40, a retired Navy lieutenant commander and a 1974 graduate of Arlington's Yorktown High School, died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma June 1 at home in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Cmdr. Nienhuis was born in San Diego and grew up in the Washington area and elsewhere. She graduated from Rice University, then began her Navy service, which included duty in Washington; Newport, R.I.; Norfolk; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and Coronado, Calif. She retired last year.
Survivors include her husband, Glen Earl Nienhuis, and a son, James Glen Nienhuis, both of Huntington Beach; her parents, retired Navy Capt. Robert Hoffman and Anne Hoffman of San Dimas, Calif.; and five sisters, Air Force Lt. Col. Cecilia Hoffman Eifert of Fairfax Station, Constance Stoyakovich of Queensland, Australia, Claire Theresa Hoffman of Pasadena, Calif., Christiane Jane Hoffman of San Dimas and Carolyn Hoffman of Cambridge, Mass., her twin.
MARY TYLER PETER
Mary Tyler Peter, 92, a former teacher who had been active in volunteer groups, died of emphysema June 9 at her home in Rockville.
Over the years, she had done volunteer work for Montgomery General Hospital and served on its ladies board. She also had been a Red Cross gray lady and a member of organizations such as Rockville Methodist Church and the Chevy Chase Club.
Mrs. Peter, who was born on a farm in Howard County, was a graduate of what was then Farmville State College in Farmville, Va. She taught elementary school in Roanoke and North Carolina before returning to the Washington area in 1929. The next two years, she taught elementary school in Bethesda.
Her husband, Robert Peter, whom she married in 1931, died in 1951. Survivors include two sons, Robert Peter III of Montgomery Village and George Tyler Peter of Rockville; two sisters, Julia T. O'Hara of Washington Grove and Helen T. Welsh of Rockville; three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
MERWIN CHARLES PHELPS
Merwin Charles Phelps, 73, retired chief of the library services division of the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress, died June 5 at a hospital in Seattle after a heart attack. Mr. Phelps, a resident of Bethesda, was traveling when stricken.
Mr. Phelps was born in Manton, Mich. He graduated from the University of Michigan, where he also received master's degrees in political science and library science. He served in the Army in Europe during World War II.
In 1951, he settled in the Washington area and joined the Library of Congress as an intern. At his retirement in 1978, he had been chief of the library services division of the Congressional Research Service for six years.
At his retirement, he received a Superior Service Award.
Mr. Phelps had done volunteer work with Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic. During the 1960s, he served on the board of Davis Memorial Unitarian Church in Camp Springs.
Survivors include his wife of 45 years, Doris Phelps of Bethesda; three sons, Charles Phelps of Annapolis, Fred Phelps of Fairfax and George Phelps of Falls Church; and a brother.
JAMES E. WILCOX SR.
James E. Wilcox Sr., 68, former assistant vice president for marketing at Equitable Life Insurance Co., died June 9 at home in Springfield. He had Alzheimer's disease.
Mr. Wilcox was born in Norfolk. He served in the Army after World War II.
In 1963, he moved to the Washington area.
He was an agent and then a manager at Atlantic Life Insurance before joining Equitable in the 1960s. He retired in 1987.
He was a member of Messiah United Methodist Church in Springfield.
Survivors include his wife, Lois M. Wilcox, and a son, James E. Wilcox Jr., both of Springfield; and two grandchildren.
MILDRED H. BARR
Mildred H. Barr, 91, a Washington resident who had been a registered nurse and a flower judge, died of a heart ailment June 9 at the Manor Care nursing home in Chevy Chase, where she had spent about the last two years.
She was a private care nurse in the Washington area from 1966 to 1975.
She had been a member of the old Forest Hills Garden Club in Washington and a judge with the National Capital Area Federation of Garden Clubs.
Mrs. Barr, a New Jersey native, became a registered nurse after studying at St. Luke's Hospital in New York. In 1928, she married Dr. E. Osmun Barr and settled in the Washington area.
Her husband died in 1965. Survivors include a son, E. Osmun, of Prince Frederick; a sister, Georgina Hodgins of Alhambra, Calif.; and a grandson.