Raymond E. Miller

Navy Physicist

Raymond E. Miller, 90, a physicist with the Department of the Navy who after his retirement in the 1970s became involved in Montgomery County politics, died from a cardiovascular disorder Sept. 11 at Carriage Hill of Bethesda, a nursing home. He had lived in Silver Spring from 1945 until moving to the nursing facility two years ago.

Mr. Miller entered the Navy as a civilian and was stationed from 1942 to 1945 at the Charleston Navy Ship Yard in South Carolina. There, he worked on degaussing ships, a technique to make them less susceptible to magnetic mines.

After the war, Mr. Miller continued his Navy career by researching ship-launched weapons at the former Naval Ordnance Laboratory in White Oak, among other Washington area locations. During the Vietnam War, he administered the development of armaments on river craft.

After his retirement in 1973, Mr. Miller, a Republican, became active in behind-the-scenes efforts to reduce Montgomery County government expenditures. One push was the defeated TRIM initiative of the late 1970s.

Mr. Miller was born in Mead, Wash., and received a bachelor's degree in physics in 1930 from Washington State University. After receiving a master's degree in physics and education from the University of Michigan in the late 1930s, Mr. Miller taught physics in Hamtramck, Mich., until the war.

Adept at air-conditioning repair, Mr. Miller ran a business from his Silver Spring home from the late 1950s until the early 1970s. He also was a professional photographer from the early 1940s until the 1950s.

Mr. Miller was married to Fern Sutton from 1935 until her death in 1982. His second wife, Audrey Day Tavers, died in 1992.

He is survived by a daughter from his first marriage, Linda Ray Thompson of Bethesda; and a grandson.

Mary M. Kelley

Senate Secretary

Mary M. Kelley, 89, who was a secretary to four Republican senators until she retired in 1977, died from congestive heart failure Sept. 13 at Inova Commonwealth Care nursing center in Fairfax City. She lived in Fairfax for the last decade.

A Republican, Mrs. Kelley worked for fellow Republican Sens. John Sherman Cooper of Kentucky in the 1950s, John Williams of Delaware in the 1960s and Robert A. Taft Jr. of Ohio in the 1970s. Because Cooper was not reelected in 1954, Mrs. Kelley was hired as a secretary to Sen. Prescott Bush of Connecticut until Cooper returned in 1956 to fill a vacancy.

Mrs. Cooper graduated from St. Patrick's Catholic High School in the District and went to work in the early 1930s at a Chevrolet dealership.

A few years later, she was employed by the Alley Dwelling Authority, created by Congress in 1934 to eliminate alley housing.

She married in 1935 and raised her only child from 1940 until she went to work for Cooper in 1952.

She was a member of Toastmasters International. Her avocations included bridge and ballroom dancing.

Her husband, Robert J. Kelley, died in 1959.

Survivors include a son, Michael R., of Fairfax; and a grandson.

Sally Coffin


Sally Coffin, 97, who was a volunteer administrative worker with the Arlington County Chapter of the American Red Cross for more than 25 years until 1990, died of lymphoma Aug. 15 at her home in Arlington.

She also did volunteer work for the Virginia Association of Hospital Auxiliaries and Arlington Hospital. Her hobbies included needlepointing, quilting and knitting. Mrs. Coffin, a native of North Dakota, had lived in the Washington area since 1936.

Her husband, retired Navy Capt. Leroy Coffin, died in 1963.

Survivors include two sons, Daniel Coffin and James Coffin, both of Seattle; and four grandchildren.

Thomas W. Betts

Power Dispatcher

Thomas W. Betts, 73, a power dispatcher at Pepco during the 1960s and 1970s, died of lung cancer Aug. 23 at Ormond Beach Memorial Hospital in Florida.

Mr. Betts, who grew up in Washington and lived in New Carrollton from 1962 until his retirement in 1979 to Daytona, Fla., had lived in Ormond Beach for the past two years.

After graduating from Eastern High School in the District, Mr. Betts served in the Navy as a gunner stationed in Spain and North Africa from 1942 to 1945.

The next year, he started working for Potomac Electric Power Co., and by the early 1960s, he was in management as a power dispatcher.

In the Washington area, Mr. Betts attended St. Christopher's Episcopal Church in New Carrollton and was a member of the Sportsman's Club, a social organization for men.

During the past few years, Mr. Betts helped care for abused children involved in the Volusia County, Fla., court system.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Barbara, of Ormond Beach; two children; and two brothers.

Marie S. Leach

Executive Secretary

Marie S. Leach, 84, an executive secretary who worked for Colt Industries and its predecessor Fairbanks Morse from the 1950s into the 1980s, died Sept. 12 at Washington Hospital Center of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Mrs. Leach, who lived in Cheverly, was born in Scranton, Pa., and moved to this area in the 1940s.

She was a former president and editor of the newsletter of the Cheverly Garden Club. She did flower arranging and helped with altar displays at Cheverly United Methodist Church, where she was a member. She also designed and made floral gift items sold at the Prince George's Hospital Center gift shop, where she did volunteer work.

Mrs. Leach was a volunteer with the National Symphony Orchestra.

Her husband, Howard A. Leach, died in 1978.

There are no immediate survivors.