Frances Juanita DeLee Taylor
Air Force Major, Real Estate Agent
Frances Juanita DeLee Taylor, 73, a retired major in the Air Force, District real estate agent and volunteer, died of complications from Parkinson's disease Dec. 6 at the Washington Home and Hospice, where she lived.
Maj. Taylor was born in Lumberton, N.C., and grew up in Philadelphia and Lake City, S.C. She graduated from Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C., and enlisted in the Air Force in 1954. She was a flight stewardess and drill instructor as an enlistee and then rose to the officer rank. She served in Spain, Vietnam and Hawaii. At Bolling Air Force Base, she was base traffic manager before becoming a member of the inspector general's team that inspected bases in Asia and the Pacific.
She retired from the military in 1974, with a Bronze Star among her awards.
Maj. Taylor became a real estate agent, working for a now-closed agency on Capitol Hill. She was a member of the Washington Association of Realtors and, in 1991, was appointed to a four-year term on the D.C. Board of Real Property Assessment and Appeals. While working as a real estate agent, she graduated from the Computer Learning Center and the International Institute of Interior Design.
As a volunteer, she edited two editions of the National Alliance of Business's Directory of Historically Black Colleges. Her work in leading the NAB-sponsored Youth Motivation Task Force resulted in a 1983 presidential citation from President Ronald Reagan.
She volunteered at the Smithsonian Institution to establish a permanent display of the uniforms of women in the U.S. Air Force. She was a driver for Meals on Wheels, a life member of Africare and a member of the TransAfrica Forum and National Council of Negro Women.
Maj. Taylor served on the board of trustees of the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church and the boards of the United Planning Organization and Friendship House, where she was chairman of its annual fundraiser.
In 1990, she was inducted into the National Black College Hall of Fame for community service.
Survivors include her husband of 38 years, Roswell A. Taylor Jr. of Washington; a stepson, Kevin Taylor Sr. of Dover, Del.; a brother; two sisters; and four grandchildren.
Sharon Rachael PremDas
Caribbean Carnival Founder
Sharon Rachael Cherrie PremDas, 57, a software librarian, bank manager and one of the founders of the District's annual Caribbean Carnival, died of breast cancer Dec. 3 at Sibley Memorial Hospital.
A native of Port of Spain, Trinidad, in the West Indies, Mrs. PremDas was among the people who in 1992 launched what is now the third largest Caribbean festival in the United States. With the Georgia Avenue festival firmly established, she then helped start the Trinidad and Tobago Masqueraders, in whose spirit she joyfully paraded and danced each June.
The vivacious Mrs. PremDas became a stewardess with British West Indian Airways and flew throughout the Caribbean and the Americas, enjoying Mardi Gras and carnivals at all the stops. She married in 1977 and moved to Washington.
She went to work at Interstate Federal Savings & Loan, rising from bank teller to branch manager. She studied advanced banking and management through the Savings and Loan Institute and was assistant to the vice president of the successor institution, Home Federal Savings & Loan, by the time she left the business in 1995.
She then worked for FYI Inc., a technology consulting firm in Washington, and worked at Coast Guard headquarters as a software librarian.
Mrs. PremDas, a District resident, volunteered at Alice Deal Junior High, leading its soccer team on a tour of matches in Trinidad and Tobago.
Survivors include her husband of 28 years, Philip L. PremDas of Washington; two children, Philip Siddons PremDas and Rachael Marie PremDas, both of Washington; two sisters; and two brothers.
Bernard A. MeJean
Bernard A. MeJean, 50, the owner of ACX Inc., a heating, ventilation and air conditioning company in Springfield, died of thyroid cancer Nov. 18 at his home in Springfield.
Mr. MeJean was born in Casablanca, Morocco, and later moved to Alexandria. He graduated from T.C. Williams High School and entered the Army, where he served as a small-arms repair specialist in Germany.
After his military service, he spent two years in California, then returned to Virginia, where he received an associate degree in computer science from Northern Virginia Community College. He became a sales representative for several companies, including Arey Co., a heating, ventilation and air conditioning concern based in Maryland.
About seven years ago, Mr. MeJean bought the company and formed ACX (stands for air conditioning excellence), which does residential and commercial work in the Washington area.
In 2002, Mr. MeJean received a diagnosis of thyroid cancer. He joined the Thyroid Cancer Survivors' Association and shared information with other members. He also belonged to several trade organizations.
His marriage to Nancy Jennings ended in divorce.
Survivors include two children, Madeline MeJean and Eric MeJean, both of Springfield; his mother, Mary Jo Wasylyk, and stepfather, William Wasylyk, both of Falls Church; and a brother.
Robert B. Lewis
Robert "Bob" B. Lewis, 82, an electronics engineer, died of complications from coronary bypass surgery Nov. 10 at Washington Adventist Hospital. He lived in Rockville.
Mr. Lewis was employed at the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in White Oak, where he worked on technical projects such as missile fire control systems for submarines and submarine defense systems. He retired in 1975.
He was born in Wilkinsburg, Pa., and was raised in Frederick. He graduated from Frederick High School and then from the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics in 1940, earning an aircraft and engine mechanic's license. He moved to Douglas, Ga., to work as an aircraft mechanic and joined the Army Air Corps Reserve. He was activated in 1943 and served in the United States during World War II.
After the war, he moved to Greenbelt and graduated from the University of Maryland. In 1950, he moved to Rockville.
Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Willie Lewis of Rockville; four children, Steve Lewis of Silver Spring, Tom Lewis of Annapolis, Bill Lewis of Damascus and Bobbi Lewis of Gaithersburg; a brother, Basil C. Lewis of Melbourne, Fla.; a sister, Edith Duff of Frederick; and eight grandchildren.
Donald Earle Lewis
Donald Earle Lewis, 80, who was a United Methodist minister in the Baltimore-Washington Conference for 25 years, died of cardiac arrest Nov. 22 at his home in Pearcy, Ark.
Mr. Lewis served from 1945 to 1970 and was chairman of the Board of Child Care of the Methodist Church. He also served at numerous churches, including Eastport in Annapolis, Hamline in Washington and First United Methodist in Hyattsville. In 1960, he published the book "Prayer Power, Living the Lord's Prayer."
He was born in Baltimore and graduated from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel College) and Wesley Theological Seminary.
He served in the infantry in the Army's Rainbow Division, the first in the corps to enter German soil during World War II. He was among the soldiers who opened the gates of the Dachau concentration camp.
Later, Mr. Lewis volunteered as a chaplain in the Korean War and served on the front lines, including the battle of Pork Chop Hill. He was awarded a Bronze Star and a Bronze Star with an Oak Leaf Cluster for saving wounded men under fire.
When he retired from the ministry, he worked for the Social Security Administration as head of human resources in New York. He moved to Pearcy in 1985.
His marriage to Norma Lewis ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife of 33 years, Jackie Lewis of Pearcy; three children from his first marriage, Gloria Simpson and Donna Lewis, both of Columbia, and Robert Koenig of Greenland, N.H.; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
James Norton Ayres
James Norton Ayres, 86, an explosives engineer who also was a musician and choir director, died Nov. 23 of kidney disease at a hospital in Hanover, N.H. A former resident of the Washington area, he had lived for the past 30 years in Granville, N.Y., and Windsor, Vt.
Mr. Ayres was born in Granville and graduated from Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vt., and in 1941 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.
He came to Washington during World War II and spent more than 30 years as an explosives engineer with the Naval Surface Warfare Center in White Oak. He worked on developing weapons and on projects for the space program. He retired in 1975.
Mr. Ayres, whose mother was a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, was a talented musician and singer. In 1975, he received a master's degree in liturgical music from Catholic University.
During World War II, he played viola in a chamber orchestra that performed for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British leader Winston Churchill at Christ Church in Alexandria. He sang tenor in a variety of choral groups, including the Paul Hill Chorale, and performed at the Kennedy Center.
He particularly enjoyed writing and arranging music and was a skilled conductor. He sometimes wrote and arranged music to be sung by his six children.
Mr. Ayres occasionally worked backstage or in the lighting booth or orchestra pit for the Washington Civic Opera, Montgomery Light Opera Association and Adventure Theatre, a children's theater in Glen Echo. He also helped organize a fine arts festival, drawing on the musical talents of employees of the Naval Ordnance Laboratory and Naval Surface Warfare Center.
He directed the choir at Northwood Presbyterian Church and was a member of Grace Episcopal Church, both in Silver Spring. He also was an organist.
In 1975, Mr. Ayres moved back to his hometown of Granville, where he conducted church choirs, sang at churches and in vocal groups and helped found a recycling center. He also was an adjunct professor of music at Adirondack Community College in Queensbury, N.Y. He was a member of the American Guild of Organists.
His wife of 59 years, Elizabeth Jones Ayres, died in 2002.
Survivors include six children, Susannah Ayres-Thomas of Milwaukee, Janet A. Aloisio of Windsor, Vt., Megan S. Ayres of Crofton, Sarah A. Bloxham of Acton, Calif., Mary A. Trimble of Elizabethtown, Pa., and Jonathon Ayres of Las Cruces, N.M.; 11 grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
Helena B. Fandino
Helena B. Fandino, 80, who worked at Washington Adventist Hospital for 20 years, died Nov. 8 of bladder cancer at her home in Silver Spring.
She retired in 1992 from the hospital's laundry department.
Ms. Fandino was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, and came to the United States in 1968. She lived in Washington before moving to Silver Spring.
She was a member of the Takoma Park Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Survivors include a son, Richard Fandino; a brother; a sister; and a granddaughter.