Gertrude M. Heelan, a retired secretary who was active in senior citizens’ associations at several Washington area churches, died Feb. 24 at the Inova Loudoun Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Leesburg, Va. She was 98.

The cause was Alzheimer’s disease, said her daughter, Jean Burden.

Gertrude Belle Maguire was a native of Long Island City, N.Y., and a graduate of Packard Junior College in New York. She was a legal secretary in the early years of her career and later was an administrative assistant to school superintendents on Long Island, leading to her certification as a professional education secretary, her daughter said. Mrs. Heelan settled in Fairfax County in 1983.

For 15 years, Mrs. Heelan served as president of the seniors citizens’ group at her parish, St. Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church in Fairfax County. She also belonged to the senior citizens’ groups at Lord of Life Lutheran Church, also in Fairfax, and St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church in Burke, Va.

Mrs. Heelan’s other memberships included the Burke Centre 55ers social organization and the Civitan community service group.

Her husband of 48 years, John V. Heelan Sr., died in 1984. Her son Thomas Heelan died in 2002.

Survivors include four children, Jean Burden of Lovettsville, Va., John V. Heelan Jr. of Hertford, N.C., Peter R. Heelan of Naples, Fla., and James E. Heelan of Littleton, Colo.; 16 grandchildren; and 25 great-grandchildren.

— Emily Langer