Suzanne D. Manfull, 85, who organized a chapter of the Red Cross's Gray Ladies in South Vietnam and taught English to foreign diplomatic spouses, died Oct. 29 of cardiac arrest after battling leukemia at the Renaissance Center of Sibley Memorial Hospital. She lived in McLean.
In the early 1960s, she organized the South Vietnamese Chapter of the Gray Ladies volunteers and cared for children at Go Vap Hospital. She lobbied some of the high society women of South Vietnam to join the chapter.
Years later, in her living room in Washington, she taught English for Welcome to Washington, a group dedicated to helping diplomatic spouses. "She would just have them over and teach them basic English," her daughter said. "She loved doing that."
She was a resident of Washington from 1941 to 2002, when she moved to McLean.
Mrs. Manfull was born in Gonzales, Tex., and received a bachelor's degree summa cum laude from the University of Texas. She was admitted to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior.
When she came to Washington, she organized a chapter of her college sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, at George Washington University.
During World War II, she worked as a relocation specialist for the personnel section of the War Department, helping young secretaries who came to Washington find a safe place to live.
She danced with the Washington Ballet Company at a time when it had few dancers. Later, she became a special assistant for war correspondent Martin Agronsky.
In the early 1950s, she worked for various congressional staffs as a researcher. She accompanied her husband, who was in the Foreign Service, to Paris, where they lived from 1952 to 1958. She also traveled with him to Vietnam, Belgium, the Central African Republic and Liberia.
In each overseas posting, she engaged in volunteer work.
Mrs. Manfull was an avid orchid grower and volunteered for the Washington chapter of the American Orchid Society. She also was a docent for years at the Dumbarton Oaks Museum in Georgetown, where she was an expert on its gardens.
Her husband, Ambassador Melvin L. Manfull, died in 2001.
Survivors include three children, Lisa S. Harper of Rockville, Gregory L. Manfull of Evergreen, Colo., and William T. Manfull of Portsmouth, N.H.; and three grandchildren.