John Patrick McGovern

Dominican Priest

The Rev. John Patrick McGovern, 79, a Dominican priest who served as chaplain for the D.C. Department of Corrections in the early 1960s, died of respiratory failure Aug. 16 at Providence Hospital in Washington.

Father McGovern became a priest at 34 after serving in the Navy during World War II and working in railroading in Rhode Island. He was assigned to parishes throughout the eastern United States during his career. He worked at the District's prison complex, including Lorton and Occoquan, and the D.C. jail from 1962 to 1964 and came back to the District in 1967 for six years to work at St. Dominic parish.

In 1981, he was assigned to the Dominican House of Studies in Washington and moved into its assisted living center last year.

"You know, the sad part of it is, people get the wrong idea, with all these crazy movies. They get a false impression of the lifestyle we live," Father McGovern told The Washington Post in 1993. "We are just as human and as regular as anybody else. A cloister means there is a certain sense of privacy. It's not a jail. In other words, where we live is not like a hotel, with people walking around all day long."

Born in Providence, R.I., he entered the Navy after high school and was a signalman assigned to a landing ship tank that was involved in five major battles in the South Pacific, including Okinawa and Leyte Gulf. Father McGovern, who had not yet entered the priesthood, formed prayer groups aboard the ship. Before major battles, the ship's captain would encourage him to get the prayer group together, telling him, "Make it good, McGovern. We've got to win this one."

After the war, he followed his father into railroading and attended Providence College. In 1949, he entered the School of St. Philip Neri, a seminary in Haverhill, Mass., for those with delayed vocations. He entered the Dominican Noviate in 1952 and was ordained in 1959.

The sea stayed with him throughout his life. He told a conference in 2000: "The rosary is our anchor and chain. If we don't pray it, we will drift out to sea."

Survivors include a sister.

Marla Joan Schwartz

Law Librarian

Marla Joan Schwartz, 56, head of acquisitions and technical systems at American University's law library, died of ovarian cancer Aug. 8 at Casey House in Rockville. She lived in Bethesda.

Ms. Schwartz had been a member of the faculty at the Pence Law Library at AU's Washington College of Law since 1988. Her professional interests focused on serials, acquisitions, library automation, using the Internet for collection management and patron access, and serials education.

She had previously been serials librarian at the George Mason University Libraries and assistant head of serials at the Gelman Library at George Washington University. She also worked as a librarian at the Urban Institute and the Government Printing Office.

Ms. Schwartz, a native Washingtonian, graduated from Woodrow Wilson Senior High School. As a child, she worked at her father's store, Capital Camera, on Pennsylvania Avenue at 10th Street NW. She had a third-row seat at the Beatles' first U.S. concert on Feb. 11, 1964, at the Washington Coliseum.

She graduated from Boston University and received a master's degree in library science from Simmons College in 1974 and a master's degree in American civilization from George Washington in 1983.

She was active in professional library organizations locally and nationally, serving on the boards of the Law Librarians' Society of Washington, the District of Columbia Library Association, the Potomac Technical Processing Librarians and the Online Bibliographic Services Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries.

Over the course of her treatment for ovarian cancer, she participated in two clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health.

She enjoyed modern dance and was a YMCA certified fitness instructor from 1984 to 1988. She enjoyed reading contemporary fiction on the beach during annual summer vacations in Ogunquit, Maine, and doing the Sunday crossword puzzles in The Washington Post and the New York Times. She also enjoyed shopping at L.L. Bean and eating lobster in Maine.

Survivors include her husband of 25 years, Howard Morrison, and a sister, Linda Baum, both of Bethesda.