Robert L. Elder

Public Health Official

Robert L. Elder, 68, a retired rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service whose last post was as a deputy associate commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, died of cardiopulmonary arrest Aug. 13 at his home in Wilbraham, Mass.

Adm. Elder, who spent 30 years with the Public Health Service, was director of cosmetic ingredients review with the Cosmetic Toiletry Fragrance Association in Washington in the 1980s.

Adm. Elder was a native of Louisville. He lived in Potomac and moved to Wilbraham three years ago. A graduate of Indiana University, he received a master's degree in engineering from the University of North Carolina and a doctorate from Johns Hopkins University's public health school.

His years in the Public Health Service included tours in Nevada and the Marshall Islands, where he worked on studies involving atomic test sites. He was also assigned to the radiological health bureau here and was involved in formulating safety regulations for such items as microwave ovens and the use of lasers.

His wife, the former Evelyn Alsing, died in 1997.

Survivors include a son, the Rev. Gregory Elder of Redlands, Calif.; a daughter, Cynthia Elder Marvin of Rockville; three brothers; a sister; and three grandchildren.

Reginald Eugene Pierce

Criminal Defense Lawyer

Reginald Eugene Pierce, 50, a criminal defense lawyer who practiced in D.C. Superior Court and the courts of Prince George's County, died July 25 at his home in Washington after a heart attack.

Mr. Pierce, who lived in the District since 1976, was a solo practitioner for the past 12 years. Earlier, he worked as a policy analyst for the Transportation Department's Urban Mass Transportation Administration and the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration.

He was born in San Francisco and grew up in New Orleans. He graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, where he also was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi social fraternity, and received a master's degree in public administration from Syracuse University. While working for the Transportation Department, he received a law degree from George Washington University.

Survivors include a daughter, Shelly Vivian Pierce of Washington, and his mother, Laverne Taylor Pierce of New Orleans.

Richard J. Gainey

Supervisory Engineer

Richard J. Gainey, 86, a supervisory engineer who retired in 1976 from the Engineer Research and Development Laboratories at Fort Belvoir, died of complications related to cancer and pneumonia Aug. 16 at Inova Alexandria Hospital.

Mr. Gainey, who lived in Alexandria, was born in Rye, N.Y., and attended Manhattan College. He began his professional career at the Greenwich Water Co. in Connecticut, then in 1941 moved to this area and began working at Fort Belvoir, where he remained until retirement.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Mr. Gainey was active in organizations working for the improvement of Alexandria public schools. He was a former president of the Del Ray Citizens Association, which he helped revitalize. He was a communicant of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Alexandria.

Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Katherine Gainey of Alexandria; three daughters, Cathyann Dufford of Tallahassee, Ellen Frances Lytle of Medford, N.J., and Mary Margaret Bigelow of Delmar, N.Y.; and five grandchildren.

Earl C. Peterson


Earl C. Peterson, 88, a former appraiser who retired in 1974 as a personnel officer with the Federal Highway Administration, died Aug. 16 at Holy Cross Hospital. He had cancer.

Mr. Peterson, who lived in Silver Spring, was a native of Crestline, Ohio. He was a graduate of Ohio State University. He served in the Maritime Service during World War II.

After the war, he was an appraiser with the Navy Department in Washington. He joined the highway administration in the early 1950s.

He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, choir and Tuesday Club at St. Bernadette's Catholic Church in Silver Spring.

His first wife, Ethel Paynter, died in 1968.

Survivors include his wife of 26 years, Mary Reck Peterson of Silver Spring; a son from his first marriage, E.W. "Pete" Peterson of Mechanicsville; two stepchildren, Barbara Furumori of Silverdale, Wash., and Robert Reck of Albuquerque; six grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Gloria Tarpley Thomas


Gloria Tarpley Thomas, 74, a former saleswoman who worked for Lord & Taylor in Seven Corners and did volunteer work with PTAs in the Arlington schools, died of a stroke Aug. 2 at Arlington Hospital. She lived in Arlington.

Mrs. Thomas was born in Dublin, Ga., and raised in Washington. She was a graduate of Wilson High School and attended Sullins College and George Washington University.

She worked in the Savings Bond program at the Treasury Department before going to work for Lord & Taylor in 1979.

She was a member of Metropolitan Memorial United Methodist Church in Washington and the Powhatan Springs Woman's Club. She took in stray animals as a volunteer with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Survivors include her husband, William Thomas of Arlington; three daughters, Susan T. Chesley of Bettendorf, Iowa, Gail T. Burgess of Lancaster, Pa., and Patty T. Szurek of Reston; her mother, Lorna Tarpley of Washington; and four grandchildren.

Robert M. Cederloff


Robert M. Cederloff, 69, who owned Better Hearing Center stores in this area for 30 years, died of congestive heart failure Aug. 15 at the home of his daughter in Lake Oswego, Ore. He had lived in Silver Spring until May.

Mr. Cederloff was a native of Salt Lake City who served in the Navy during World War II.

He began his career as a traveling salesman for clothing companies. He opened his first hearing aid store in Silver Spring and later had additional stores in Washington and Frederick, Md.

He was a member of the Maryland and International Hearing societies.

His marriage to Phyllis Petersen ended in divorce. His second wife, Sylvia Cederloff, died last year.

Survivors include a daughter from his first marriage, Collette Lewis of Lake Oswego; three stepchildren; a brother; and 10 grandchildren.

Lois Estelle Newton

Data Processing Supervisor

Lois Estelle Newton, 92, a retired property management security guard and former co-owner of a Vienna dude ranch, died of congestive heart failure July 31 at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Mrs. Newton, a native Washingtonian, was a longtime Vienna resident. She helped run the Bar N' Ranch dude ranch in Vienna in the 1950s, worked as a data processing supervisor at the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station in Newport News from 1952 to 1976 and as a part-time security guard for Tysons Towers in McLean from 1976 to 1992.

Her marriages to Carlyn Heath and William Franklin Newton ended in divorces.

Survivors include a daughter from her first marriage, A. Peggy Ann Heath Shenk of Selbyville, Del.; two children from her second marriage, Frances Newton of Arlington and William F. "Bill" Newton Jr. of Fayetteville, Ga.; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.