Donald C. Comlish
Airline Industry Executive
Donald C. Comlish, 68, the retired vice president for international affairs of the Air Transport Association, died Sept. 2 at his home in Chesapeake Beach. He had cardiovascular disease.
Mr. Comlish worked for the ATA for 22 years, serving as chief representative of the scheduled airline industry in the negotiation of the international agreements between the United States and foreign countries that provide the legal and operational basis for international airline flights.
His work on behalf of U.S. airlines resulted in the 1977 Bermuda II aviation agreement, which liberalized air travel between the United States and Britain.
Mr. Comlish also contributed to the U.S.-China aviation accords that provided for post-World War II resumption of direct air service between the two countries. He participated in the negotiation of aviation agreements with France, Germany, Japan, Thailand and many other countries during his career.
Mr. Comlish's "expertise in international aviation affairs contributed greatly to our ability to achieve valuable economic opportunities both for the U.S. airline industry and for the traveling public," Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said in a statement. "Don had the admirable talent of being able to pursue the interests of his organization without ever losing sight of the broader interests of the public."
Born in Stratford, Conn., Mr. Comlish enlisted in the Navy after high school. He attended the Navy School of Music in Washington and played with the Navy Band.
He graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 1961 and received a law degree from Catholic University's Columbia School of Law in 1965. He was a law clerk for the firm Spencer & Whalen and the Civil Aeronautics Board before joining the ATA. After leaving the ATA in the mid-1990s, he was a consultant to the airline industry until his retirement in 1999.
Shortly before he retired, he picked up his saxophone and clarinet again and began playing in the Montgomery Village Community Band and the Virginia Grand Military Band.
He was also a member of the International Aviation Club.
Survivors include his wife of 42 years, Carol Comlish of Chesapeake Beach; six children, Jeannie Bernadette Comlish of Rockville, Michael Joseph Comlish and Gregory Paul Comlish, both of New York, Matthew John Comlish and Paul Damien Comlish, both of Potomac, Mary Christina "Chrissy" Comlish of Los Angeles; and a grandson.
Helen May Hedin Rush
Teacher, Floral Designer
Helen May Hedin Rush, 82, a teacher and floral designer, died of pneumonia and congestive heart failure Aug. 26 at Virginia Hospital Center-Arlington.
Mrs. Rush was born in Eston, Saskatchewan, Canada, the daughter of a wheat farmer, and was a U.S. citizen from birth because her parents were Americans. The family moved to Sauk Centre, Minn., about 1930. She graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1944, with a degree in fine arts, and was a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority. While at the university, she married Philip J. Rush, who later became a Navy officer and Westinghouse engineer.
Mrs. Rush taught grammar school in Maryland in the late 1940s. She followed her husband to many of his overseas postings and headed a large kindergarten for the children of U.S. military personnel at Lajes Field in the Azores. From 1960 to 1965, she taught English and history at the Middle School in Middletown, R.I.
She also worked for the Guide Service of Washington, conducting tours for visitors.
She was a resident of Arlington County for more than 38 years, and from 1979 to 2001 was proprietor of Helen Rush Designs, which provided floral arrangements for customers. Her special interests also included interior designing, furniture refinishing and gardening.
Mrs. Rush was active with Navy wives' organizations and was former president of the Rock Spring Garden Club of Arlington and the Neighbors' Club of Arlington. She was a member of the Northern Virginia Alliance League, a charitable club, and Cherrydale United Methodist Church in Arlington.
Survivors include her husband of 61 years, retired Navy Capt. Philip J. Rush; two daughters, Susan E. Rush of Mobile, Ala., and Karen Jo "Kari" Rush of Arlington; and a brother.
Louis Robertson, 99, a former Chevy Chase resident who was a patent lawyer in the Chicago area, died of congestive heart failure Aug. 28 at Sun Terrace Healthcare Center in Sun City Center, Fla.
Mr. Robertson was born in Chevy Chase, the son of Thomas E. Robertson, the U.S. Commissioner of Patents from 1921 to 1933, and Mary B. Robertson, a former president of the Florence Crittenton Home.
He spent one year at the old Central High School in the District and graduated in 1923 from Western High School, where he played football and ran track.
Mr. Robertson graduated from the University of Michigan and from the George Washington University law school in 1930.
In 1931, he moved to Chicago to become an associate and later partner in several patent-law firms there and in Arlington Heights, Ill. In 1977, he retired from Darbo, Robertson & Vandenburgh and moved to Sun City Center.
In the mid-1940s, he was awarded first prize in the annual Linthicum Foundation competition for a treatise on U.S. trademark law.
His wife of 57 years, Margaret Mogk Robertson, died in 1991.
Survivors include his companion, Mary Pape of Sun City; a son, Bruce Robertson of Denmark, Wis.; four grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren.
Madelon D. Butler
NIH Contracting Technician
Madelon D. Butler, 54, a contracting technician at the NIH's National Cancer Institute, died Sept. 15 of breast cancer at home in Olney.
Mrs. Butler worked at the National Institutes of Health for three years, until about a month ago. Her duties included researching contracts.
She was born in Washington and grew up in Hyattsville, where she graduated from Regina High School. She received a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Maryland.
After raising her family, she taught elementary and special education students as a substitute teacher in Montgomery County public schools for 10 years. Then she changed careers and joined the National Cancer Institute.
She was a member of St. Peter's Catholic Church in Olney, and she coached girls' softball at St. Peter's Catholic School for many years.
Her daughter, Michelle Ann Butler, died in 1995.
Survivors include her husband of 30 years, John J. Butler of Olney; two children, James Martin Butler and Matthew Joseph Butler, both of Olney; her parents, Isabel and Martin Drain of Hyattsville; two sisters, Mercedes Kearney and Peggy Lawrence, of Boston; and a brother, Marty Drain of Clarksville.
Louis R. Stockstill
Louis R. Stockstill, 83, former editor of Armed Forces Journal whose 1969 story about missing and captured servicemen during the Vietnam War was credited with igniting national concern, died of lung cancer Sept. 14 at his home in Indialantic, Fla.
Mr. Stockstill was a writer and editor at Air Force Journal for more than 21 years. However, it was after he left the magazine and became a freelance writer that his most celebrated article appeared.
"The Forgotten Americans of the Vietnam War" appeared first as the cover story in the October 1969 issue of Air Force Journal and was reprinted the next month in Readers Digest. Air Force Journal editors said it "stirred the conscience of the nation and rallied millions to the cause of the POWs and MIAs."
In 1970, he was awarded the Air Force Association's Gill Robb Wilson Trophy for the article, and served as an adviser and director of public relations for the National League of POW/MIA Families.
Mr. Stockstill was born in Galena, Mo., and raised in Bartlesville, Okla. He served with the 10th Armored Division in Europe during World War II and was awarded the Bronze Star. He also wrote feature articles for the division newspaper and Armored Force News.
After the war, he enrolled at George Washington University and became a part-time reporter for what was then known as the Army Navy Journal. After his 1951 graduation, he worked full time for the publication, rising to congressional editor and then editor in 1965.
He also created and taught a course on national news reporting at GWU from 1957 to 1960.
In 1968, he left the Air Force Journal to embark on a freelance career. Mr. Stockstill, formerly of Washington, worked until 1975, then retired to Florida.
Survivors include his wife, Oneta Lilly Stockstill of Indialantic, and a sister.
Justin H. Smith
Justin H. Smith, 74, a mechanical engineer, died of congestive heart failure Sept. 14 at Beebe Medical Center in Lewes, Del. He was a resident of Ocean View, Del.
Mr. Smith, a native Washingtonian, graduated from Wilson High School in 1952. He entered the Army, serving in Korea as a court reporter at the Panmunjom peace talks. After his discharge, he graduated in 1958 from Catholic University with a degree in mechanical engineering. He joined the National Institutes of Health's engineering division in Bethesda in 1960.
He served on two presidential energy-conservation task forces during the 1970s energy crises. He worked for NIH until retiring in 1987.
He served as a mechanical engineering consultant to the Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon in 1988 and 1989, then became a consultant for the NIH Division of Engineering Services. He moved to Delaware from Rockville four months ago.
Mr. Smith was a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers.
Survivors include his wife of 45 years, Kathleen Smith of Ocean View; two daughters, Celine Evans of Harrisburg, Pa., and Colleen Smith Thomas of Fairbanks, Alaska; and five grandchildren.
Austin B. Hogan, Jr.
Austin B. Hogan Jr., 73, a lobbyist, congressional aide and FAA employee, died of a heart attack Sept. 5 at his home in Arlington.
Mr. Hogan, a political and history buff who was known to read five newspapers a day, served for 30 years as president of the Democratic Issues Group, which promoted staff dialogue between Capitol Hill and the White House.
His employment kept him intimately involved in government, from his first job at the Civil Aeronautics Board through his last job at the Federal Aviation Administration.
Mr. Hogan was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and received a bachelor's degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1958. He was an Air Force pilot for the Strategic Air Command. He later attended Georgetown University Law School while working for the CAB.
Mr. Hogan was an administrative assistant and press secretary for Rep. Edward R. Roybal (D-Calif.) from 1963 to 1971. He then was a lobbyist for the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Health Systems from 1971 to 1983, before returning to government work, coordinating press relations for the House Select Committee on Aging until 1993.
He was a recreational small-aircraft pilot, and his lifelong interest in aviation culminated in his last job -- international aviation officer for the FAA, focusing on Caribbean airport safety and security. He retired in 1996.
A longtime member of the National Press Club, he helped coordinate guest speakers and facilitated diplomatic visits during numerous press club-sponsored international travel tours.
He was a volunteer logistics coordinator for NOAH (National Organization for the Advancement of Haitians Inc.) and a member of the Washington chapter of the Notre Dame Club.
His marriage to Margaret Murphy Hogan ended in divorce.
He is survived by three children, J. Patrick Hogan and Alice Hogan, both of Arlington, and Mary Hogan of Raleigh, N.C.; three brothers; a sister; and a grandson.
James 'Mac' McWhorter Jr.
James "Mac" McWhorter Jr., 80, who conducted research for the lightweight aggregate industry, died of cancer Sept. 4 at his home in Woodbridge.
Mr. McWhorter was director of research and quality control for Northeast Solite Corp. of Saugerties, N.Y., working part time from his home. In 1961, he joined the Solite Corp. of Virginia, which later became known as Northeast Solite Corp.
He was well-known on construction sites for his hands-on expertise. He played an integral role in the collection of technical data used today throughout the concrete-related industries. He continued to be active in this research until his death.
In his youth, Mr. McWhorter, who was born in Newnan, Ga., was an Eagle Scout. He attended the University of Kentucky. During World War II, he served with the Army Amphibious Engineers in the Pacific.
He worked with the Army Corp of Engineers in Mobile, Ala. He later helped in the construction of a Gaylite aggregate plant in Rockmart, Ga.
He was a lifetime member of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Survivors include his wife, Gwen Wilson of Woodbridge; a son, James Steven McWhorter of Woodbridge; two grandchildren; and one brother.
Katherine Frank Gayle
Service Group Member
Katherine Frank Gayle, 88, the wife of a retired Marine Corps brigadier general and an active member of service organizations at bases in this country and abroad, died of leukemia Sept. 13 at Sibley Memorial Hospital.
Mrs. Gayle, a resident of Washington, was born in St. Louis and raised in Dallas. She attended Southern Methodist University and graduated from the University of Texas, where she majored in design.
In June 1941, she married Gordon D. Gayle, then a newly commissioned lieutenant in the Marine Corps and later a brigadier general. She lived in Texas during the 21/2 years her husband served in the Pacific in World War II.
In their subsequent service life together, the Gayles were stationed at the Quantico Marine Base and in Washington many times. They also served at other bases in the United States and in Tokyo and London.
After her husband's retirement in 1968, they made their permanent home in Washington. They also had a winter residence in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and they traveled widely.
Wherever she went as a service wife, Mrs. Gayle was active in education and community work. She taught English to foreign students and volunteered with Head Start, the Navy Relief program and the Boy Scouts.
She enjoyed painting in oils and did drawings in pastels and sculpting in shells. She collected brass rubbings from old English churches.
In addition to her husband, of Washington, survivors include three children, Susan G. Needham Barnes of Callao, Va., Dr. Robert G. Gayle of Norfolk and Michael A. Gayle of Falls Church; nine grandchildren; and a great-grandson.
The Gayles' eldest son, David Donald Gayle, died in a climbing accident in 1971.
Sara Jane Rutherford
Wife of Congressman
Sara Jane Armstrong Rutherford, 77, a church deacon and the wife of a former Texas congressman, died Sept. 14 of leukemia at her home in Arlington.
She came to Washington in 1955 with her husband, Rep. J.T. Rutherford (D-Tex.), who was a member of the House of Representatives from 1955 to 1963. Mrs. Rutherford campaigned for her husband and for the 1960 presidential ticket of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. She was a close friend of Lady Bird Johnson's.
Mrs. Rutherford, who was born in Karnes City, Tex., attended the University of Texas and graduated from what is now Sul Ross University in Alpine, Tex.
She was a longtime member of Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church, serving as a deacon.
Survivors include her husband of 56 years, J.T. Rutherford of Arlington; two children, Ann Rutherford of Arlington and Charles Lane Rutherford of Denton, Tex.; and two grandchildren.
Walter N. 'Bill' Pryor
Walter N. "Bill" Pryor, 88, the retired owner and founder of Alexandria Heating, Air Conditioning and Roofing, died of cancer Sept. 15 at Hospice House in Forest City, N.C.
Mr. Pryor ran the Alexandria company for nearly 40 years, founding it about 1945 and retiring in 1983.
Mr. Pryor, who was born in Henderson County, N.C., moved to the Washington area as a young man and worked for a roofing company before starting his firm.
He helped found the Maranatha Baptist Church of Annandale and the St. Paul's Boys Club in Alexandria. He sponsored many youth athletic teams. He also was a founder and former president of the Edgewater Lions Service Club of Alexandria.
After retiring, he moved back to North Carolina, where he became a deacon in the Liberty Baptist Church of Ellenboro.
He was preceded in death by his first wife, Deloris B. Pryor in 1996; his second wife, Louise White Pryor, in 2000; his third wife, Ardith Moore Pryor in 2002; and his son, Richard N. Pryor, in 1995.
Survivors include his daughter from his first marriage, Linda Jean Pryor Pulman of Winston-Salem, N.C.; two sisters, Virginia Dare Pryor Coffman of Winston-Salem and Mary Jane Pryor Short of Rutherfordton, N.C.; and four brothers, Lawrence Pryor of Alexandria, Tom Pryor of Hendersonville, N.C., Floyd Pryor of Dana, N.C., and Harris Pryor of Maggie Valley, N.C.
Valentin J. Riva
Concrete Pavement Executive
Valentin J. Riva, 50, president and chief executive officer of the American Concrete Pavement Association, died of complications from heart surgery at Inova Fairfax Hospital. He was a resident of Rockville.
Mr. Riva, known as Val, was born in Havana and came with his family to the Washington area when he was 4. He received his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Maryland in 1976 and his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1984. He was a member of the District of Columbia and Pennsylvania bar associations.
He was an attorney with the National Association of Government Employees from 1982 to 1985 and associate director of the highway division for Associated General Contractors of America from 1985 to 1988. He also served as vice president for the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association from 1988 to 1991.
Prior to joining the American Concrete Pavement Association in 1997, he was general counsel and chief lobbyist for the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, where he received the association's Distinguished Service Award.
Mr. Riva, who was experienced in transportation, tax and environmental law, emphasized the importance of research and development. His efforts resulted in more than $40 million in research opportunities for the concrete paving industry.
Survivors include his wife of 28 years, Martha "Marti" Collier Riva of Rockville; three children, Clare, Michael and David Riva, also of Rockville; his parents, Valentin and Elvira Riva of Chevy Chase; and two sisters, Margarita Riva-Geoghegan of North Bethesda and Cristina Riva-Chevez of Silver Spring.