Erias Alexander Hyman, 60, a D.C. government official for more than 20 years, died of a brain tumor May 22 at Capital Hospice of Northern Virginia.
Mr. Hyman spent three years as a senior adviser to the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Clinton administration, but he was best known as a lawyer who served in a number of positions in D.C. city government during the past two decades.
He had been the city's acting corporation counsel, interim director of the Corrections Department, chief of the adjudication office and senior administrative law judge, legislative counsel to the D.C. Council and chairman of the D.C. Office of Employee Appeals.
In another job, as chairman of the D.C. Parole Board, he earned plaudits from The Washington Post's editorial page, which said, in 1994: "In the [Sharon Pratt] Kelly administration, however, Parole Board chairman Erias Hyman has helped erase the board's image as a patsy. Mr. Hyman made early release no longer a certainty, except as required by law, and parole violators found themselves returned to prison to serve their original sentences, instead of two or three months that had become the standard under Mayor [Marion] Barry."
Mr. Hyman was born in Philadelphia and moved to Washington at a young age, graduating from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1962. He served as a combat medic in the Army in Vietnam. He returned to the United States and received a bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh while working as a news reporter for United Press International wire service. He then spent five years as a manager at Westinghouse Corp. in Pittsburgh while attending and graduating from Duquesne University School of Law in 1976.
Mr. Hyman became an assistant district attorney in Pittsburgh, went into private practice, then returned to academia in Washington, where he was a clinical fellow at Antioch School of Law. By 1979, he had become a law professor at the school, and later was dean of students. He spent the 1981-82 academic year as assistant dean and director of the minority student program at Rutgers University Law School in Newark before returning to the District permanently.
In 1982, he began his march through a variety of positions in the District's government.
Former mayor Sharon Pratt noted that more than 450 people attended Mr. Hyman's memorial service on Memorial Day weekend.
"As tough and disciplined as he was, he was fair," she said. "He had a sense of the people, a sense of life on the street, and that came across as well as his sense of the law."
Mr. Hyman was a member of the board of trustees of the United Planning Organization and the National Conference of Bar Examiners. He was an adjunct professor at the University of the District of Columbia's law school.
He was a founding member of the Consorts Social Club. He enjoyed fishing, golfing, gardening, music, traveling, horse racing, cooking and fine wine.
His marriages to Joy Lecompte and Elaine Johnson ended in divorce.
Survivors include his companion, Eileen Hemphill of Washington; a son from his first marriage, Erias Terrell of Ashburn; two children from his second marriage, Jon Hyman of Atlanta and Holly A. Hyman of New York City; a daughter from another relationship, Gaile A. Hyman of Fairfax; his stepmother, Thelma Fagin Hyman of Washington; two sisters, Carole Hyman and Pam Hyman, both of Washington; three stepsiblings, Barbara Fagin Manly of Newport News, Va., and Pat Fagin Scott and Darryl Hall Fagin, both of Washington; and seven grandchildren.