James L. Talbert Jr.

D.C. Public School Official

James Laraine Talbert Jr., 92, a former teacher who retired in 1972 after eight years as the District's director of administration for elementary schools, died of prostate cancer July 27 at his home in Washington.

Mr. Talbert was a lifelong Washingtonian. He was the Class of 1931 salutatorian at Armstrong High School, where he was a charter member of its National Honor Society.

He graduated from Miner Teachers College, where he played basketball and was known as "Mouse" among his teammates and friends. After graduating in 1935, he began his career as a sixth-grade teacher at the Wormley School in Georgetown.

During World War II, he served in the Army, mostly as a literacy instructor to entering soldiers at Fort Holabird, Md. He returned to Wormley after the war, then received a master's degree in elementary education from New York University in 1949. He taught at Washington's Park View Elementary School from 1949 to 1962 and Houston Elementary School from 1962 to 1964.

In addition to teaching, he coached the volleyball and touch football teams and organized and sponsored the schools' safety patrols and drill teams.

He was a founder of the Monday Morning Golf Club and a member of the Holy Name Society of St. Luke's Catholic Church in Washington and the M Club, an organization of former athletes of Miner Teachers College.

His wife of 56 years, Doris Evans Talbert, died in 1991.

Survivors include a daughter, Joan Talbert Thornell of Washington; a brother, Preston Talbert of Silver Spring; and a grandson.

Peter N. Weiss


Peter N. Weiss, 54, an attorney and policy analyst with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound July 25 at his Takoma Park home.

Mr. Weiss had worked on domestic and international data policy issues with the Strategic Planning and Policy Office of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service since 2000. He analyzed policy and legal issues involving information resources and information technology management and worked on ways to make weather data available to individuals, as well as the businesses and government agencies that now routinely use it.

He had worked at the Office of Management and Budget for the previous nine years and was the principal author of the OMB's information policy directive, a seminal document about how government should make information public. Mr. Weiss defended the principle that information generated at taxpayers' expense should be made available to the public at no more than the "cost of dissemination."

"He was extremely instrumental in several projects to make government information available to the public," said Ari Schwartz, associate director of the nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology. "The policies he championed are just going into effect now, and their impact decades from now are going to be dramatic, because of the work Peter did."

Born in Long Island, N.Y., Mr. Weiss graduated from Columbia University in 1973 with a degree in Sanskrit. He was involved in political activism and the counterculture from an early age, protesting the Vietnam War and marching for aid to Biafra. For a few years after college, he and friends formed a beekeeping business in Upstate New York, Annapurna Farms.

He graduated from Catholic University's Columbus School of Law in 1979 and clerked for several years at the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, then worked for a small energy law firm in the District from 1981 to 1985. He was an assistant chief counsel in the Small Business Administration from 1985 to 1990, then moved to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy for a year. He then moved to OMB and later to NOAA.

Eight years ago, Mr. Weiss became a Buddhist. He enjoyed creating a garden, tinkering in his home workshop and traveling around the world with his family.

Survivors include his wife of 23 years, Laura Steinberg of Takoma Park; two children, Alison Weiss of Portland, Ore., and Robin Weiss of Takoma Park; his mother Toni Licalzi of Silver Spring; and his father, Peter S. Weiss of Jaroso, Colo.