Robert E. Mullin Jr.

English Teacher

Robert E. Mullin Jr., 54, a retired English teacher who in the 1980s staged professional productions of Shakespeare plays at Robinson Secondary School in Fairfax City, died Oct. 18 at his home in Cross Junction, Va. He had a stroke.

Mr. Mullin put on the plays through the Fairfax Family Theater, which he founded in the early 1980s as a way to teach Shakespeare as performance.

For the next five years, he served as director, hired professional actors, organized workshops and opened the rehearsals to his students, whom he involved in set design. The theatrical productions drew students from the Washington area.

Mr. Mullin started the program after taking part in a teacher education program at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington.

A native of Arlington and an Eagle Scout, Mr. Mullin graduated from St. Francis Preparatory School in Spring Grove, Pa., and St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa. He received a master's degree in the teaching of English from American University in 1987.

He taught for about year in the mid-1970s at Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington; about five years at James Madison High School in Vienna; and nearly 20 years at Robinson Secondary before retiring on disability in the late 1990s.

He was active in the Fairfax County Democratic Party and once served as campaign manager for a candidate's unsuccessful bid for a seat in the House of Delegates.

He also served on the board of the Hickory Farms Community Association in Fairfax.

His marriage to Rita Thievon Mullin ended in divorce.

Survivors include his wife, Mary Mullin of Cross Junction; two sons from his first marriage, Michael Mullin and Matthew Mullin, both of Fairfax; a sister and a brother.

Alvin F. Gardner

FDA Dentist, Professor

Alvin Frederick Gardner, 85, a dentist with the Food and Drug Administration and a dentistry professor, died of kidney failure Oct. 2 at Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park. He was a resident of Silver Spring.

Dr. Gardner was one of first dentists hired by the FDA, where his duties included reviewing grant applications. He also taught at the dentistry school at the University of Maryland at Baltimore.

He was born in Chicago and received his dentistry degree from Emory University in Atlanta and a PhD from Georgetown University. He served stateside as a dentist in the Army Medical Corps.

After retiring five years ago, he moved to Boca Raton, Fla. He returned to Silver Spring in July.

His first wife, Esther S. Gardner, died in 1981.

Survivors include his wife of 23 years, Ruth M. Gardner of Silver Spring; a daughter from his first marriage, Ava Mendelson of Gaithersburg; and two grandchildren.

Catherine L. Woodward

School Cafeteria Manager

Catherine L. Woodward, 90, a retired Prince George's County schools cafeteria manager, died of heart ailments Oct. 15 at Southern Maryland Hospital Center in Clinton. She had lived in Fort Washington for 50 years.

She was born Catherine Riddle in Crosskeys, Va., near Harrisonburg. From her father's farm, she could see the site where the Battle at Cross Keys was fought during the Civil War.

She graduated from high school in 1931, two years early, and received a Senatorial Scholarship to attend Bridgewater College in Virginia. After two years, however, her funding was stopped because of the Depression, and she had to leave school. She began working in a Harrisonburg shoe factory.

In search of a new line of work, she came to Washington in 1937 and found employment downtown at Garvin's Restaurant. She left the job in 1949 after marrying.

For two years during World War II, Mrs. Woodward was an air-raid warden in Northeast Washington. It was one of the most rewarding times of her life, she told her family. "She said she loved the authority that she wielded in that position," her son said. "She said that during an air-raid drill, everyone had to do just what she said."

In the early 1960s, she started working in school cafeterias in Prince George's, eventually becoming manager at several elementary schools. She worked in at least six schools, including Oxon Hill and Indian Queen elementary schools.

When she was going through a difficult period in the mid-1950s, her mother-in-law invited her to a Billy Graham crusade, and Mrs. Woodward began a life of faith. She was considered a founding member of the Fort Foote Baptist Church in Fort Washington, having witnessed its growth from about a dozen people to a congregation of more than 1,400 members today.

Her husband, Warren A. Woodward, died in 1975.

Survivors include a son, Warren A. Woodward Jr. of Croom; and four grandchildren.