Myrtle Gladys Brickman
Hemlock Society Officer
Myrtle Gladys Brickman, 85, a former Washington area stockbroker who became active in the Hemlock Society, died of abdominal cancer July 3 at her home in Pompano Beach, Fla.
An advocate for many social causes, including planned parenthood, drug reform and abortion rights, Mrs. Brickman got involved with the Hemlock Society after seeing relatives suffer with long-term illnesses. Now known officially as End-of-Life Choices, the Hemlock Society "advocates for the right of terminally ill, competent adults to hasten death under careful safeguards," according to the organization's Web site.
In Florida, Mrs. Brickman was editor of the state organization's publication, "The Beacon," and served as treasurer and board member at the national level.
She also was an inveterate writer of letters to the editor concerning issues about which she felt intensely.
"Making it legal for physicians to assist a dying person who requests it does one thing and one thing only -- it gives the physician an option," she wrote to The Washington Post in 1999. "What is so complicated about that? All of the ambiguity the patient, the family and the physician feel, all of the suffering that accompanies the decision, would still take place. The only difference is that the physician would not fear imprisonment."
In the Miami Herald in 1997, she wrote: "The prohibition of medical marijuana is the stupidest thing since the Spanish Inquisition."
Mrs. Brickman was born in Atlantic City, and in 1936 moved to the District to take a job with the Department of Commerce. A graduate of George Washington University, she also received a master's degree in economics from American University.
After World War II, Mrs. Brickman left government service to begin a career as a stockbroker. She worked for various brokerage firms in the Washington area, retiring from what was then the Dean Witter firm on K Street NW in 1984. She was a longtime resident of Alexandria and Herndon before moving to Florida in 1994.
Mrs. Brickman also was a tournament-level scrabble player.
Her marriage to Sidney Levenstein ended in divorce.
Survivors include her husband, Harry Brickman, whom she married in 1947, of Pompano Beach; a brother, Allen Singer of Potomac; and two sisters Claire Shinderman of Pompano Beach and Gloria Schwartz of Bethesda.
David Charlson Holmes
Navy Captain, Author
David Charlson Holmes, 84, a retired Navy captain who wrote fiction and nonfiction books, died June 26 at Respite Home on South Haven, a care facility in Annapolis. He had suffered strokes.
Capt. Holmes, a native of Spokane, Wash., served in the Navy from 1942 to 1972. After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy, he served on destroyer-mine sweepers in the Pacific during World War II.
He became a naval aviator in 1947 and later was part of a hurricane-hunter squadron. His specialty became guided missile systems. His final active duty assignment was at the Washington Navy Yard.
In the 1970s and 1980s, he did consulting work for the Naval Research Lab on the global positioning satellite program.
He wrote 12 books, sometimes under the pseudonym David Charlson. His titles included "Young People's Book of Radar" (1951), "On the Wings of the Wind" (1955), "The Velvet Ape" (1957), "The Story of Weather" (1963) and "The Search for Life on Other Worlds" (1966).
His memberships included Mystery Writers of America and the American Philosophical Society. He was a former president of Encore Broadcasting of Maryland.
At his death, he was a board member of Kernco Inc., which makes precision-timing devices.
A daughter, Maude Holmes, died in infancy in the late 1940s.
Survivors include his wife of 60 years, Virginia Romar "Squidge" Holmes of Annapolis; two children, retired Air Force Maj. David C. Holmes Jr. of Fayetteville, W.Va., and retired Army Lt. Col. Dian Moulin of Annapolis; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Louise K. Miller
Retired Crossing Guard
Louise K. Miller, 87, who was one of the original crossing guards hired by Prince George's County in 1954, died of pneumonia June 25 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring. She lived at Rossmoor Leisure World in Silver Spring.
Mrs. Miller worked mostly at the old Parkway Elementary School in West Hyattsville before retiring in 1984.
She was born in rural Amherst County, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, and moved to Washington in 1935. She was a member of Petworth Baptist Church in Washington and Trinity Baptist Church in Hyattsville.
Her marriage to Marvin C. Miller ended in divorce.
Survivors include three children, Sandra K. Richards of Potomac, Charles B. Miller of Vero Beach, Fla., and Gary L. Miller of Fairfax; 12 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren.
William F. Watkins
Organist, Choir Director
William F. Watkins, 82, organist and choir director emeritus at Georgetown Presbyterian Church in Washington, died of acute respiratory failure June 17 at Washington Hospice.
Mr. Watkins, a District resident, helped lead Georgetown Presbyterian's music program from 1956 until his retirement in 1996. During his tenure, he became a well-known organ teacher, gave recitals at prestigious churches in several cities and performed at the annual convention of the American Guild of Organists.
He was a native of Danville, Va., and an Army veteran of World War II. He studied under noted organist Virgil Fox at the Peabody Conservatory, now part of Johns Hopkins University. He graduated from the conservatory with an artist's diploma in 1949.
By then he had already been living in Washington and working as an organist at Congregational and New York Avenue Presbyterian churches.
Survivors include a brother.
Leon Mitchell 'Mac' McCrory
Leon Mitchell "Mac" McCrory, 80, a former concrete superintendent for Washington area construction companies, died of cancer June 24 at a Department Veterans Affairs nursing home in Scarborough, Maine.
Mr. McCrory was born in Salem, Mass. He served in the merchant marine during and after World War II and moved to Washington in 1956, eventually settling in the Greenbelt area. He worked for about five construction firms, including the John Wilkes Construction Co. and Dobson Construction.
In 1980, he moved to Old Orchard Beach, Maine, and did similar work there until his retirement in 1994.
Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Sandra Faye McCrory of Old Orchard Beach; three children, Alan McCrory of Huntingtown, Michael McCrory of Biddeford, Maine, and Sharon Weeman of Kennebunk, Maine; and nine grandchildren.
Agnes Bradley 'Aggie' Thomas
Agnes Bradley "Aggie" Thomas, 90, a former Bethesda resident who for more than 25 years did volunteer work for the Democratic Party in Montgomery County, died July 4 at a nursing home in Charles Town, W.Va. She had Alzheimer's disease.
Mrs. Thomas was born in Elizabeth, N.J. In 1941, she moved to the Washington area, working as a Navy Department civilian during World War II. She was an assistant to a photographer -- who soon became her husband -- at the David Taylor Model Basin in Carderock.
Her memberships included the League of Women Voters, the Democratic Women's Club, the Canoe Cruisers Association and the Potomac Valley Ceramics Club, a group she helped start. She played poker and bridge.
In 1975, Mrs. Thomas moved to Shannondale, W.Va., which remained her residence.
Her husband, Andrew J. Thomas, whom she married in 1944, died in 1977.
Survivors include three children, Sue Collins of Takoma Park, Pete Thomas of Sharpsburg, Md., and Allen Thomas of Shepherdstown, W.Va.; two sisters; and three grandchildren.
Holocaust Survivor, Shop Owner
Stephan Shiffers, 94, a Holocaust survivor who owned and managed three children's clothing stores in the Washington area, died of cancer June 30 at his daughter's home in Long Grove, Ill.
Mr. Shiffers, who was born and educated in Vienna, Austria, graduated from the University of Vienna and worked for the Merchants' Association in Vienna. He was later arrested and imprisoned at Dachau concentration camp for about two months. After his release, he immigrated to this country through England in 1939 and settled in Washington.
For the next 17 years, he worked and then managed the health club at the Ambassador Hotel. When his wife, Lisa Shiffers, died in 1956, he took over the Bo Peep Shops, a chain of children's clothing stores she had started in Arlington in 1946.
Mr. Shiffers, who lived in the District, retired in 1980.
Survivors include two daughters, Eva J. Gurin of Long Grove, Ill., and Judith Shiffers of Silver Spring; six grandsons; and seven great-grandchildren.