John Howard Gano

Navy Captain

John Howard Gano, 81, a retired Navy captain who did internal security work for SWL Inc. in Tysons Corner from 1967 to 1988 and was a former president of Historic Fairfax Inc., died Jan. 19 at a nursing home in Hatboro, Pa. He had Alzheimer's disease and pneumonia.

Capt. Gano was in the Navy from the early 1940s to 1967, when he retired as commanding officer of the explosive ordnance disposal facility in Indian Head, Md.

He served in the Pacific during World War II and helped evacuate American nationals from Egypt during the Suez crisis of 1956.

As a board member and president of Historic Fairfax, he played a key role in creating the Fairfax Museum and Visitors Center in 1992. The museum contains historic documents and other holdings, such as period clothing.

"There is so much history here that [residents] don't know about and understand," he told The Washington Post. "What we're really looking for is the human interest in the things that happened . . . not just bald statistics."

He moved from Fairfax to Warrington, Pa., in 2001.

He was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in Mansfield, Ohio. He was a Class of 1943 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.

His marriage to Margaret Gano ended in divorce. A son from that marriage, Mike Gano, died in 1999.

Survivors include his wife of 38 years, Joan Romanchik Gano of Warrington; a son from his second marriage, David Gano of Warrington; and two grandchildren.

Bennie Mae Burdine Cherry

NIH Housekeeper

Bennie Mae Burdine Cherry, 65, who spent 30 years doing housekeeping work at the National Institutes of Health and retired in 1997, died of respiratory failure Jan. 16 at Northern Virginia Community Hospital.

Mrs. Cherry, a Washington resident, was a chef at the Chatterbar restaurant in Hyattsville in the 1950s and 1960s.

She was born in Shannon, Miss., and settled in the Washington area in 1953.

She was a member of St. John Baptist Church of Marshall Heights in Washington.

Her marriage to Alfred Brown ended in divorce.

Her husband, Robert Cherry, died in 1997. A son from her second marriage, Johnnie Cherry, died in 1990.

Survivors include a daughter from her first marriage, Shirley Brown of Washington; five children from her second marriage, Connie Rush of Hyattsville, Vicky Johnson of Bowie, Cynthia McCormick of Upper Marlboro, Brenda Marshall of Dale City and Roselyn Parker of Washington; three stepchildren, Robert Cherry Jr. of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Shirley Tucker and Le- dora Agnew, both of Tupelo, Miss.; a brother, John Burdine of Laurel; a half brother, Edward Kolheim of Upper Marlboro; two half sisters, Ruby Dean of St. Louis and Vera Yancey of Alexandria; 26 grandchildren; and 30 great-grandchildren.

Raymond N. Chase


Raymond Nathaniel Chase, 73, who worked for the Defense Mapping Agency from the 1960s to the mid-1990s and retired doing cartography work, died Jan. 18 at his home in Washington. He had emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr. Chase, a native Washingtonian, was a graduate of Armstrong High School and Shaw University in North Carolina. He received a master's degree in fine arts from Federal City College.

He served in the Army during the Korean War.

He did counseling work with D.C. juvenile delinquents before joining the Defense Mapping Agency.

After retiring, he was a substitute teacher in Washington schools.

His memberships included 12th Street Christian Church in Washington, Omega Psi Phi social fraternity and Phi Delta Kappa education fraternity. He did volunteer work with the Washington Very Special Arts program.

His marriage to Gertrude Mitchell Chase ended in divorce.

Survivors include two sisters, Vivian M. Chase of Washington and Jean C. Gregory of Toledo.

Charles M. Alvarez

Bank Official

Charles Michael Alvarez, 70, who worked for the Inter-American Development Bank from 1961 to 1987 and retired as editor and chief of publications, where his duties included putting out the annual report, died Jan. 18 at his home in Sarasota, Fla. He had Alzheimer's disease and pneumonia.

Mr. Alvarez was a U.S. citizen born in Chile and served in the Army as a translator from 1953 to 1954.

He settled in the Washington area after his service and was a reporter at the old Washington Evening Star from 1955 to 1956, a copy editor at U.S. News and World Report from 1956 to 1958 and a statistician at the Labor Department from 1958 to 1961.

He was a 1961 graduate of George Washington University, where he also received a master's degree in economics in 1964.

He moved from McLean to Sarasota in 1987.

Survivors include his wife of 47 years, Ilselore Rindle Alvarez of Sarasota; four children, Michael Alvarez of Ross, Calif., Nicole Siess of Gainesville, Mark Alvarez of Middleburg and Kristopher Alvarez of Purcellville; two brothers, George Alvarez of Sterling and Robert Alvarez of Richmond; and eight grandchildren.

Louis Simon Ulmer

Electrical Engineer

Louis Simon Ulmer, 95, an electrical engineer who retired from the Federal Power Commission in 1965, died of arteriosclerosis Dec. 29 at home in the Sunrise care center at Montgomery Village.

Mr. Ulmer, a longtime resident of Bethesda, was born in Ramsey County, N.D. As a young man, he worked for Northern Pacific Railroad, served in the Marine Corps and worked as a prison guard at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan. He received an associate degree at the State School of Science in Wahpeton, N.D., then worked for five years at the federal prison in Lewisburg, Pa. He received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at Bucknell University.

Later, he worked for General Electric in Massachusetts and New York, then in 1938 came to the Washington area as an examiner's assistant at the Patent Office. He joined the Federal Power Commission as a junior engineer in 1939. During World War II, he served in the Navy aboard the battleship Iowa, where he suffered hearing loss from the sound of a salvo being fired from the ship's 16-inch guns.

After the war he returned to the Power Comission, where he remained until retirement.

His wife of 50 years, Wilma Watkins Ulmer, died in 1998.

There are no immediate survivors.

Sadie Miller Neese

Hecht Co. Clerk

Sadie Miller Neese, 88, who did clerical work at the Hecht Co. from the mid-1950s to the 1960s and occasional house cleaning work in the 1960s and 1970s, died of cardiac arrest Jan. 6 at Washington Adventist Hospital.

Mrs. Neese, a Takoma Park resident, was born in Lexington, Va. She moved to the Washington area in 1947.

Her husband, Carl Neese, died in 1978. A son, Wilford Neese, died in 1996.

Survivors include a son, Wayne Neese of Niagara Falls, N.Y.; two granddaughters; and four great-grandchildren.