The Washington Post
Obituaries of residents from the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia.
Ellen C. Midlam, volunteer

Ellen C. Midlam, 75, a volunteer since 1974 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda and a past president of the hospital’s auxiliary organization, died April 5 at the hospital. The cause was complications from pulmonary hypertension and kidney failure, said her husband, Kenneth Midlam.

Mrs. Midlam, a Potomac resident, was born Ellen Cunliffe in Latrobe, Pa. With Suburban’s auxiliary, she helped start fund-raising events that raised more than $1 million, her family said. The hospital named her volunteer of the year in 2013 to recognize her lifetime service of 21,000 hours. She was a member and past deacon at Saint Mark Presbyterian Church in Rockville.

Frances Guffey, administrative assistant

Frances Guffey, 90, an administrative assistant at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda from 1974 to 1982, died April 5 at a retirement community in Gaithersburg. The cause was dementia, said a daughter, Karen Guffey Silver.

Mrs. Guffey, a former Bethesda resident, was born Frances Spearman in Magnolia, N.C. She did administrative work at the Labor Department from 1942 to 1952, followed by three years with the Army Department in Tokyo. She was a past member of Bethesda First Baptist Church.

Nora Webster, Pentagon employee

Nora Webster, 101, an administrative assistant for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the late 1950s and 1960s, died April 5 at her home in McLean. The cause was complications from colon cancer, said a granddaughter, Kathleen Bresette.

Mrs. Webster was born Nora Splawn in Washington. She accompanied her husband on Air Force assignments before returning to the Washington area in 1957. Her memberships included John the Baptist Catholic Church in McLean, Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians and the Arlington Northwest Lions Club.

Joyce Barendsen, docent

Joyce Barendsen, 92, a docent at the National Gallery of Art from the 1960s to 1990s, died March 28 at a hospital in Bethesda. The cause was complications from a gastric procedure, said a cousin-in-law, Richard Barendsen.

Mrs. Barendsen was born Joyce Pullon in Milford, Conn., and did administrative work at the Pentagon during the Korean War. She spent years writing and lecturing about Wallace Nutting, a Connecticut-based photographer and antiquarian. Mrs. Barendsen was a resident of Colesville, Md., where she and her husband restored a Revolutionary War-era farmhouse.

Peter “Petre” Kvedelidze, VOA correspondent

Peter “Petre” Kvedelidze, 95, a native of what is now the Republic of Georgia who became a correspondent with the Voice of America’s Georgian desk from 1967 to 1985, died March 27 at his home in Washington. The cause was a heart ailment, said a family friend, Elisabeth Kvitashvili.

Mr. Kvedelidze was born in Tbilisi and served in the Soviet army before being taken prisoner by the Germans during World War II. He then enlisted in the German army and, fearing Soviet reprisals after the war, joined the French Foreign Legion; he lost a leg during service in Indochina. In recent years, he visited soldiers from the Georgian army undergoing rehabilitation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda.

Phyllis Van Neste, research analyst

Phyllis Van Neste, 87, a CIA research analyst who specialized in Soviet affairs, died April 5 at a retirement facility in Fairfax County. The cause was congestive heart failure, said her son-in-law, Howard Owens.

Mrs. Van Neste was born in Annapolis. She joined the CIA in 1948 and retired in 1983, having taken leave for four years in the 1960s to be at home with her children. Her avocations included creative writing.

Margaret Lazar, CPA

Margaret Lazar, 68, a certified public account who practiced and lived in Fairfax County and later Castleton, in Rappahannock County, Va., died March 18 at her home in Castleton. The cause was pancreatic cancer, said her husband, Emery Lazar.

Mrs. Lazar, an ethnic Hungarian, was born Margaret Cirner in a camp for World War II refugees in Braunau, Austria. She came to the United States at 4 and settled in the Washington area in 1972. She opened her accounting business in Fairfax County in the 1980s, then moved to Castleton in 1999, continuing to work there until 2012. She was active in the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, where she helped establish partnership relations with Unitarian Universalist churches in Romania and India.

J. Robert Grille, public accountant

J. Robert Grille, 90, a public accountant who had co-owned and operated the firm of Grille and Ellis in Falls Church, died March 30 at a hospital in Arlington. The cause was a heart attack, said a family friend, Liz Glowa.

Mr. Grille, a Falls Church resident, was born in McLean. He spent nearly 20 years in accounting before starting a firm with Betty Ellis in 1973. Around that time, he was a plaintiff in a successful lawsuit that challenged a Virginia statute restricting the use of the term “public accountant” unless they were certified or registered public accountants. Mr. Grille was a past president of what is now the National Society of Accountants and the Accountants Society of Virginia, and a deacon and elder at Falls Church Presbyterian Church.

Orville W. Donnelly, doctor

Orville W. Donnelly, 91, a partner in a Washington internal medical practice for 25 years, died March 28 at his home in Kennett Square, Pa. The cause was dementia, said a daughter, Liza Donnelly.

Dr. Donnelly was born in Trenton, N.J., and moved to Washington in 1949. He was a teacher and assistant to the headmaster at the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington before establishing the medical practice of Donnelly, Sadin, Talpers and Wilkinson in 1961. He was on the clinical faculty at George Washington University’s medical school and worked in the medical school’s admissions department.

— From staff reports

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