Cynthia S. Newman, 91, who owned and operated Waters Travel Service in Washington for more than 40 years and served a four-year term as secretary of the commonwealth of Virginia, died May 9 at her home in Falls Church.

The cause was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, said a daughter, N. Stair Calhoun.

Mrs. Newman and her second husband bought Waters Travel around 1960, and she became president after his death in 1966. She ran the business until selling it about a decade ago.

In the 1950s, she was elected to the Fairfax County Republican Committee and then was a Republican national committeewoman from Virginia. She twice ran unsuccessfully for the Virginia General Assembly: the House in 1953 and the state Senate in 1979.

Virginia Gov. A. Linwood Holton Jr. (R) named her secretary of the commonwealth in 1970, and the position gave her authority over appointments to governing boards and commissions.

Cynthia Stair Dalrymple, a Minneapolis native, attended Smith College in Northampton, Mass., for three years and then entered the University of Virginia’s law school, where she graduated in 1944. She was a past president of the Smith alumni club of Washington.

She had been a board member of the National Symphony Orchestra, the YWCA of the National Capital Area and Bryce Resort in Basye-Bryce Mountain, Va.

Her first marriage, to Edward Zimmerman, ended in divorce. In 1958, she married Carson B. “Newt” Newman.

Survivors include three children from her first marriage, Robert Zimmerman and N. Stair Calhoun, both of Falls Church and Pamela Brislin of Hamilton, Mass.; two children from her second marriage, Tracy Mestres of Pacific Palisades, Calif., and Christopher Newman of Bozeman, Mont.; a sister; 11 grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

— Adam Bernstein