Robert W. Parks Jr.

Engineer, Antique Car Enthusiast

Robert W. Parks Jr., 79, a communications engineer and antique automobile enthusiast, died Aug. 19 of injuries he received when he was struck by a trailer while attending an antique car show in White Post, Va. He lived in Fairfax County.

Mr. Parks began his career in 1947 as a control-room engineer for WITH-AM in Baltimore. After serving in the Army during the Korean War, he returned to WITH for two years.

In 1954, he joined AT&T in Baltimore as a communications engineer. He transferred to AT&T's Washington office in 1967 before moving to the Oakton office in 1986. During his AT&T career, Mr. Parks worked on the capacities of wires and lines in developing the company's long-distance telephone service. He retired in 1988.

Mr. Parks was born in Towson, Md., and worked briefly in a garage after high school. He also was a member of a stock-car mechanical support team and occasionally raced stock cars in his youth.

He owned 80 to 90 antique automobiles over the course of his life, conducting exhaustive searches for parts as he restored them to driving condition. He was primarily interested in cars built before 1950 and had most recently restored a 1931 Chevrolet roadster.

He belonged to several antique auto clubs and had served as president of the Chesapeake and Bull Run regional chapters of the Antique Automobile Club of America. A certified antique car judge, he often judged competitions throughout the region.

Mr. Parks lived in Laurel from 1967 to 1986, when he moved to Fairfax County. He was a member of Pender United Methodist Church in Fairfax County.

Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Kathryn S. Parks of Fairfax County; two children, Robert W. Parks III of Fairfax Station and Cynthia L. Langan of Alexandria; a brother; and three grandchildren.

Herman Koenig


Herman John William Koenig Sr., 87, a retired Treasury Department economist, died after a heart attack Aug. 15 at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington.

Mr. Koenig was born in St. Louis and grew up in northern Illinois. He graduated from the University of Chicago, where he also earned master's degrees in economics and history in the late 1930s.

He moved to Washington to work for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. During World War II, he registered as a conscientious objector and volunteered to drive a battlefield ambulance. Instead, he was asked to serve in the Army Air Corps in administrative assignments in the United States, Great Britain and Germany, completing his service with the rank of sergeant.

He retired from the Treasury Department at age 56 after working on the Alliance for Progress and the issue of balance of payments.

Mr. Koenig enjoyed a long retirement, tending his garden in McLean.

His wife, Charline Bradford Koenig, died this year.

Survivors include three children, Herman Koenig Jr. of Lexington Park, Charles Koenig of Santa Fe, N.M., and Gretchen Koenig of Arlington; two brothers; two sisters; two grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Phyllis Fancher Merriam

Artist, Church Member

Phyllis Fancher Merriam, 80, an artist, church member and homemaker, died of lung cancer Aug. 23 at Georgetown University Hospital.

Mrs. Merriam was born in Mount Kisco, N.Y. She attended the Art Students League school in New York City. She moved to Washington in 1944 after her marriage.

She was a member of Georgetown Presbyterian Church, serving once as a deacon. Much of her time was devoted to drawing portraits of her friends, family and pets, as well as commemorating scenes from her travels.

Her husband, John H. Merriam Jr., died in 1991.

Survivors include her two daughters, Gail M. Clarke of Great Falls and Rose Douglas Merriam of McLean; her brother; and two granddaughters.

Lynne Peterson Holmes

Business Owner

Lynne Peterson Holmes, 57, co-founder and business manager for an environmental consulting firm, died of metastatic cancer Aug. 17 at her weekend home in Woodstock, Va.

Ms. Holmes moved to Washington in 1977 and worked as an editor for Energy and Environmental Analysis Inc. for two years. She then moved to Los Angeles and Benicia, Calif., and worked for several recording artists, including Jackson Browne and David Lindley. She returned to the Washington area in 1985, settling in Arlington, and resumed working for her former employer.

In 1998, she and her husband formed an environmental consulting firm, AEMS, LLC.

From 1992 to 1995, Ms. Holmes served on the founding board of directors for The Reading Connection, a literacy program for homeless children in 13 Northern Virginia shelters.

She was a graduate of several programs at L'Academie de Cuisine in Bethesda and assisted the cooking school's owner, Francois Dionot, from 1994 to 1997. Ms. Holmes frequently contributed her culinary skills to events, including providing the desserts for the annual fundraising event of Smith Farm Center for the Healing Arts in Washington, where she volunteered.

A native of Carrington, N.D., Ms. Holmes attended the University of North Dakota, majoring in theater arts. She worked as a reporter for the Foster County Independent in Carrington, N.D., before moving to Washington.

Survivors include her husband of 28 years, John Holmes of Arlington; her mother, Dorothy Peterson of Carrington, N.D.; and three brothers.