THE OBITUARY NOV. 6 ABOUT RALPH WILLIS HOFFMASTER SR. MISIDENTIFIED THE AIRLINE FROM WHICH HE RETIRED. IT WAS UNITED AIRLINES. (PUBLISHED 11/07/96)

Eva Cassidy, 33, an award-winning jazz and blues singer and acoustic guitarist whose first solo recording, "Live at Blues Alley," was described by a newspaper critic as "an unqualified triumph" when it was released this year, died of cancer Nov. 2 at her home in Bowie.

Regarded as an up-and-coming young singer whose voice ranged from electrifyingly piercing to smokily intimate, Miss Cassidy performed at local clubs, toured nationally with the jazz group Pieces of a Dream and won five Washington Area Music Association awards (Wammies) for traditional jazz and rock singing. She recorded with Chuck Brown, the godfather of go-go music.

Joel Siegel, of the Washington City Paper, said her solo recording was one of the "most arresting vocal collections in years."

After Miss Cassidy's cancer was diagnosed this year, FM radio stations WPFW and WDCU devoted shows to her work, and benefits were staged to help her raise money for treatment. At a recent benefit and tribute held for her at the Bayou, at which a dozen musicians performed, she was given an honorary gold record from the Recording Industry Association of America.

Jazz saxophonist Ron Holloway described Miss Cassidy as having "an unusual amount of feeling and soulfulness in her voice, and that comes from inside her." Brown, her frequent musical partner, said that on first hearing her voice, he was impressed with its sweet, golden and mellow qualities.

Miss Cassidy, who was born in Washington and raised in Oxon Hill and Bowie, began singing and playing guitar as a child, appearing with family members at local functions. She began her professional career at the Black Pawn Recording Studio in Rockville, providing backup vocals for local and national artists.

Four years ago, she recorded her first CD, a collection of pop standards called "The Other Side," with Brown. Washington Post critic Mike Joyce said her appearance on a recording by Pieces of a Dream was welcome and heartfelt, providing the distinctive personality the band had lacked in the past.

Miss Cassidy was a graduate of Bowie High School and attended Prince George's Community College. She worked from 1981 until last year as a plant tender at the Behnke garden center in Beltsville. She also painted custom furniture as an artist for a company in Annapolis.

Survivors include her parents, Barbara Cassidy and Hugh Cassidy, both of Bowie; two sisters, Margret Cassidy of Bowie and Anette Kass of Charlottesville; and a brother, Daniel Cassidy of Iceland. HOMER B. LAY Executive

Homer B. Lay, 75, a retired furniture supply executive who had lived in Northern Virginia for more than 40 years, died of an aneurysm Oct. 25 at a hospital in Miami. Mr. Lay, who lived in Falls Church, had wintered in Vero Beach, Fla., for the last 10 years.

Mr. Lay was born in Kansas and attended Wichita State University before joining the Army during World War II. He saw combat in the Battle of the Bulge, receiving a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. In 1946, he graduated from Wichita State.

He became a sales manager for an office supply business in Wichita until moving to Arlington in 1955, when he was an assistant general manager of the National Office Products Association in Washington. From 1969 to 1976, he was a sales manager and later president and partner in the Washington-based Commercial Office Furniture Co. In 1977, he became a regional independent sales representative for Myrtle Desk Co.

He had been a member of Cherrydale Baptist Church in Arlington.

Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Libby Lay of Falls Church; a son, Stephen Lay of Rockville; three daughters, Marilyn Birdseye of Arlington, Martha Compton of Auburn, Ala., and Anne Amodeo of Grand Rapids, Mich.; two sisters, Grace Hart of Bryan, Tex., and Jewell Thurman of Vallejo, Calif.; 13 grandchildren; and a great-grandson. RALPH WILLIS HOFFMASTER Sr. Airline Service Manager

Ralph Willis Hoffmaster Sr., 80, who retired in 1978 as a technical services manager with American Airlines, died of a brain hemorrhage Nov. 4 at Mount Vernon Hospital. He lived in Alexandria.

Mr. Hoffmaster was born in Sharpsburg, Md., and raised in Washington. He was a graduate of McKinley Technical High School and the College of San Mateo.

He worked for Trans World Airlines, assigned to the Air Transport Command, in Africa and South America during World War II. After the war, he worked for Pennsylvania Central Airlines, which later became Capital Airlines and merged with United Airlines.

Mr. Hoffmaster was president of the Capital Airlines Association and the Retired United Airlines Employee Association.

Survivors include his wife, Elizabeth Popkins Hoffmaster of Alexandria; six children, Jane H. Puletz, Kathryn H. Almassy and Susan H. Crow, all of Alexandria, Judith H. Delp of Herndon, Ralph W. Hoffmaster Jr. of Lakeside, Calif., and Ann H. Harrison of Woodbine; two sisters, Kelly Collins of Richmond and Barbara Floyd of Adelphi; three brothers, Paul Hoffmaster of Woodbridge, Gene Hoffmaster of Hyattsville and Jack Hoffmaster of Ocean Pines, Md.; 22 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.