Mary Tierney Gilligan McNeill

Church Leader, Teacher

Mary Tierney Gilligan McNeill, 77, church leader, died June 19 at Powhatan Nursing Home in Falls Church. She had Alzheimer's disease.

After moving to the Washington area in 1955, Mrs. McNeill was director of a preschool in Silver Spring for two years. She lived in Arlington from 1959 to 1965, when she moved with her family to Alexandria. She also taught in the preschool program at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Alexandria.

Mrs. McNeill was a member of the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Community in Alexandria and was one of the first women in the Arlington diocese to become a eucharistic minister. She was a catechist and lector and was co-chairperson of her church's liturgy committee in 1975-76. She received the Sister Mary Boyle pastoral ministry award from her church in 1994.

Mrs. McNeill was born and raised in Yonkers, N.Y. She was a 1950 graduate of Pembroke College at Brown University in Providence, R.I. She received a master's degree in early childhood education from Columbia University in New York in 1951.

She was an elementary school teacher in the public schools of Moorestown, N.J., and in Chappaqua and Yonkers, N.Y., from 1951 to 1955.

Survivors include her husband of 50 years, Arthur T. McNeill of Alexandria; three children, Thomas G. McNeill of Grosse Pointe, Mich., Mary Alison Teller of Manassas and Paul A. McNeill of Germantown; a brother; a sister; and eight grandchildren.

Louise Oiseth

Business Professor

Louise Oiseth, 86, a retired professor of business at Marymount College, died June 19 of a heart attack at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington. She was an Arlington resident.

Mrs. Oiseth was born in Boston and received an undergraduate degree in business administration from Boston University in 1940. She taught school in the Boston area until 1944, when she married. After World War II, she lived in Minneapolis before moving to Arlington in 1949.

She taught at Georgetown Visitation school in the early 1960s, while working on a master's degree in education at George Washington University. She received the degree in 1966. At the then-all-female Marymount, she taught accounting, business law and other business-related subjects. She retired in 1978.

In addition to enjoying bridge, golf, travel and gardening, Mrs. Oiseth was a member of several organizations, including the American Association of University Women, the Washington Golf and Country Club Ladies Golf Association, the Williamsburg Women's Club, the Neighbors Club and the Rock Spring Garden Club.

Her husband, Howard Oiseth, died in 1988.

Survivors include two children, Barbara Campbell of Montgomery Village and Richard Oiseth of Seattle; and two grandsons.

Brenda Hazel Lewis

Post Exchange Worker

Brenda Lewis, 52, a sales associate at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service at Fort Belvoir, died July 5 when she was struck by a car on Richmond Highway in Alexandria while walking to work. She lived in Alexandria.

Ms. Lewis had worked at Fort Belvoir for 30 years. She worked at the bowling alley for years and had spent the past 26 years working at the post exchange.

She was born in Portsmouth, Va., where she graduated from high school. She was a former member of Calvary Road Baptist Church in Springfield and was a current member of the Main Post Chapel at Fort Belvoir.

She was known for her dedication to her work and to her grandchildren, her son said.

Her marriage to Kenneth Lewis ended in divorce.

Survivors include two sons, Jason A. Lewis of Waldorf and Christopher S. Lewis of Alexandria; her parents, Frederick and Dorothy Hazel of Portsmouth; two sisters, Sharon Hunt of the Kingstowne community of Fairfax County and Wanda Barner of Portsmouth; two brothers, Frederick Hazel Jr. of Dumfries and Julius Hazel of Portsmouth; and four grandchildren.

Nerissa P. Berbano


Nerissa P. Berbano, 69, a registered nurse for 44 years and a Red Cross volunteer with the National Capital Area Chapter, died July 3 of colon cancer at Capital Hospice in Arlington. She was a Falls Church resident.

Mrs. Berbano was born in Bangar, La Union, Philippines. Her mother died when she was 5, and she was brought up by two great-aunts in a time of hardship, the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II.

She graduated from Chinese General Hospital Nursing School in the Philippines in 1958 and moved to New York shortly thereafter. She began her nursing career at various hospitals and clinics in New York, including Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She moved to Stockton, Calif., in 1960, where she was a nurse in labor and delivery for 15 years.

In 1981, she moved to Falls Church and began working in labor and delivery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. She later worked on the internal medicine wards at Walter Reed.

As a Red Cross volunteer, she used her extensive nursing skills to assist soldiers and their families in times of need. She also volunteered to go to the scenes of natural disasters throughout the country, including Hurricane Andrew in Florida in 1992, floods in Iowa and Illinois in 1993 and floods in Georgia and Florida caused by tropical storm Alberto in 1994. She handled logistics, as well as basic bedside and public health nursing.

In 1997, she returned to the Philippines for the first time since immigrating to the United States in 1958. Her visit was in conjunction with Project Smile, which provided reconstructive surgery and related health care to indigenous people.

Shortly after her retirement in 1998, the American Red Cross presented her with the Clara Barton Honor Award for Meritorious Volunteer Leadership, the organization's highest award.

Survivors include her husband of 46 years, Grae Berbano of Falls Church; three children, Graesson Berbano of Half Moon Bay, Calif., Michael Berbano of Bealeton and Elizabeth Baroni of Annandale; one brother; one half-sister; three half-brothers; and seven grandchildren.