Elaine Toth

Club Member

Elaine Toth, 70, a homemaker who worked with the Alexandria Sunrise Optimist Club to raise funds for youths and community projects, died of a heart attack Sept. 17 at her home in Alexandria.

When her husband became involved with the Alexandria Optimist Club, Mrs. Toth participated in the club's Opti-Mrs. women's auxiliary. In the late 1980s, when Optimist International began to admit women, she joined the Alexandria club.

Mrs. Toth was born in Cleveland and attended Ohio University. Early in her career, she worked as a loan officer for the Shaker Savings Association in Cleveland. In 1961, she married and became the "consummate homemaker with special talent for interior decorating and landscape design," family members noted.

The family lived in Illinois and Pennsylvania before settling in Alexandria 20 years ago. While in Pennsylvania and Alexandria, Mrs. Toth advocated on behalf of mentally challenged children. In Pennsylvania, she organized a successful campaign to keep her daughter, Cindy, and her special education classmates in their neighborhood school rather than having them moved to a remote location.

In Alexandria, she helped organize and run the Sunday Fun Bunch Bowling League for Cindy and other students and graduates of area special education programs, such as the Pulley Vocational Center in Alexandria.

Mrs. Toth loved the outdoors, gardening and landscaping. She created rock gardens at each family home and often offered gardening advice to neighbors.

"Because she took such pride in the appearance and condition of her landscape creations and handiwork, wherever we lived, she became the principal enforcer of local leash and pooper-scooper statutes," said her husband, Stephen Toth. "Woe be it to any approaching dog and owner who did not possess the proper paraphernalia. They would incur her wrath."

In addition to her husband of 43 years, of Alexandria, survivors include three children, Cindy Toth of Alexandria, Scott Toth of Potsdam, N.Y., and Stephen Toth Jr. of Pomona, N.Y.; a sister; and five grandchildren.

James Lewis


James "Doug" Lewis, 75, who did contracting work at the Goddard Space Flight Center for about 15 years, died of lung cancer Sept. 19 at his home in Riverdale.

Mr. Lewis was born in Winston-Salem, N.C., and his family moved to Washington when he was 3. He attended schools in Washington.

After high school, he became a self-employed contractor building homes. He then worked mostly as a painter for a contractor at Goddard, retiring in 1992.

He coached girls' softball for the East Pines Boys Club in Riverdale.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Yolanda "Linda" Lewis of Riverdale; three daughters, Sue Burton of Owings, Diane Radspinner of Owings and Donna Baldwin of Apex, N.C.; a brother, Bill Lewis of Millersville; six grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Mary Ellen Miller

Legislative Assistant

Mary Ellen Miller, 77, a legislative assistant to three senators over a 26-year career, died of cancer Sept. 22 at Capital Hospice in Fairfax.

Miss Miller was known on the Hill for explaining complicated subjects in simple, declarative sentences. A generation of Senate staffers was guided -- some say intimidated -- by her insistence on clarity. This quality was highly prized by her employers, Democratic Sens. A.S. Mike Monroney of Oklahoma, Harold E. Hughes of Iowa and Adlai E. Stevenson III of Illinois, as was her devotion to sound public policy and rectitude.

In addition to her service on the senators' personal staffs, she spent interim periods as counsel to Hughes's subcommittee on alcoholism and narcotics and as executive secretary for his National Commission on Alcoholism and Other Alcohol Related Problems.

Miss Miller supervised legislative assistants and coordinated their attendance at committee hearings and floor debates; drafted speeches and correspondence; and participated in the development of policy on agriculture, the environment, natural resources, public lands, labor, education, regulatory reform and constitutional issues. While on the alcoholism subcommittee, she drafted the Drug Abuse Office and Treatment Act of 1972 and the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Education Act of 1974. She represented the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee at national and international conferences.

After retiring in 1980, she volunteered for 17 years with Peace Links, an organization dedicated to fostering world peace by establishing personal contacts across national borders.

Miss Miller was born in Newburyport, Mass., and earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She received a law degree from Georgetown University in 1972. Before she worked on the Hill, Miss Miller taught high school English in New Hampshire and served on active duty in the Navy Cryptology Office as a lieutenant junior grade.

Survivors include a sister.

Joseph S. Klein

Business Owner

Joseph S. Klein, 76, owner of the former Levitan's Menswear store in the District and the Gentry men's store in Potomac, died of complications from a stroke Sept. 22 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He was a resident of Chevy Chase.

Mr. Klein, a native Washingtonian, graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1946 and from George Washington University in 1950. He served in the Naval Reserve during college and marched in President Harry S. Truman's inaugural parade in 1949.

His maternal grandfather founded Levitan's in 1900 at 14th and Irving streets NW, and Mr. Klein's parents lived above the store until 1965. He grew up working at the store and after college returned to run it. Levitan's was among the businesses looted and burned out during the April 1968 riots in Washington.

Two years later, Mr. Klein started the Gentry in the Cabin John Shopping Center in Potomac. He operated it until his retirement in 1985.

He was vice president of the National Association of Men's Sportswear Buyers Inc. and a member of its board of directors and its foundation. He served as the organization's liaison to the Smithsonian Institution's costume collection and to the Textile Museum's collection.

For the past two years, Mr. Klein volunteered with the OASIS intergenerational tutoring program at Oakland Terrace Elementary School in Silver Spring.

Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Beverly C. Klein of Chevy Chase; four children, Michael I. Klein of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Steven L. Klein of Corvallis, Ore., Gary A. Klein of La Jolla, Calif., and Linda K. Congedo of Cooksville; and seven grandchildren.

Kenneth Allen Butts

Associate Budget Director

Kenneth Allen Butts, 64, an associate budget director for a medical association, died Sept. 13 of pancreatic cancer at his home in Silver Spring.

For the past 19 years, he was associate budget director of the American Academy of Otolaryngology -- Head and Neck Surgery in Alexandria. He came to the Washington area in 1984 and worked briefly with the National Council for the Social Studies and the American Anthropological Association before joining the otolaryngology academy.

Mr. Butts was born in Denver and attended Texas Christian University before graduating from the University of Colorado.

He was an administrative officer with the Earth Science Educational Program from 1964 to 1971. He was business manager of the Social Science Education Consortium from 1971 to 1982. In 1982 and 1983, he was chief accountant for the National Center for Atmospheric Research. All three positions were in Boulder, Colo.

He enjoyed skiing, mountain climbing, whitewater rafting and bowling. He played the French horn in high school and college musical groups.

His marriages to Jann Guernsey and Connie Butts ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife of 17 years, Sandra Gayle Butts of Silver Spring; two children from his first marriage, Kenneth A. Butts Jr. of Brighton, Mich., and Elizabeth Walden of Sneads, Fla.; two children from his second marriage, Floyd Butts of Firestone, Colo., and Joanne Stagner of Reno, Nev.; a stepdaughter, Maria Kinney of Silver Spring; one sister; and 10 grandchildren.

John McLaughlin

Navy Captain, Realtor

John McLaughlin, 86, a retired captain in the U.S. Navy, a real estate company vice president and a Realtor, died of ventricular arrhythmia Sept. 22 at Memorial Hospital in Easton, Md.

Capt. McLaughlin was a native of Baltimore and attended Loyola College, where he was a top player on its hockey team. He worked at Crown Cork and Seal Co. and Pan American Oil Co. from 1938 to 1941 before entering the Navy.

He was commissioned as an ensign upon graduation from the Naval Reserve Midshipmen's School at Northwestern University in 1941.

He participated in North Atlantic convoy operations, the North African campaign and seven campaigns in the Pacific. After World War II, he returned home and attended the Navy's General Line School in Newport, R.I.

Capt. McLaughlin was executive officer on the USS Beatty, navigator on the USS Iowa, commanding officer of the USS Wood, surface operations officer on the staff of the commander of Carrier Division IV aboard the USS Forrestal, and commanding officer of the USS Nantahala.

As commanding officer of the Wood, he was commended for saving lives in the town of Volos, Greece, during a series of earthquakes. During his command of the Nantahala, the ship was awarded the Battle Efficiency "E" for being the outstanding ship of its type in the Atlantic Fleet.

After a tour of duty at the Pentagon, Capt. McLaughlin retired in 1968 with 27 years of active service and started a career with Ryland Homes in Columbia and Houston. He became a vice president of the Ryland Group in 1972.

In 1976, Capt. McLaughlin retired to Easton, where he worked as a licensed Realtor with Walsh & Benson, now Benson & Mangold, from 1980 to 1988.

He was later an independent broker for several years.

Capt. McLaughlin was also active in the Navy League, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation, and was a past president of the Retired Officer Association of the Eastern Shore.

Capt. McLaughlin also was vice president and president of the Izaak Walton League of Talbot County and a board member of the YMCA, where he helped bring students participating in the YMCA National Exchange Program from Ireland to Easton. His more recent passions included fishing, gardening and genealogy.

Survivors include his wife of 57 years, Marjorie McLaughlin of Easton; four daughters, Patricia McLaughlin-Lentz of Westerly, R.I., Maureen Guignon of Fairfax, Shawn McLaughlin of Oxford, Md., and Mary Ellen Reutinger of Richmond; a brother, Dr. Joseph S. McLaughlin of Baltimore; and 10 grandchildren.

Elizabeth 'Bettie' Roos

Language Specialist

Elizabeth "Bettie" Briggs Roos, 85, a language specialist, died of lung disease Sept. 16 at her home in Bethesda.

Mrs. Roos was born in Minneapolis and graduated from the University of Minnesota. She moved to Washington in 1943 to work with the American Red Cross during World War II. After the war, she began a 20-year career with the Inter-American Defense Board.

She subsequently worked for the Pan American Health Organization and the World Bank and then the U.S. Information Agency, from which she retired in 1986. She was a co-owner of HOM Gallery in Bethesda for several years in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Her husband, Charles A. Roos, died in 1974.

Survivors include a daughter, Catherine Selden Feidt of Kensington.