Mary Jane Del Balzo
Capitol Hill Secretary
Mary Jane Del Balzo, 87, a Capitol Hill secretary who served as personal secretary to Sen. Mike Mansfield, a Montana Democrat who became majority leader, died Nov. 14 at her home in Silver Spring. She had a lung ailment.
Mrs. Del Balzo did secretarial work on Capitol Hill starting in 1939, working for House committees and briefly for Sen. Wayne L. Morse of Oregon. She worked for Mansfield from 1952 until his retirement in 1977.
Mary Jane Hals was born in St. Paul, Minn., and received an associate's degree from Tyler Junior College in Texas.
In retirement, she did volunteer work for the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army women's auxiliary, Meals on Wheels and the Seton Guild of St. Ann's Infant and Maternity Home in Hyattsville.
She was a member of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Silver Spring, where she was a Eucharistic minister, and part of its sodality.
Her husband of 42 years, Francis A. Del Balzo, died in 1981.
Survivors include four sons, Francis A. "Tony" Del Balzo Jr. of Riva, Michael Del Balzo of Winchester, Va., Vincent Del Balzo of Olney and Joseph Del Balzo of Severn; a brother; a sister; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandsons.
Robert Denny Sr.
Md. Packing Company Executive
Robert Denny Sr., 81, vice president of the Maryland Tobacco Packing Co. in Upper Marlboro until retiring in 1986, died of cancer Nov. 5 at his home in Brandywine.
Mr. Denny worked at the packing company for more than 30 years. After retiring, he worked as an advisor for the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
He was a founding member of the Brandywine Volunteer Fire Department, a member of the American Legion and was a past member of the Brandywine Lions Club.
A native of Baxter, Tenn., he was a veteran of World War II serving in Europe during and after the war.
Mr. Denny lived in Brandywine for more than 50 years and was known in his community for his sense of humor and story telling.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Joyce Denny of Brandywine; three children, Diana Hancock of Accokeek, Robert R. Denny Jr. of Waldorf and Karen Calabrese of Urbana, Md.; two brothers; two sisters; nine grandchildren; three great-grandchildren.
Elizabeth Beachy Huff
Montgomery County Public School Teacher
Elizabeth Beachy Huff, 80, a retired teacher, died of cardiac arrhythmia and coronary artery disease Oct. 25 at her home in Rockville.
Mrs. Huff taught history and social studies in Montgomery County public schools for more than 33 years, retiring in 1990 from Albert Einstein High School in Kensington.
She was born in Grantsville, Md., and graduated from the University of Maryland. She earned a master's degree in education from the University of Maryland in 1948.
Her husband, Harry Guinn Huff, died in 1988. A daughter, Alice G. Huff, died in 2001.
Survivors include three children, Mary A. Huff of North Bethesda, Amy F. Otto of Mount Airy, Md., and William I. Huff of Bethesda; and five grandchildren.
Virginia 'Ginny' Schwartz
Washington Opera Costume Designer
Virginia "Ginny" Schwartz, 68, a master stitcher who hand-made costumes for the Washington National Opera and numerous other theaters in the D.C. area, died of cancer Nov. 9 at her daughter's home in Gainesville, Fla. She was a former resident of Alexandria.
A skilled artisan, Mrs. Schwartz made costumes for the opera group's actors the past 20 seasons.
"She was the type of professional who put her heart and soul into her work," said Marsha M. LeBoeuf, the opera group's costume director. "The talent in her fingers made her costumes impressive from the audience and up close for the performers. The better the costume, the better the actor feels."
Mrs. Schwartz excelled at creating clothing that was both aesthetically pleasing and durable enough to withstand the rigors of quick costume changes, LeBoeuf said.
Before joining the opera group, Mrs. Schwartz worked at Catholic University, where she was affectionately known as "Costume Goddess," according to her ex-husband, retired Army Capt. Walter Schwartz. At Catholic, she worked about six years as shop manager, resident designer and design instructor.
She did wardrobe and dresser work for locally produced movies while also working in various roles for costume and wardrobe for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Folger Theater, the Olney Theatre and Montgomery College Summer Theatre.
Mrs. Schwartz was a native of Passaic, N.J., and a graduate of Marywood University in Scranton, Pa.
In the 1960s and the 1970s, she accompanied her then-husband on his military assignments in Germany, Italy and elsewhere. During some of that time, she worked for the Southern European radio network, scheduling public service announcements and other programming.
Survivors include five children, Mary Ryngaert of Gainesville, Anne Thorne of Longwood, Fla., Richard Schwartz of Tokyo and Libby Ricker and Clare Schwartz, both of Asheville, N.C.; two brothers; and six grandchildren.