Carmella Grynkiewicz, who retired in 2000 as executive assistant to the president of the Brick Institute of America, a trade association in Northern Virginia, died June 17 at Inova Fair Oaks Hospital. She was 77.

The cause was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, said her son, Michael Miller. Mrs. Grynkiewicz was a longtime Falls Church resident and lived in Sterling at the time of her death.

Mrs. Grynkiewicz had worked for the Brick Institute for 25 years. She previously co-managed the Nova Coin and Stamp shops in Washington and Alexandria and worked in human resources at what was then Cafritz Memorial Hospital. She began her career as an administrative assistant to Washington builder Morris Cafritz in 1954.

Carmella Rose Turturro was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and came to the Washington area as a baby. She was a 1952 graduate of Anacostia High School in Southeast Washington.

She volunteered with the Fairfax County Police Department and belonged to the Lioness Club.

Her first marriage, to John G. Miller, ended in divorce. Her second husband, Earl F. Blaisdell, died in 1994 after 23 years of marriage. In 1996, The Washington Post published an article about Blaisdell’s struggle with multiple sclerosis and his wife’s efforts to care for him as he ended his life by forgoing food.

Survivors include her husband of 13 years, Eugene Grynkiewicz of Sterling; two children from her first marriage, Michael Miller of Vienna and Elaine Simpson of Centreville; two stepdaughters, Debi Pryor of Finksburg, Md., and Lynn Carpenter of Wilmington, Del.; a brother, Michael Turturro of Hamilton, in Loudoun County; a sister, Paula Molder of Memphis; seven grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

— Emily Langer