Obituaries of residents from Washington, Maryland and Northern Virginia

Edward J. Collins,

air-traffic controller

Edward J. Collins, 79, a longtime air-traffic controller and supervisor for the Federal Aviation Administration, died March 20 at his home in Sterling, Va. He had complications from melanoma, said a son, Kelly Collins.

Mr. Collins, a native of Chambersburg, Pa., worked from 1956 to 1992 at the Washington Air Route Traffic Control Center in Leesburg, Va., and later managed an air-traffic management project for Computer Science Corp. He was co-owner of a landscaping business in recent years and traveled the world on golfing expeditions.

Richard W. Strindmo,

3M executive

Richard W. Strindmo, 89, who retired in 1989 as a Washington-based manager of government sales and marketing for the conglomerate 3M, died March 9 at a retirement community in Gaithersburg, Md. The cause was acute leukemia, said a daughter, Janet Romsaas.

Mr. Strindmo was born in Minneapolis and received the Purple Heart during his Army service in Europe during World War II. He joined Minnesota-based 3M in 1949 and came to Washington in 1968. He was a member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Gaithersburg and a past board member of Lakewood Country Club in Rockville, Md.

Paul D. Wireman,

Arlington school principal

Paul D. Wireman, 79, an Arlington County public schools teacher and administrator who retired in 1990 as principal of Key Elementary School, died March 9 at a hospital in Fairfax County. The cause was cancer, said his wife, Sandra Novak.

Dr. Wireman, a resident of Burke, Va., was born in Royalton, Ky., and joined the Arlington schools in 1959. He taught business education and was a guidance counselor and an assistant principal during his career. He spent 11 years as principal at Key and started its Spanish-immersion program, one of the first in Arlington.

Betty S. Empson, property

management specialist

Betty S. Empson, 69, a property management specialist at the Department of Interior, died Feb. 26 at a hospital in Virginia Beach. The cause was cancer, said a daughter, Deniece Cheri.

Betty Sue Shumate was born in Beckley, W.Va., and retired from the Interior Department in 1996. Earlier in her career, she worked at the National Park Service, where she helped organize inaugural balls and conducted inspections at national parks. She moved from Falls Church to Virginia Beach in 2005.

Edward N. Kassira,


Edward N. Kassira, 81, an epidemiologist for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene from 1987 until his retirement in 2004, died March 2 after collapsing at a country club in Springfield, Va. The cause was coronary artery disease and respiratory failure, said a son, Firas Kassira.

Dr. Kassira, a Springfield resident, was born in Mosul, Iraq, and moved to the United States in the early 1960s. He taught epidemiology at George Washington University’s medical school from 1968 to 1974, then moved to Baghdad, where he served in the government and was a college dean. He later worked as a contractor with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

R alph S. Smith,

F oreign Service officer

Ralph S. Smith, 92, a retired Foreign Service officer who also worked on arms-control negotiation, died March 7 at an assisted living facility in Kensington, Md. The cause was a stroke, said his wife, Lilian Smith.

Mr. Smith, a Bethesda resident, was born in Yonkers, N.Y. He worked at the State Department and U.S. Information Agency for 16 years and had postings in Europe and Africa. He worked for the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency from 1966 to 1978 and was part of the delegation that negotiated the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. He also served as chairman of the editorial board of the Foreign Service Journal.

Patrick J. McEvaddy,


Patrick J. McEvaddy, 63, a mathematician and scientific analyst at the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for 31 years before retiring in 2009, died Feb. 20 at his home in Washington. The cause was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, said a brother, Hank McEvaddy.

Mr. McEvaddy was born in Brooklyn. During his tenure at APL, he worked on a satellite program that collected data for missile defense systems. He was a lecturer at Johns Hopkins’s school of engineering.

Denise C. McQuighan,

database engineer

Denise C. McQuighan, 55, a database engineer for defense and technology companies, died March 5 at her home in Gaithersburg, Md. The cause was cancer, said her husband, Thomas McQuighan.

Denise Anne Charrier was born in Cincinnati and moved to the Washington area in 1983. She had worked at what is now Lockheed Martin and other companies since 1984. She volunteered with political campaigns in Gaithersburg and with the Children’s Chorus of Washington. Her letters to the editor appeared in The Washington Post and the New York Times.

— From staff reports