Ella L. Bryan

Store Manager

Ella L. Bryan, 82, who managed Morningside Dry Cleaning in Hillandale from about 1960 to 1974, died of cancer Dec. 29 at a daughter's home in Brookeville.

Mrs. Bryan, a lifelong Silver Spring resident, attended Sherwood High School in Sandy Spring.

Her hobbies included gardening, playing cards and bingo. Her husband, James Edward Bryan, died in 1989.

Survivors include two daughters, Ardell Howes of Brookeville and Delores Santini of Ashton; a sister, Annie Leishear of Silver Spring; a brother, James Herbert Johnson Jr. of Clearwater, Fla.; six grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.

Samuel A. Schechter


Samuel A. Schechter, 80, who practiced dentistry in Silver Spring for 39 years before retiring to Tucson in 1997, died of cancer Dec. 30 at his home in Tucson.

Dr. Schechter was a native of Philadelphia. He served with the Army in Europe during World War II and took part in the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, he graduated from Temple University dental school and came to Washington.

He was a member of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington.

Survivors include his wife of 48 years, Minnie Schechter of Tucson; three children, Neil Schechter of Baltimore, Randi Shakin of Rockville and Sherri Feinstein of Chicago; and six grandchildren.

Martin Gula

Government Worker

Martin Gula, 83, a government children's residential group care specialist for 28 years before retiring in 1977 from the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, died Dec. 11 at a nursing home in Jupiter, Fla. He had Alzheimer's disease.

Mr. Gula, a former District resident, moved from New Market, Md., to Jupiter, where he had lived since October 1999.

A graduate of the City College of New York, he received a master's degree in education from New York University and a master's degree in social work from Columbia University. Before coming to Washington and beginning his government career, he had done social work in his native New York and had been a college professor in Chicago.

Survivors include his wife, Patricia Peace Gula of Jupiter; a daughter, Kasha Gula of Gloucester, Mass.; a son, Steven Gunlock of New Hampshire; and three grandchildren.

Eileen D. Atkinson

Interior Decorator

Eileen Damon Atkinson, 85, who ran an interior decorating business from her home in McLean from the late 1960s to about 1990, died of cardiac arrest Dec. 29 at her home in Sterling. She had moved from McLean to Sterling in 1997.

Mrs. Atkinson, who was born in Cranford, N.J., came to the Washington area in the 1930s and attended the National Park Seminary.

In 1936, she married Kenneth Biddle Atkinson, who was a retired foreign service officer when he died in 1991.

Mrs. Atkinson had accompanied him to posts in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

She was a golfer and a member of the Kenwood Golf and Country Club. She also had belonged to St. John's Episcopal Church in McLean, the McLean Garden Club, the Candlelight Waltzes Dance Club and DACOR (Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired).

Survivors include two sons, David, of La Paz, Bolivia, and Richard, of Santa Barbara, Calif.; a daughter, Lynn Smolen of Akron, Ohio; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Joseph W. O'Connor Sr.

NASA Engineer

Joseph W. O'Connor Sr., 73, an aerospace engineer who worked for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for 35 years before retiring in 1988, died of congestive heart failure Dec. 30 at his home in Silver Spring.

During his years with NASA, he was involved in such projects as the Hubble Space Telescope.

In the 1960s, Mr. O'Connor invented a right-angle screwdriver for use by NASA.

From 1988 until May 1999, he was an aeronautical engineer with Swales Aerospace Co. in Beltsville.

Mr. O'Connor, who settled in the Washington area in 1951, was born in Worcester, Mass.

He served with the Navy in the Mediterranean during World War II and was a graduate of George Washington University.

He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

His hobbies included golf, travel and growing tomatoes.

Survivors include his wife of 49 years, Angela, of Silver Spring; a son, Joseph Jr., of Laurel; two daughters, Theresa O'Connor of King George, Va., and Mary Ann Behme of Silver Spring; and a grandson.