Jan Sejna, 70, a major general in the Czechoslovakian army who defected to the United States in 1968 shortly before a Soviet Union-led invasion quashed a liberalization movement in his home country, died of congestive heart failure Aug. 23 at his home in Bethesda.
At the time of his defection, Gen. Sejna was a high-ranking Communist Party official. He was chief of the political wing of the Czech Defense Ministry and was a member of the Communist Party's General Staff and the National Assembly, the country's legislative body. He frequently met with Soviet and Warsaw Pact officials and developed broad knowledge of military affairs, which made him a valuable source for U.S. intelligence agencies.
Gen. Sejna kept a low profile in the months after his defection but later spoke out in interviews and appeared before U.S. congressional committees. He was a counterintelligence analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1969 to 1976 and then worked as a consultant to the Defense Intelligence Agency for a few years before his retirement last fall.
In making his defection, Gen. Sejna fled Prague by car in February 1968 with his son, Jan, and a woman described as the son's fiancee, crossing the Czech-Hungarian border and eventually making his way to Italy.
His defection to the West proved an embarrassment to President Antonin Novotny and was regarded as another sign that Czechoslovakia's conservative regime was coming to an end. Progressive communists did take control, but they were removed a few months later when armies from Warsaw Pact nations invaded the country.
Gen. Sejna, a loyal follower of Novotny, was believed to have been privy to the inner workings of the Czech political apparatus. The defection heightened tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States even as relations already were strained at the peak of the Vietnam War.
The Czechoslovakian government demanded Sejna's extradition from the United States, alleging that he was wanted on embezzlement charges. Officials charged that Gen. Sejna made thousands of dollars selling clover and alfalfa seeds on the black market.
As a U.S. intelligence source, Gen. Sejna shed some light on the secret dealmaking among the old guard of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. He revealed that he and other hard-line communists had planned to use police and military force to suppress opposition to Novotny's power.
He made other revelations, including that the Soviet intelligence agency directed terrorist training camps in Czechoslovakia in the mid-1960s. He also said that the Soviet Union collaborated with North Korea in the capture of the U.S. intelligence ship Pueblo from Pacific waters in 1968 and that Cuba and Czechoslovakia worked together to establish drug-trafficking networks throughout Latin America and to infiltrate those in existence.
More recently, Gen. Sejna alleged that the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia tested drugs on U.S. prisoners of war during the Korean and Vietnam wars.
He was born in the hamlet of Libotyn. He joined the Communist Party shortly after World War II and was drafted into the army in 1950. His rise to political prominence came in 1955, when he was selected to become chief of staff of the Ministry of Defense.
His marriage to Viceoria Sejna ended in divorce.
In addition to his son, survivors include his wife, Marie Sejna, and their son, Gregory, both of Bethesda. EDNA LOUISE SNYDER BARKER Poet and Violinist
Edna Louise Snyder Barker, 107, a Washington native, poet and former professional violinist, died of age-related ailments Aug. 22 at a nursing facility in Ticonderoga, N.Y.
Mrs. Barker, a graduate of the Gunston Hall School and Peabody Conservatory of Music, was a professional musician as a young woman. She was the daughter of the Rev. William Tayloe Snyder, cannon of Washington National Cathedral, and the great-granddaughter of Col. John Tayloe III, who built the Octagon in Northwest Washington in 1801, now headquarters of the American Institute of Architects. She moved from Washington to New York after World War II.
Mrs. Barker wrote two books of poetry, and her work appeared in publications that included The Washington Post, Saturday Review of Literature, Scientific Monthly, New York Herald Tribune, Washington Star, New York Times, Saturday Evening Post and Christian Science Monitor.
She was a member of the Washington Poetry Group and was named Poet of the Year in 1952 by the American Poetry Society.
Her husband of 50 years, Dr. E. Eugene Barker, died in 1966.
Survivors include five children, Stephen Barker of Darien, Conn., Robert Barker of Hagerstown, Md., Thomas Barker of El Cajon, Calif., Gilbert Barker of Crown Point, N.Y., and Mary Louise Barker Weiss of Chevy Chase; 11 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren. JAMES ELLIS MORRISON Photoengraver
James Ellis Morrison, 74, a retired Washington Post photoengraver, died of liver cancer Aug. 25 at his home in Tavares, Fla.
Mr. Morrison was born in Berwin, W.Va. He served in the Marine Corps in the South Pacific during World War II.
Mr. Morrison was a photoengraver at the Gazette in Charlestown, W.Va., before moving to the Washington area to work for The Washington Post in the early 1960s. He retired in 1984.
A former resident of Vienna, he moved to Florida in 1987.
He was a member of the Disabled American Veterans, the American Legion and the Loyal Order of the Moose of Lusby.
His marriage to Jean Morrison ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife, Evelyn Morrison of Tavares; three sons from his first marriage, James E. Morrison Jr. of Alexandria, Terry Morrison of Portland, Ore., and Timothy Morrison of Halmstead, Sweden; two stepchildren, R.B. Smith of Centreville and Donna M. Ridd of Fairfax; six brothers; two sisters; and three grandchildren. SARAH BEBE PET' PERLMUTTER Newspaper Co-Publisher
Sarah Bebe "Pet" Perlmutter, 91, who was co-publisher with her husband of the District Leader, a newspaper circulated in Southeast Washington in the 1940s and 1950s, died of pneumonia Aug. 18 at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington.
Mrs. Perlmutter was a native of the Newport News, Va., area who studied journalism at Columbia University. She was a reporter at a newspaper in Florida before moving to the District in 1928.
She and her husband, Victor Perlmutter, owned a printing shop in Southeast Washington until the 1970s. He died in 1975.
Mrs. Perlmutter was a member of Southeast Hebrew Congregation, Pioneer Women, Zionist Organization of America, Na' Amat USA, Jewish Council for the Aging of Greater Washington and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington.
There are no immediate survivors. JOAN MARGERY HAMLYN CORY Bookkeeper
Joan Margery Hamlyn Cory, 77, a bookkeeper at Union Trust Co. during the 1960s, died of renal failure Aug. 25 at her home in University Park.
Mrs. Cory was born in Cardiff, South Wales, and served in the British Women's Army during World War II. In 1946, she came to the United States as the bride of Richard D. Cory, who was serving in the U.S. Army during the war.
They lived in California for 17 years before moving to the Washington area in 1962.
Mrs. Cory was a member of the University Park Women's Club, University Park Book Group, the PEO Sisterhood and the Transatlantic Brides and Parents Association.
Survivors include her husband, Richard D. Cory, and a daughter, Cynthia Cory, both of University Park. DAVID LEONARD FREITAG Sr. Plasterer
David Leonard Freitag Sr., 68, a plasterer who retired in 1994 from Hampshire Construction Co. of Baltimore, died Aug. 25 at Southern Maryland Hospital Center. He had cancer.
Mr. Freitag was born in Washington and lived in Suitland. His work as a plasterer included the Warner and National theaters and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
He was a member of Plasterers Union Local 96 and the Elks.
His marriage to Helen Freitag ended in divorce. His second wife, E. Arline Freitag, died in 1986.
Survivors include five children from his first marriage, Jean C. Faul of Suitland, Joyce M. Edelin of Brookeville, Linda S. Rose of Cary, N.C., and David L. Freitag Jr. and Daniel M. Freitag, both of Sterling; seven grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter. SUSAN BERNER Administrative Assistant
Susan Berner, 52, an administrative assistant with the Appalachian Regional Commission from 1972 until a year ago, died of breast cancer Aug. 25 at the Hospice of Northern Virginia. A resident of Arlington, she had lived in the Washington area for 30 years.
Ms. Berner attended Marshall University in her native Huntington, W.Va. Early in her career, she was a clerical worker with the National Contractors Association and Knoll Corp.
She was a volunteer at Columbia Hospital for Women and a member of the Junior League of Washington, Three Seasons Dance Club and Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington.
Survivors include her husband, Robert A. Fatzinger of Arlington; two stepchildren; and three sisters. JAMES EDWIN RICHARDSON Jr. FAA Official
James Edwin Richardson Jr., 63, who retired in 1989 as deputy associate administrator for engineering and logistical services with the Federal Aviation Administration, died Aug. 24 at Baptist Hospital in Oklahoma City. He had lung cancer and other pulmonary ailments.
Mr. Richardson was born in Washington and graduated from Arlington's Washington-Lee High School.
During the 1950s, he served in the Air Force.
He served for 29 years with the FAA and was assigned in Washington until 1974, when he was transferred to Oklahoma City. He returned here in 1988 and remained for a year, then retired and returned to Oklahoma.
Survivors include his wife Marguerite "Toni" Richardson of Oklahoma City; three children, Michael David Richardson of Tulsa, James Edward Richardson of Shawnee, Okla., and Susan Marie Richardson of De Bary, Fla.; one sister, Elizabeth Blankenship of Vienna; and six grandchildren. VIRGINIA CLARISSA DYER MARTIN Secretary
Virginia Clarissa Dyer Martin, 83, an Alexandria resident and Washington native who was a former actress and retired secretary, died of multiple organ failure Aug. 9 at Arlington Hospital.
Mrs. Martin, a Western High School graduate who did volunteer work with the USO during World War II, acted on the New York stage, in summer stock and in touring companies in the 1930s and 1940s. She once toured with actress Helen Hayes.
She was a secretary to Washington social figure Mrs. Robert Low Bacon in the 1960s and early 1970s. Also in the 1970s, she was a secretary in the personnel department at George Washington University.
Her husband, Charles David Martin, died in 1976.
Survivors include two sons, Charles Jr., of Forrestville, Conn., and Robert E., of Annapolis; a sister, Barbara Reed of Virginia Beach; and two grandchildren. LUCRESSA B. ROYSTER Homemaker
Lucressa B. Royster, 69, a Fort Washington homemaker, died of cancer Aug. 21 at Hadley Memorial Hospital.
Mrs. Royster was born in Nash County, N.C., and moved to this area 30 years ago.
Survivors include her husband, Dillard A. Royster of Fort Washington; six children, Vernon Royster and Nathan Royster, both of Fort Washington, Malinda Royster of Camp Springs, Dillard Royster Jr. of Annapolis, Wanda Royster Wanzer of Woodbridge and Woodrena Royster Beason of Mechanicsville; 13 grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. WARD B. BURROUGHS Trucker and Custodian
Ward B. Burroughs, 86, who operated a trucking business in the Washington area before moving to Florida in 1957, died of heart disease Aug. 23 at a hospital in Miami.
Mr. Burroughs was born in Aquasco, Md. For several years he raised tobacco.
In Miami, he was a head custodian for the Dade County public schools.
Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Lula Burroughs of Miami; and two stepchildren, Joyce Bowling of Hughesville and Bill Townshend of Miami; two grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. GEORGE W. WHITE CIA Analyst
George W. White, 64, an analyst who retired in 1990 from the Central Intelligence Agency, died of cancer July 28 at the Hospice of Northern Virginia. A resident of Fairfax, he had lived in the Washington area since joining the CIA in 1957.
Mr. White was a native of Waterbury, Conn., and a graduate of Holy Cross College. He received a master's degree in American history from Boston College.
He was a member of St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Chantilly.
Survivors include his wife, Rita B. White of Fairfax; five children; a sister; and five grandchildren.