Robert L. Grimm


Robert L. Grimm, 84, a businessman whose main venture was a wholesale importing company of fine hand-painted porcelains from Hungary, died of pneumonia Oct. 24 at Reston Hospital. He also had Alzheimer's disease.

Mr. Grimm was the proprietor of Martin's Herend Imports for about 30 years until retiring in 1997. He had other, smaller businesses during that time and was a self-employed real estate broker in Northern Virginia.

He was born in Iowa and raised in Washington, where he was an amateur boxer and Golden Gloves champion in his youth. He graduated from the old Business High School in Washington and from Columbia University with a degree in accounting.

He worked for a charity organization in the 1930s and served in the Navy during World War II.

In 1956, Mr. Grimm and his wife, Lois, became owners of Martin's of Georgetown, a upscale retailer of porcelains, crystal and silver. They sold the store a few years later and started the import company.

He enjoyed golfing and fishing, and he was a member of the Washington Golf and Country Club in Arlington.

In addition to his wife, of Reston, survivors include two children, Dianne Murphy of Leesburg and Leonard Grimm of Reston; four grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Walter Francis Skees

Army Vocalist

Walter Francis Skees, 64, an Army vocalist who entertained at the White House during seven administrations and who performed before 1.4 million people on the Mall during the Bicentennial July 4 celebration, died of a heart attack Oct. 23 at his second home, in Carmel, Calif. He moved to Atherton, Calif., from Northern Virginia after he retired in 1983.

His retirement as a sergeant major was marked by a ceremony and parade that was televised nationally. The Providence, R.I., native had been singing for the Army for 28 years, after being drafted in the 1950s. He had been singing in nightclubs in Europe for several years after graduating from high school.

After winning an all-Army entertainment contest, Mr. Skees was named top vocalist with the Army band in 1956, and went on to tour Army installations all over the world. As chief vocalist with the Army band, he was following in the footsteps of singers such as Eddie Fisher and Steve Lawrence.

Mr. Skees was the official singer for White House functions, Christmas tree lightings, State Department ceremonies and other occasions here and abroad, performing before hundreds of heads of state. In all, his assignments took him to 38 countries.

He also appeared on the television shows of Bob Hope, Steve Allen, Mike Douglas, Dinah Shore, Merv Griffin and Arthur Godfrey. He sang in 224 performances at Radio City Music Hall and recorded three albums, including "A Little Tenderness" with guitarist Charlie Byrd. After he retired, he was a cruise director for Holland America.

His honors included two Meritorious Service Medals.

His marriage to June Skees ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 13 years, Patricia Friend Skees of Atherton and Carmel; five children from his first marriage, Walter Skees Jr. of San Francisco, Melanie Harrison of Fairfax Station, Laurie Kightlinger of Purcellville, Christopher Skees of Campbell, Calif., and Kelly Katz of Elk Grove, Calif.; three stepchildren, Sherry O'Donnell of San Francisco, Mark Balestra of Atherton and Katie Walter of Tiberon, Calif.; and 13 grandchildren.

Ann G. Kennedy


Ann G. Kennedy, 81, an Agency for International Development counselor to foreign students studying in the United States, died of leukemia Oct. 12 at a hospital in Palmerton, Pa. A resident of Washington, she had been staying with her sister during her illness.

Mrs. Kennedy was born in Osage, Iowa. She graduated from Grinnell College in Iowa and received a master's degree in counseling at the University of Pittsburgh. She worked as a counselor there later. During World War II and the Korean War, she was a counselor for the Red Cross.

In the 1950s, she settled in Washington and joined the staff of the Agency for International Development. She retired in 1985 after 30 years' service.

Her marriage to Thomas Kennedy ended in divorce.

Survivors include her sister, Dr. E. Jane Goplerud of Palmerton; and two brothers, Harald P. Goplerud of Mason City, Iowa, and Dr. Clifford P. Goplerud of Iowa City.

William D. Zarecor

Computer Executive, Consultant

William D. Zarecor, 69, who was a pioneer in the design and marketing of large-scale computing systems and who in recent years was a consultant helping newly formed companies develop business strategies, died of cancer Oct. 21 at his home in Warrenton.

Mr. Zarecor, who had lived in the Washington area since 1987, was born in Wauneta, Neb. After serving in the Air Force during the Korean War, he graduated from the University of Colorado and received a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Michigan.

Early in his career, he worked in Salt Lake City and Phoenix for computer industry leaders IBM Corp. and General Electric Corp. He held a variety of technical marketing and management-level positions. Among the things he did in those positions were product planning for General Electric's worldwide computer efforts and design work for missile tracking systems.

In 1981, after a few years of working as an executive at smaller high-tech firms and gaining a reputation as a successful troubleshooter, he joined Intergraph Corp., a computer graphics company based in Huntsville, Ala., and served as its vice president of European operations. He retired in 1986 but rejoined the company a year later to head its federal systems division.

He retired again from Intergraph in 1989 and pursued a career as a consultant, mainly offering advice to software companies interested in venture capital strategies. He also had a brief stint as chief executive officer of Infinitron Inc., a Vancouver-based producer of image compression software.

Survivors include his wife of 30 years, Johnnie L. Zarecor of Warrenton; three children, John Zarecor and Deborah Zarecor, both of Phoenix, and Shannon Province of Waco, Tex.; eight brothers; and four sisters.

Marcia Amanuel Stern


Marcia Amanuel Stern, 79, a past chairman of the American Heart Association in Montgomery County and a volunteer in several other service organizations, died of heart ailments Oct. 25 at Suburban Hospital.

Mrs. Stern, a resident of Bethesda, was born in Washington. She graduated from Roosevelt High School and Strayer College. During World War II, she worked in the procurement office of the Navy Department.

Among the groups in which Mrs. Stern was active were the Jewish Social Service Agency and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. She also was a member of the Women's Suburban Democratic Club and she participated in numerous political campaigns.

Survivors include her husband of 52 years, Saul I. Stern of Bethesda; a son, Stephen R. Stern of Washington; a brother, Sidney Amanuel of Bowie; and one granddaughter.

Walter Scholl Johnson


Walter Scholl Johnson, 72, a public affairs officer and lobbyist for the telephone company who retired in 1988 as director of federal relations for the Washington office of Bell Atlantic, died Oct. 8. He was playing in a charity golf tournament at the Herndon Golf Course when he was stricken with an aortic aneurysm.

Mr. Johnson, who lived in Bethesda, was born in Angier, N.C. During World War II, he served in the Navy in the Pacific. He graduated from the University of North Carolina.

In 1949, he moved to the Washington area, and he worked briefly for the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the FBI before he began his telephone company career in 1952.

He was active in Republican Party politics and was a member of the Wood Acres Citizens Association, the Washington Board of Trade, the Kenwood Country Club and the Montgomery County Personnel Board.

His marriage to Elizabeth Campbell ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 37 years, Ann Johnson of Bethesda; a son from his first marriage, Walter Howard Johnson of Dallas; two children from his second marriage, Richard Scholl Johnson of Potomac Falls, Va., and Katherine Johnson Greco of Southborough, Mass.; and five grandchildren.

Dora Jane Surber

Hospital Clerk

Dora Jane Surber, 83, a records clerk who retired from D.C. General Hospital in 1978 after 20 years' service, died of heart disease Oct. 15 at Prince George's Hospital Center.

Mrs. Surber was born in Seven Mile Ford, Va. In 1939, she moved to the Washington area.

She worked at the War Department and then the Woodward & Lothrop downtown store before joining the staff of D.C. General Hospital, where she was responsible for completing birth certificates.

Mrs. Surber was a member of Capitol Hill United Methodist Church and had done volunteer work in schools and nursing homes.

She supported an adopted child in Senegal.

She had lived on Capitol Hill and in Oxon Hill and Temple Hills. At her death, she was a resident of the Woodward Estates assisted living facility in Bowie.

Her husband of 51 years, William Lee Surber, died in 1985.

Survivors include a daughter, Sandra Smith of Greenbelt.

John M. Rains

Quality Inspector, Police Clerk

John M. Rains, 79, a quality control inspector of punch cards who retired in the 1960s from IBM Corp. and then was a clerk for the Anne Arundel County police, died of congestive heart failure Oct. 14 at Anne Arundel Medical Center. He lived in Davidsonville.

Mr. Rains was born in Rainswood, Va., and raised in Washington, where he attended McKinley Technical High School. He served in the Army in Europe during World War II and received a Purple Heart.

Mr. Rains was a boxer as a youth and raced motorcycles professionally.

His marriage to Eva Cox ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife, Dolores Rains of Davidsonville; two sons from his first marriage, Mike Rains of Davidsonville and Jack Rains of Leesburg; a stepson, Francis Cohill of Denton, Md.; a brother, William Rains of Hyattsville; three grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Anne B. Allen Harris

Business Manager

Anne B. Allen Harris, 95, who was business manager for the photographic firm of her first husband, Edward M. Allen, died of a stroke Oct. 21 at Arlington Hospital. She lived in the Sunrise facility in Falls Church.

Mrs. Harris was born in Saskatchewan and raised in St. Paul, Minn. She was superintendent of the Arlington Apartments in addition to working in the photo business. After her first husband died in 1960, she sold the business.

Her second husband, Wesley G. Harris, died in 1982.

Survivors include two sons from her first marriage, Edward M. Allen Jr. of Buffalo Junction, Va., and Scott Allen of Hawaii; a stepdaughter, Joanne Harris of Falls Church; a brother; four sisters; five grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Janet L. Fitzwater

NIH Nursing Chief

Janet L. Fitzwater, 79, retired chief of surgical nursing services at the Clinical Center of the National Institutes of Health, died of Alzheimer's disease Oct. 24 at a health care center in Richmond. She moved there from Chevy Chase in March.

Ms. Fitzwater worked at NIH for 18 years, and served as a captain in the Public Health Service. She held patents for surgical devices and contributed to nursing and hospital journals.

After she retired, she was director of the Washington Home for a year and taught nursing at Catholic University and Montgomery College.

Ms. Fitzwater was a native of Elkton, Va. She was a graduate of Providence Hospital nursing school and Catholic University, where she also received a master's degree in nursing service administration.

She began her career in 1941 as a visiting nurse in Harrisonburg, Va. She worked at Providence, Doctors, Garfield and Emergency hospitals before joining the NIH staff in 1953.

Her interests included tennis and golf. She was a member of Brooke Manor Country Club and Kenwood Golf and Country Club.

Survivors include two sisters and a brother.