Robert H. White


Robert H. White, 88, a Montgomery County businessman who owned and operated L.H. White & Son Inc. in Norbeck, died of congestive heart failure Oct. 4 at Montgomery General Hospital.

Mr. White was a lifelong Norbeck resident who attended Rockville High School. After high school, he began his career in the family business, which was founded by his father, Laurence W. White.

When he joined the operation, it included a blacksmith and wheelwright shop and later the selling of DeSoto automobiles, hardware, feed and farm supplies. In 1941, Robert White became a partner in the business. He took over the operation when his father retired in 1950.

By then the blacksmith and wheelwright operations and the DeSoto auto sales had been discontinued.

Since 1935, the business had sold John Deere farm machinery. In 1971, Robert White's son, Lawrence, became a partner in the operation.

In recent years, as farms in Montgomery gave way to residential housing developments, the John Deere line of farm machinery was supplanted by lawn and garden equipment. Mr. White remained active in the business until his death.

He was a member of Oakdale Emory United Methodist Church in Olney and a former director of Sandy Spring National Bank.

Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Hilda P. White of Norbeck; two children, Roberta W. Vrtacnik of Wheaton and Lawrence P. White of Norbeck; three sisters, Margaret Kramer of Springfield, Mary Merry of Arlington and Pauline McManamay of Front Royal, Va.; two grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Martha Morales Sebera

Association Employee

Martha Morales Sebera, 66, who worked at professional associations specializing in artistic matters, died Oct. 5 at Corsica Hills Nursing Home in Centreville, Md., of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative ailment known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Mrs. Sebera was executive secretary of the American Institute for the Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works in the District from 1975 to 1985. She then became associate director of the American Intellectual Property Law Association in Arlington until her retirement in 1996.

At both organizations, she oversaw personnel issues, publications and several annual meetings.

Mrs. Sebera was born in Clifton, N.J. She lived in Potomac from 1966 to 1991, and then in the District until moving to Chestertown, Md., last year. She went into the nursing home in April.

During the early 1970s, Mrs. Sebera was a docent at the National Portrait Gallery. She graduated in 1975 from George Washington University with a bachelor's degree in art history.

She was a member of St. Peter's Catholic Church in the District.

Her marriage of 38 years to George Morales ended in divorce in 1991.

A son from that marriage, Kevin Morales, died last year.

Mrs. Sebera is survived by her husband of the past 1 1/2 years, Donald Sebera, of Chestertown; two sons from her first marriage, Chris Morales of Beltsville and Jeffrey Morales of Chicago; a daughter from her first marriage, Maureen Taft-Morales of Takoma Park; her mother, Betty Rivers of Clifton; seven grandchildren; and two sisters.

Virginia Mae Hammond

Educator and Clerk

Virginia Mae Hammond, 86, a retired educator and government clerk, died of cancer Sept. 28 at Providence Hospital.

Ms. Hammond, who lived in Washington, was born in Cheraw, S.C. She graduated from South Carolina's Morris College. As a young woman, she was a teacher and school principal in Chesterfield County, S.C.

Later she was a clerical worker with the Veterans Administration and the Immigration and Naturalization Service in New York and Chicago.

In 1977, she retired and moved to Washington, where she was a member of Northeastern Presbyterian Church and the gospel choir at the Fort Lincoln senior citizens complex.

Her marriage to Henry Gibson ended in divorce.

Survivors include her sister, Dorothy Hammond Ellis of Wilson, N.C.; and a brother, James E. Hammond of Temple Hills.

Helen McGraw Chambers

Concert Pianist

Helen McGraw Chambers, 93, a concert pianist who won a prestigious competition in her youth and later gave music lessons to area students, died of cancer Sept. 18 at the Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg.

In 1930, the same year Mrs. Chambers graduated from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, she won the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation award for piano. The prize led to a New York debut at Town Hall, the performing center.

During the next few decades, she toured Europe and the southern United States.

She performed with such musicians as Jacques Gordon, the former first violinist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Kay Rickert, a former violinist with the National Symphony Orchestra and other groups.

Mrs. Chambers, a resident of Germantown until moving to the retirement center a few months ago, taught from home during the last half-century and played at such places as the National Gallery of Art, the Phillips Collection and the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington.

She retired from public performance in the late 1980s and from teaching during the last few years.

Mrs. Chambers was born in Takoma Park, grew up in the Washington area and studied piano, violin and voice. After Peabody and the Naumburg award, she took master classes with pianist Alfred Cortot at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris.

Besides classical music, Mrs. Chambers was fond of gardening.

She is survived by her husband since 1928, Robert Chambers of Gaithersburg, and two sisters.

Isabel Andrews Burgess

Safety Board Member

Isabel Andrews Burgess, 87, who served on the National Transportation Safety Board from 1969 to 1976, died Sept. 17 at a hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz. She had breast cancer.

Mrs. Burgess was born in Cleveland. She attended Case Western Reserve University and Mills College. In 1946, she moved to Arizona.

For 10 years, she was a Republican member of the Arizona State House of Representatives. She served two terms in the Arizona Senate. She was named to the National Transportation Safety Board by President Richard M. Nixon on the recommendation of Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.).

She lived in Washington until 1991, when she returned to Arizona.

Her husband, Richard Burgess, died in 1977.

Survivors include three children, Richard Burgess of Milwaukee, Susan B. Cordsen of Mount Vernon, Wash., and Thomas Burgess of Phoenix; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Ireita Geraldine Williams English

IBM Executive

Ireita Geraldine Williams English, 59, a former IBM executive, died of cardiac arrest Oct. 6 at Washington Adventist Hospital.

Mrs. English, who lived in Chevy Chase, was born in Birmingham. She graduated from Talladega College.

She was a professional staff administrator with IBM in Alabama, Wisconsin and Michigan before moving to Washington in 1985.

She was active in St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Washington and the Talladega College Alumni Association.

Survivors include her husband, Richard A. English, dean of the school of social work at Howard University, of Chevy Chase.

Edward J. Culkin


Edward J. Culkin, 44, a native Washingtonian and former resident of Alexandria who for the last 10 years had been a Realtor in the Boston area, died of myocardial depression Sept. 24 at Roger Williams Medical Center in Providence, R.I. He had liver disease and sepsis.

Mr. Culkin, who lived in Chelsea, Mass., graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Alexandria and attended Pace College in New York and Northeastern University.

He lived in New York for nine years before moving to the Boston area.

Survivors include his wife, Kara Culkin of Chelsea; his mother, Doris Culkin of Reston; two sisters, Katherine Culkin of Melrose, Mass., and Susan Freeman of Arlington; and a brother, Donald Culkin of Hamilton.