Wayne Allen Swedenburg

Foreign Service Official

Wayne Allen Swedenburg, 78, a Foreign Service employee who retired in 1980 as counselor of the embassy in Nigeria and then spent five years as a special State Department consultant on African affairs, died May 16 at his home in Middleburg. He had prostate cancer.

Mr. Swedenburg had lived in the Washington area since the mid-1960s. In the late 1970s, he bought a Middleburg property called Valley View Farm. In 1988, he and his family opened a commercial winery.

The winery, Swedenburg Estate Vineyard, is involved in a lawsuit before the U.S. Supreme Court about direct shipments of wine to out-of-state consumers. The dispute is between independent wineries, which want to sell wine over the phone or Internet, and established alcohol wholesalers in other states, who want to protect their markets.

Mr. Swedenburg preferred to leave much of the legal work and public speaking to his wife.

He was born in Salina, Kan., and was a U.S. Army Air Forces veteran of World War II.

In 1948, he joined the Foreign Service, doing security work. He initially was posted in Jerusalem during Israel's turbulent birth and was wounded by a bomb there during combat.

He later became an administrative officer, working at embassies in Asia during major political conflicts, including the Vietnam War.

In his final assignment, Nigeria, he was essentially the executive manager of the U.S. Embassy.

Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Juanita Nutt Swedenburg of Middleburg; a son, Marc Swedenburg of Fairfax; a sister; and a granddaughter.

Joan Loftus O'Brien

Archdiocese Official

Joan Loftus O'Brien, 72, director of the Office of Family Life for the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, died May 15 of cancer at the Hospice of Northern Virginia in Arlington.

She was born in Jersey City and graduated from the Medical Center School of Nursing in Jersey City. She came to the Washington area with her husband, who was in the military.

She held numerous nursing and teaching positions before returning to school in 1986. Mrs. O'Brien received her master's degree in theology at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg in 1989 and then completed a fellowship and received a licentiate in sacred theology at the John Paul II Institute of Marriage & Family from the Lateran University in Rome. She served as director of religious education at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Damascus, and finally director for the Office of Family Life at the Archdiocese of Washington.

Mrs. O'Brien was a member of St. Ann's Parish in Bethany Beach, Del., where she lived.

She is survived by her six children, Daniel O'Brien of Boonesboro, Md., Kathleen Lantz of Nederland, Colo., Anne Keeler of Salt Lake City, Sarah Vazquez of Arlington, Mary "Molly" Fraze of Lorton and Joan "Jinx" O'Brien of West Lafayette, Ind.; four brothers; and six grandchildren.

Nan Kirby Gressman


Nan Kirby Gressman, 85, a former Bethesda resident who exhibited her acrylic abstract paintings throughout the East Coast, including at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, died of multiple organ failure May 10 at a hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Mrs. Gressman lived in the Washington area from the early 1940s to 1977, when she moved to Chapel Hill. Early in her career, she taught at the National Cathedral School and gave concerts as a mezzo-soprano soloist.

She attended River Road Unitarian Church in Bethesda.

She was a St. Louis native and a graduate of the University of Michigan.

Survivors include her husband of 59 years, Eugene Gressman of Chapel Hill; four children, William Gressman of Bethesda, Eric Gressman of Miami and Nancy Ricketts and Margot Gressman, both of St. Petersburg, Fla.; and seven grandchildren.