Herbert A. Fierst

Washington Lawyer

Herbert A. Fierst, 90, who owned and operated a law firm in Washington that specialized in trade and intellectual property matters, died June 4 at his home in Chevy Chase. He had Parkinson's disease.

Mr. Fierst ran his firm from 1955 to 1997, and his clients included the Canadian lumber industry and the estate of novelist Edith Wharton.

In the 1970s, he co-founded the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. The Washington-based organization organizes trips to Israel with retired U.S. military leaders to lobby for the defense needs of Israel and also promotes the issues with the wider public.

Herbert Abner Fierst was born in the Bronx, N.Y., to immigrant Jewish parents. His father was born in Lithuania, and his mother was the daughter of the chief rabbi of Canada.

He was a 1935 summa cum laude government graduate of Harvard University and received a Sheldon Fellowship to travel through Europe for a year. He was a 1939 graduate of the Yale University law school and spent two years working as a Wall Street lawyer.

During World War II, he served in the Army in England and became involved in helping displaced people in the postwar chaos. His decorations included the Legion of Merit and the Army Commendation Award.

He then worked for the State Department, eventually becoming involved in United Nations affairs.

In 1951, Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy (R-Wis.) publicly named Mr. Fierst as one of the State Department employees who posed a security risk because of alleged Communist sympathies. Mr. Fierst, who denied any such allegiances, soon was cleared of the charges.

"McCarthy casually went on to something else," Mr. Fierst told The Washington Post in 1977. "He had just been making it up. Nothing ever came of it -- I never lost my top-secret clearance, and it didn't hurt my career."

He was a member of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Edith Udell Fierst of Chevy Chase; three children, Frederick Fierst of Northampton, Mass., David Fierst of Bethesda and Peggy Sax of Cornwall, Vt.; a brother, Leonard Fierst of Silver Spring; a sister, Leba Berman of Seattle; and seven grandchildren.

Thelma Yancey Halliday


Thelma Yancey Halliday, 91, a former librarian at Howard University, died May 29 of Alzheimer's disease at her son's home in Dallas. She had been a longtime resident of Washington before moving to Dallas in 2001.

Mrs. Halliday was born in Great Falls, Mont., and grew up in Lexington, Ky. She received her bachelor's degree in English from Kentucky State College in 1935 and her master's degree in library science from Hampton Institute in 1938.

She worked as a librarian at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Arkansas A&M College in Pine Bluff, at Dunbar High School, her alma mater, in Lexington, and at Anacostia and Cardozo high schools in the District.

After working as a homemaker for a few years, she became a librarian in the early 1960s at Howard, where she started the Small Business Development Center Library as part of the university's School of Business. She retired in 1979.

In retirement, Mrs. Halliday and her husband traveled often to Central America, Europe and Africa. She was an active member of Calvary Episcopal Church in the District and several community and civic organizations.

Her husband, Neil Lilburn Halliday Sr., died in 2001.

Survivors include two children, Antoinette Halliday Schooler of San Diego and Neil L. Halliday of Dallas; two grandchildren; and two great-grandsons.

Helen Saulsbury Roberts

Church Member, Volunteer

Helen Saulsbury Roberts, 93, a volunteer and Episcopal church member, died June 5 of septic infection at Sunrise at Bluemont Park, an Arlington retirement home.

Mrs. Roberts was born near Queen Anne, Md., and grew up on a farm near Centreville, Md. She graduated from Union Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Baltimore in 1932.

She came to Washington in 1935 as an Army nurse at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. She left nursing in 1939, with the rank of second lieutenant, to be married.

She had lived in Arlington since 1940, except for three years in Canada with her husband, an economist with the Department of Agriculture.

Mrs. Roberts was interested in gardening, cooking and home decorating. For many years, she was active in Welcome to Washington, a women's service organization dedicated to helping the families of foreign diplomats adjust to life in Washington. She also was a volunteer at the White House, a member of a cooking group and a member of the leadership group at her retirement home.

Over the years, she contributed to many causes concerned with conservation, wildlife preservation and the welfare of children. She established a scholarship fund for students at Ellsworth College in Iowa Falls, Iowa, the hometown of her late husband.

She and her husband were founding members of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Arlington.

Her husband of 28 years, Richard Hale Roberts, died in 1968.

Survivors include a sister.