Edward Kristian Pedersen
Marine Corps Pilot
Edward Kristian Pedersen, 86, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel and pilot, died June 27 of cardiac disease at Reston Hospital Center. He was a longtime resident of Fairfax County.
Col. Pedersen was born in Haugesund, Norway, and came to the United States as a 9-year-old in 1928, growing up in Brooklyn. He attended Iowa State University in 1940 and later studied at George Washington University, where he received a bachelor's degree in business in 1962 and a master's degree in business in 1965.
He joined the Marine Corps in 1941 as a second lieutenant and attended flight school in Pensacola, Fla., at the beginning of World War II. During the war, he served on Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands as a fighter pilot. Shot down by the Japanese over the Solomons, he was rescued, contracted malaria and later returned to the battlefield.
He received the Air Medal for meritorious achievement in 1942 from Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox. According to the citation, he led a group of fighters sent to intercept a large formation of enemy torpedo bombers that had attacked U.S. ships off Guadalcanal on Nov. 12, 1942. He successfully destroyed one enemy bomber "despite extremely heavy anti-aircraft fire from our ships and intense opposition from enemy aircraft." Two days later, he shot down two enemy aircraft that were escorting a Japanese naval task force moving in on Guadalcanal.
During his Marine career, Col. Pedersen served at El Toro, Calif., Pensacola and Quantico. He retired in 1962.
He worked briefly as a civilian employee of the Pentagon and later for Research Analysis Corp. of McLean. He retired again in 1970. An avid fisherman and hunter, he also spent his retirement years as a master woodcarver and cabinetmaker.
Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Mary Elizabeth Pedersen of Great Falls; five children, Anna Christina Marine of Annapolis, Edward Kristian Pedersen of Manassas, Marvin Andreas Pedersen of Nanjemoy, Mikal Arnfin Pedersen of Great Falls, Patricia Elizabeth Pedersen of New Haven, Conn.; nine grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Martin Kushinsky, 84, a retired U.S. Information Service cultural affairs officer who spent most of his career in Spanish-speaking countries, died of lymphoma June 18 while under hospice care at the Fountains at Washington House nursing home in Alexandria.
For more than 20 years, Mr. Kushinsky managed cultural and educational outreach programs while serving as a cultural attache and public affairs officer in Chile, Peru, Spain, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines.
He lived in Washington between assignments and after his retirement in 1974.
Mr. Kushinsky was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and raised in New Jersey. He entered the Army during World War II and served with the Signal Corps in Europe, where he worked just behind the front lines, climbing telephone poles and stringing phone lines.
After the war, he attended the University of Lorraine in Nancy, France, and Mexico City College, where he received a bachelor's degree while studying painting, Spanish and Latin American studies.
He received two master's degrees in Hispanic studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He also studied ancient Greek, Hebrew and the history of the classical Mediterranean era at George Washington University.
A lifelong painter, he showed his abstract and representational art in exhibits in Mexico, Texas and the Philippines. In recent years, he took up ballroom dancing.
He was a member of Temple Micah, a Reform synagogue in Washington, and a founder of a Jewish renewal synagogue at Fort McNair.
His wife, Karen Bertine Kushinsky, died in 1994.
Survivors include a companion, Louise Albin of Falls Church; and two brothers.
Agnes L. Motyka
Agnes L. Motyka, 99, an elementary school teacher and principal in the District for nearly 40 years, died of respiratory failure June 26 at the Washington Home hospice.
Miss Motyka was a native Washingtonian and lifelong resident. She graduated from Eastern High School in 1923. After graduating at age 18 from Wilson Normal School, later known as Wilson Teachers College, which was incorporated into the University of the District of Columbia, she began her teaching career at the old Wheatley School.
While employed as a teacher, Miss Motyka studied mathematics at George Washington University and then at the University of Maryland at College Park, from which she graduated. She later received a master's degree in mathematics from the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York.
In the early 1940s, Miss Motyka chaired a D.C. Board of Education committee aimed at revising the mathematics curriculum for kindergarten through 12th grade. In the 1950s, she became involved in establishing pay schedules and retirement plans for D.C. teachers.
Having served as head teacher at a number of schools, in the 1950s Miss Motyka was named principal of Amidon-Greenleaf Elementary School. She was principal of Woodridge School when she retired in 1964.
Miss Motyka held offices in the Order of the Eastern Star, Pythian Sisters, D.C. Teachers Union, National Education Association, D.C. Retired Teachers Association and the Eastern High School Alumnae Association. She was a lifetime attendee and member of the church now known as Bethesda United Church of Christ.
In her spare time, Miss Motyka pursued her love of singing, music and the arts, as well as worldwide traveling. During her travels, she crossed both the equator and the Arctic Circle.
She has no immediate family survivors.
Eugene Gerard Garcia Jr.
Entrepreneur, Postal Clerk
Eugene Gerard Garcia Jr., 75, an entrepreneur, postal employee and salesman, died of pneumonia June 24 at Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg. He lived in Fredericksburg and was a former resident of Arlington, Falls Church and Fauquier County.
Mr. Garcia started Ability Awards, a trophy and engraving business, in 1985 from his home in Fauquier County. He later moved it to a storefront in Warrenton, where he worked until retiring in 1998.
That year, the second-generation Irish American (and fourth-generation Spanish American) traveled to Ireland to meet his extensive family of cousins who live near or in the city of Waterford.
Mr. Garcia was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and joined the Marine Corps in 1947. He attained the rank of staff sergeant before he left the military in 1952. He came to Washington while in the military and stayed. He worked for 20 years as a major-appliance salesman for Sears Roebuck in Clarendon and then two years for Montgomery Ward stores at Montgomery Mall and Seven Corners.
In 1974, he joined the U.S. Postal Service and spent the next 16 years as a clerk at Dulles International Airport's overseas mail facility. He was working for the post office when he and a son started the trophy and engraving business.
Survivors include his wife of 53 years, Priscilla Tyler Garcia of Fredericksburg; eight children, Catherine Patterson of Fairfax, Constance Daly of Fredericksburg, Theresa Harris of Warrenton, Barbara Garcia of Broad Run, Caroline Brock of Waterford, Eleanor Ivancic of Haymarket, Eugene G. Garcia III of Baltimore and Michael Garcia of Warrenton; a sister, Eleanor McMorrow of Fredericksburg; 12 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
Robert Andrew Covington
CIA Communications Officer
Robert Andrew Covington, 72, a retired CIA communications officer, died of sepsis June 29 at Page Memorial Hospital in Luray, Va. He also had Parkinson's disease.
Mr. Covington was born in Union City, Tenn. He joined the Air Force in 1952 and served for four years in Alaska. After his discharge, he joined the CIA, where he worked for 31 years, serving in Taiwan, Japan, Germany, Mexico, Okinawa and England. He retired in 1987 and continued to do contract work for the agency until 1989.
In 1988, he was awarded the CIA's Intelligence Commendation Medal, which is given for "the performance of especially commendable service or for an act or achievement significantly above normal duties which results in an important contribution to the mission of the Agency."
After retirement, he and his wife settled in Luray, where he enjoyed golfing at Luray Caverns Country Club. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and Our Lady of the Valley Catholic Church in Luray. He also was a member of the retired federal communications officers association.
Mr. Covington, in keeping with his job, was quiet and reserved most of the time but was very outgoing with friends, said Patricia Louise Diehm Covington, his wife of 51 years.
"When people talked about current events, he would never join in . . . because he couldn't remember if he saw something in the news or if it was something he read at work," she said. "He once told me, when it was in the news, that he saw the president's news briefing before the president did."
A son, Terence Edward Covington, died in 1994.
In addition to his wife, survivors include three sons, David Brian Covington of Gaithersburg, Jeffrey Lynn Covington of Montgomery, Ala., and Michael Kent Covington of Sterling; his mother, Opal Viola Martin Covington of Homosassa, Fla.; four brothers; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.