Oliver Evans Vroom

Navy Research Psychologist

Oliver Evans Vroom, 81, a Navy Department research psychologist from 1965 to 1986, died of cancer July 12 at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital. He had been an Alexandria resident for the past two years.

Mr. Vroom was born in New York and served in the Navy during World War II. He graduated from George Washington University with a bachelor's degree in 1948 and a master's degree in psychology in 1950. He did postgraduate work at American University.

Mr. Vroom, as a civilian, worked at the Naval Ordnance Lab in White Oak from 1950 to 1952, administering an employment and placement program for 100 German rocket scientists.

He was recalled to active duty in the Navy during the Korean War, then lived for several years in Caracas, Venezuela, where he trained executives in the petroleum industry.

By 1957, he was back in the United States, working for Boeing Co. in Seattle, where he developed training programs for managers. He returned to the Washington area in 1967 and settled in Crofton.

Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Mary A. Dullea Vroom of Alexandria; two sons, Peter J. Vroom of Alexandria and Steven M. Vroom of Glen Burnie; a daughter, Patricia M. Vroom of Phoenix; and two grandchildren.

Mary Evelyn Burke


Mary Evelyn Burke, 79, a homemaker, died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease July 13 at Inova Fairfax Hospital. She lived in Falls Church.

Mrs. Burke, who was born in Taylorsville, N.C., came to the Washington area in 1947. She was primarily a homemaker, but she also sold Avon products in the 1970s.

Her husband of 30 years, Mack John Burke, died in 1976.

Survivors include two children, Jan Johnson of Falls Church and Jerry Mack Burke of Waldorf; and two grandchildren.

Richard Lynn Stewart

Asbestos Worker

Richard Lynn Stewart, 62, a longtime asbestos worker, died July 11 of cancer at Doctors Community Hospital in Lanham. He had lived in Bowie for 35 years.

Mr. Stewart was born in Fairmont, W.Va., and served in the Navy, on board the USS Forrestal, from 1960 to 1963.

He was a heat and frost insulator with Asbestos Workers Local 24 in Beltsville from 1963 until his retirement in 1997. His specialty was wrapping insulation around pipes in new buildings.

Mr. Stewart was a member of Bowie United Methodist Church and of American Legion Post 66 in Bowie. He was a fan of the Washington Redskins and NASCAR and enjoyed crossword puzzles and working on cars. His hobbies included raising society and zebra finches at his home.

Survivors include his wife of 40 years, Sandra Stewart of Bowie; four children, Richard L. Stewart II, Teresa Stewart and Mandy Pometto, all of Bowie, and Shannon Duley of Glenn Dale; three brothers; and six grandchildren.

Ralph Phillip Dixon


Ralph Phillip Dixon, 84, former owner of a Washington bookbindery, died after a heart attack July 13 at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring.

Mr. Dixon, a native Washingtonian, graduated from Eastern High School and began working in the offices of the George A. Simonds & Co. bookbinding company. In 1939, he joined the Navy and served as a records clerk. After World War II, he returned to Simonds, worked his way up to president and eventually owned the company. Simonds, once the largest independent bookbindery in the city, was sold in the 1980s.

Mr. Dixon was a past president of the Printing Industries of Metropolitan Washington and was named its man of the year for 1971. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and was an usher for many years at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Silver Spring. He was more recently a member of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Silver Spring.

His first wife, Dorothe Cady Dixon, died in 1977.

Survivors include his wife of 24 years, Olga M. Chicca Watson of Silver Spring; a daughter from his first marriage, Donna Dixon Neradka of Rockville; a brother, James Dixon of Marco Island, Fla.; a sister, Thelma Johnson of Annandale; and three grandchildren.

Nelson W. Good


Nelson W. Good, 61, a sociologist who worked with several organizations, died of cancer July 13 at his home in Washington.

Mr. Good was a founder and part-time administrator from 1971 to 2005 of the For Love of Children Learning Center, a program for at-risk children in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington.

He also worked as project development coordinator for the Thurgood Marshall Center from 1988 to 2001 and was a coordinator for the Washington Community Scholars' Center, a service-learning program of Eastern Mennonite University.

Volunteers under his direction worked for more than 40 social-service agencies in the city.

He was born near Lancaster, Pa., graduated from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Va., and received a master's degree in sociology from Catholic University in 1973.

Mr. Good was a member of Community House Church, an ecumenical faith community in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. He also volunteered with the Rolling Ridge Study Retreat Community in Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

Survivors include his wife of 36 years, Betty Wenger Good of Washington; three children, Ryan Good of Elkhart, Ind., Deborah Good of Philadelphia and Jason Good of Harrisonburg; and six brothers.

Jean Ostby Johnson

Writing Program Coordinator

Jean Ostby Johnson, 83, a teacher and coordinator of the University of Maryland's professional writing program, died of complications from a stroke July 11 at her home in Arlington.

Ms. Johnson taught and directed the College Park program from 1983 to 2001. Previously, she taught at George Mason University for several years.

She was the author of "The Bedford Guide to the Research Process" (1996). She also kept a firm grip on grammar, as shown in her 1995 letter to the editor of The Washington Post, which reflected upon the tendency to repeat the verb "is" unnecessarily in written communications.

"The addition of the extra verb (usually 'is') may also serve a perceived need," she wrote. "The speaker or writer may feel a little uncertain whether the verb belongs to the first part of the sentence or to the second, which is usually a clause. If the sentence is spoken, there's always a little pause after that first verb; so to make sure we've got a verb for the second part of the sentence, we repeat it. It's just a little insurance. What I'm trying to say is, is that sometimes people just follow their instincts instead of the rules."

Ms. Johnson was born in Walker, Minn., and grew up in Wibaux, Mont. She graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and received a master's degree in English in 1944 from the University of Oregon. She received a doctoral degree in English from Boston University in the early 1950s.

She lived in Alexandria from 1952 to 1962 and volunteered for John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign.

Ms. Johnson enjoyed playing the piano and tennis, practicing yoga and vacationing at the beach.

Her marriage to Robert H. Johnson ended in divorce.

Survivors include three children, Mark Johnson and Eric Johnson, both of Baltimore, and Hilary Durrette of Richmond.

Lucille Plaster Campbell

Club Official, Singer

Lucille Plaster Campbell, 83, a member of singing groups and a leader of chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution and Children of the American Revolution, died July 15 at her home in Falls Church. She had Alzheimer's disease.

Mrs. Campbell was born in Critz, Va., and sang in churches and on radio shows with her twin sister while growing up. She attended a radio school in Manassas in the 1940s and worked for the Navy in Philadelphia during World War II.

She operated a hair salon in Christiansburg, Va., for several years in the 1940s and '50s. After moving to Falls Church in 1957, she attended what is now George Mason University. In the early 1970s, she became a member of the Potomac Harmony chapter of the Sweet Adelines, an international singing organization.

Mrs. Campbell was a member of the Falls Church chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution for more than 25 years. She also held local and statewide leadership positions with Children of the American Revolution, including senior state president. She was chartering president of the John Witt chapter of the Colonial Dames 17th Century.

Her hobbies included genealogy, painting, sculpting and pottery. In the early 1960s, her artwork was exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art.

Charles Frank Campbell Jr., her husband of 53 years, died in 1999.

Survivors include three children, Steve Campbell of Centreville, Priscilla Hilderbrand of Falls Church and Lorraine C. Sims of Bristow; two brothers; a sister; and three grandchildren.

Psychologist Oliver VroomWriting instructor Jean Johnson