Eliza Shumaker Soyster

INS Adjudicator

Eliza Shumaker Soyster, 82, who was an inspector and later an adjudicator with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, died July 3 of lung cancer at her home in McLean.

Mrs. Soyster was born in Sewickley, Pa., and moved to Washington at the age of 2. She attended the Potomac School and was a graduate of the Madeira School and of Smith College in Northampton, Mass.

In 1948, she graduated first in her class from the George Washington University School of Medicine and received the John Ordronaux prize for academic achievement. She and her husband, Peter Soyster, who ranked second in the class, did their internships in Los Angeles.

After completing her internship, Mrs. Soyster gave up medicine and became a homemaker and volunteer. She served on the boards of the Red Cross, the National Association for Mental Health and the Mental Health Association of the District of Columbia. She chaired several committees for the Junior League and the United Way, receiving a community service award from the United Way in 1976. She was also president of the D.C. Visiting Nurse Association and of the women's auxiliary of the Fairfax County Medical Society.

During the 1960s, Mrs. Soyster was an officer of the Smith College Club of Washington and president of the Madeira School Alumnae Association and a member of the school's board of directors. She was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church in Georgetown and the Chevy Chase Club. She was a docent at the Reptile House of the National Zoo and did research on the behavior of crocodiles.

After her divorce in 1979, Mrs. Soyster joined the INS (later absorbed by the Department of Homeland Security). She worked first as an inspector at Dulles International Airport and later spent many years as an INS adjudicator, examining student visas and conducting interviews to determine the legitimacy of marriages to U.S. citizens. She worked full time until May of this year.

Survivors include four daughters, Elizabeth Soyster of Gibson Island, Md., Margaret Blair Soyster Fiore of New York City, Martha Soyster Hynes of Palos Verdes, Calif., and Jane Soyster Gould of Andover, Mass.; a sister, Margaret S. Nalle, and a brother, Samuel R. Shumaker, both of Washington; and six grandchildren.

Martin Francis O'Rourke

Engineer, Train Fan

Martin Francis O'Rourke, 69, a retired computer engineer who became president of the local chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, died of cancer June 14 at his home in Fairfax City.

Mr. O'Rourke was born in Keyser, W.Va., and served in the Air Force after high school. He came to the Washington area in 1960 and worked for 34 years on mainframe computers for Univac, IBM, Memorex and Bell Atlantic. He retired in 1994.

Mr. O'Rourke joined the railroad historical society in 1979 and was one of the members who restored the chapter's 1923 Pullman railroad car, the Dover Harbor. As the chief mechanical officer, he accompanied it on many trips along the East Coast and cross-country. He rose through the society's officer ranks until he was elected president in 2001, a post he held at the time of his death.

Survivors include his wife, Barbara High O'Rourke of Fairfax; four children, Martin Francis O'Rourke Jr. of Skiatook, Okla., Stephanie Sutherland of Sterling, Susanne O'Rourke of Oak Hill, Va., and Christopher O'Rourke of Vienna; two brothers; a sister; and two grandchildren.

Joan Randolph Scott


Joan Randolph Scott, 72, a research biochemist at Georgetown University, died June 24 of breast cancer at Capital Hospice in Arlington.

Mrs. Scott was born in Lexington, Va., and grew up in Buffalo. She received a bachelor's degree in biochemistry at Cornell University in 1954 and was a photographer for the Cornell Daily Sun. After graduating, she traveled to Europe on a converted troopship to assist residents of Austria after an avalanche.

She lived in Minnesota, New Jersey and Lynchburg, Va., before moving with her family to Falls Church in 1964. A year later, the family settled in Arlington.

In 1968, she earned a master's degree in biochemistry at George Washington University. In 1975, she joined Georgetown University to perform research and clinical laboratory testing. Mrs. Scott was part of a small laboratory group that performed HIV-1 testing on all banked blood at Georgetown in 1985 to ensure the safety of transfusions. In the early 1990s, she worked in developing procedures to diagnose viral infections in ill patients. She also developed an antibody test to monitor treatment in transplant patients.

Mrs. Scott was a member of Unitarian Universalist Church in Arlington, where she was a Sunday school teacher. As part of her curriculum, she constructed a tabletop model of Stonehenge for her students. She was a volunteer teaching assistant in science at Barrett Elementary School in Arlington. She recently volunteered as a teaching assistant for Roman history courses at the Arlington Learning in Retirement Institute. She enjoyed genealogical and historical research, science, gardening, cooking and bridge.

Survivors include her husband of 50 years, Dr. Paul Charles Scott of Arlington; four daughters, Dr. Dorothy Elizabeth Scott of Rockville, Catherine Steen of Chugiak, Alaska, Sarah Brock of Tokyo and Roberta Scott of Arlington; a brother; and one grandson.

Martin F. O'Rourke