Merrick Maynard

Church Member

Merrick Gallie Wood Maynard, 48, a problem solver and facilitator for family and friends and an active church member, died of lung cancer Sept. 6 at Anne Arundel Medical Center. She lived in Bowie.

Mrs. Maynard was a member of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Bowie, where she was active in the choir, bell choir and the Episcopal Church Women.

She was a strong advocate of people with learning disabilities, especially Asperger's syndrome, and served as an informational resource for many people over the years. She was always saying, "Let me help you with that," a friend said.

Her varied interests included designing and completing fine needlework and other handcrafts, cooking, music and reading.

She was born in Atlanta and graduated from Goucher College in Baltimore with a bachelor's degree in English in 1979. She received a master's degree in home and consumer economics and family management from the University of Georgia at Athens in 1982.

Survivors include her husband of 22 years, William L. Maynard of Bowie; two children, Perry Maynard and Ysabella Maynard, also of Bowie; her mother, Margaret Ysabella Wood of Bowie; and a brother.

Donna L. Crawford Rilla

Speech Therapist

Donna Louise Crawford Rilla, 60, a speech therapist, died Sept. 29 of colon cancer at Holy Cross Hospice in Silver Spring. She lived in Lanham.

Ms. Rilla was born in Youngstown, Ohio, and graduated from Catholic University. After she received a master's degree in speech and audiology from Catholic in 1969, she joined the staff of D.C. General Hospital as a speech therapist. She worked in the hospital's Crippled Children's Unit for about 30 years.

For the past five years, until the time of her death, she was a speech therapist at the Chapel Forge Early Childhood Center in Bowie. She was especially skilled at identifying speech deficiencies and delayed speech development in children.

Ms. Rilla lived in Crofton before moving to Lanham eight years ago. She attended St. Mary's Catholic Church in Landover Hills and St. Matthias the Apostle Catholic Church in Lanham. She enjoyed traveling, sewing and playing piano.

Her marriage to Lawrence Rilla ended in divorce.

Survivors include a daughter, Kellie Rilla of New York; and a half-sister.

Gittan Christina Levy

Real Estate Agent

Gittan Christina Levy, 61, a former tour guide for Scandinavian groups who later worked as a real estate agent in Northern Virginia, died Sept. 16 of a stroke at her home in the Kingstown area of Alexandria.

She was born Gittan Christina Backstorm in Varmland, Sweden, and came to the United States at 22. She married an Air Force pilot in 1965 and lived in several states and countries during his military career.

The family moved to Northern Virginia in the mid-1970s, then to the Middle East and Europe before settling in Mount Vernon in the mid-1980s.

With a love for Washington and its history, she became an independent tour guide for Scandinavian groups that came to the area. In 1991, she joined Mount Vernon Realty, now Weichert Realtors, where she worked until her retirement this spring.

Her many interests included performances at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, embassy events and museum tours. She was a member of a bowling league, an excellent cook, a voracious reader and a current events enthusiast.

Her marriage to retired Air Force Col. Jeffery Levy ended in divorce. A son, Jonathan Levy, died in 1997.

Survivors include two daughters, Karina Levy of Alexandria and Annika Goodman of McLean; and two grandchildren.

Anthony Ponaras

Chemistry Professor

Anthony "Tony" Ponaras, 58, a former chemistry professor at Catholic University, died of coronary disease Sept. 15 at Sibley Memorial Hospital. He was a District resident.

Dr. Ponaras taught at Catholic University from 1982 until 2004, when he retired. He taught for five years at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Born in New York, he graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor's degree and, later, a doctoral degree in chemistry in 1972. He did post-doctoral work at the Zurich Federal Polytechnic Institute and the University of California at Berkeley.

He turned down job offers with the pharmaceutical industry, preferring to teach.

An officer of the Northern Virginia Ragtime Society, he regularly hosted musical parties at his home. He collected vintage Steinway grand pianos and enjoyed stride and novelty piano music from the early 20th century. He also loved to travel.

Survivors include a sister.

Charles Dickinson Snead

Chemist and Executive

Charles Dickinson Snead, a research chemist and longtime executive with the Eastman Kodak Co., died Sept. 29 of renal failure at his home in Alexandria. He died one day before his 96th birthday.

Mr. Snead was born in Fork Union, Va., and graduated from Fork Union Military Academy. He attended the University of Richmond and New York University. After working for Pfizer Inc. in Pennsylvania, he joined Eastman Kodak in Rochester, N.Y., in 1936.

He began as a research chemist and worked on desalinization projects during World War II. He later worked primarily for the company's cellulose products division, designing packaging materials. After he was transferred to the company's chemicals division in Kingsport, Tenn., in the 1960s, Mr. Snead was named vice president of Eastman Kodak's Washington office in 1970. He had several patents for chemical products and machines for making packaging and retired in 1974.

In retirement, Mr. Snead became active in the affairs of Fork Union Military Academy as a trustee of the school and president of the alumni association. He was honored as a distinguished graduate and served on committees that directed the renovation of several campus buildings.

As a resident of Alexandria for 35 years, Mr. Snead took a strong interest in historic preservation issues in Old Town and occasionally served as a media spokesman for preservation efforts. He restored his own house according to historic standards.

He attended the Old Presbyterian Meeting House in Alexandria.

His wife of 55 years, Ruth Spencer Snead, died in 1985.

Survivors include two children, Charles D. Snead Jr. of Scottsdale, Ariz., and Charlotte Snead Steifel of Short Hills, N.J.; a brother, retired Navy Rear Adm. William O. Snead of Annapolis; seven grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

Stanley Richard Mielczarek


Stanley Richard Mielczarek, 80, a physicist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, died Sept. 29 of asbestos-related cancer at his home in Gaithersburg.

Mr. Mielczarek came to the Washington area in 1952 to join the National Bureau of Standards. (The name was changed in 1988.)

During his 38-year career as a scientist, he was a member of the bureau's electron physics group, which conceived of and designed groundbreaking experiments in electron physics and atomic physics.

In 1964, Mr. Mielczarek and two other scientists were awarded the Commerce Department's silver medal for scientific achievement for "outstanding research leading to the discovery and precise measurement of high-energy atomic states in rare gas atoms." Their experiments and instrumentation were quickly adopted by academic and industrial research groups and sold commercially. He retired in 1990.

Mr. Mielczarek was born and raised in Chelsea, Mass. In the early years of World War II, he worked at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Massachusetts. He later joined the Army and served with the 168th Combat Engineers in the European theater. He participated in the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, he graduated from Boston College.

Mr. Mielczarek lived in Chevy Chase before moving to Gaithersburg in 1985 and was a member of St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Gaithersburg. In 2003, he received the Order of Merit from the archdiocese of Washington for his outstanding service to the church.

His marriage to Eugenie Vorburger Mielczarek ended in divorce.

Survivors include two children, John Mielczarek of Cabin John and Mary Mielczarek of Pendleton, Ky., and a brother.