Obituaries of residents from the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia.
Wayne M. Shelly, 63, an economist with the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics until his retirement in January, died June 25 at a health-care center in Rockville, Md. The cause was cancer, said a daughter, Lauren Shelly.
Mr. Shelly was born in Washington. He began working at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 1976. He was a resident of Rockville, where he taught confirmation classes at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.
David P. Larsen, 86, a retired lieutenant colonel who served in the Army Corps of Engineers and then became town manager of Herndon, Va., died June 17 at his home in Herndon. The cause was Parkinson’s disease, said a daughter, Ruth Osborn.
Col. Larsen, a Pittsburgh native, joined the Army in 1951 and served in engineering assignments in Korea, West Germany and the Panama Canal Zone. His final active-duty assignment, in 1974, was as chief of the Corps of Engineers’ installations branch at the Pentagon.
As a civilian, Col. Larsen spent more than five years working for the city of Alexandria’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services. He was director of public works in Herndon from 1980 to 1985, followed by three years as town manager. In those capacities, he presided over an overhaul of Herndon’s sewer and water system and major street reconstructions.
He resigned in 1988 after a dispute with the mayor and members of the Town Council involving his refusal to follow their orders to demand resignations of the Herndon police chief and director of finance over charges of poor management.
Bertha Mae Thacker, 93, a former customer service representative at the Sears, Roebuck store on Alabama Avenue in Southeast Washington, died June 21 at her home in Capitol Heights, Md. The cause was complications from dementia, said a son, Brent Thacker.
She was born Bertha Mae Law in Rocky Mount, Va., and settled in the Washington area in 1954. She worked at Sears from the early 1960s to the early 1980s.
Frankalee “Frankie” Hull, 83, a retired Fairfax County teacher and a master gardener who won floral design prizes at flower shows, died June 16 at her home in Annandale, Va. The cause was congestive heart failure, said a daughter, Lianne Griffin.
She was born Frankalee E. Richard in Fort Collins, Colo., and had lived in the Washington area since 1969. From 1970 to 1990, she was a life-science teacher and science department chair at Key Intermediate School in Springfield, Va. She grew orchids and was certified as a master gardener by the American Horticultural Society. She was also certified by the National Garden Club Association as a flower-show judge.
Rachel A. Wilhelm, 37, a press officer with NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, died June 30 at her home in Arlington, Va. The cause was metastatic breast cancer, said her mother-in-law, Sally Squires.
She was born Rachel A. Weintraub in Hicksville, N.Y., and lived in the Washington area for 20 years. As a press officer at NOAA, she helped coordinate information about the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. She left NOAA in 2011 to become a stay-at-home mother.
She was a NASA press officer for three years before joining NOAA. At her death, she was a member of the executive committee of the Ashton Heights Civic Association in Arlington and news editor of its community newsletter.
James Spencer Dryden, 106, a Washington ophthalmologist for 50 years, in private practice, at Walter Reed Army Hospital and as chief of ophthalmology at the old Doctors Hospital and at Washington Hospital Center, died June 14 at his home in Punta Gorda, Fla. A daughter, Kay Dryden, said he stopped eating. According to the death certificate, he died of anorexia.
Dr. Dryden was born in Poquoson, Va. During the 1930s, he was a medical officer for the Civilian Conservation Corps based in Baltimore. He practiced at Walter Reed during World War II and then had a private ophthalmology practice in Washington until retiring in 1991. He was a past president of the Medical Society of the District of Columbia.
From 1966 until 1996, Dr. Dryden and his wife owned and managed a Swiss Simmental cattle farm in Westmoreland County, Va. He also had a home in Bethesda, Md., before settling in Florida.
Elizabeth “Betty” Varga, 94, a public health nurse/administrator for Montgomery County for more than 20 years, died June 18 at her home in Silver Spring, Md. The cause was advanced dementia, said a son, Stevan Varga.
She was born Ludenia Elizabeth Nunes in Marysville, Calif. During World War II, she was an Army nurse serving aboard medical evacuation aircraft carrying wounded service personnel from Pacific battle sites to California. After settling in the Washington area in 1970, she worked in nursing capacities for Montgomery County until the 1990s.
Kenneth P. Michaelian, 92, a civil engineer who retired 35 years ago from the U.S. Geological Survey, died May 12 at a hospital in Rockville, Md. The cause was sepsis, said a daughter, Katherine Michaelian.
A resident of Rockville, he was born in Jersey City, N.J. He served in the Army Air Forces in the Pacific during World War II and settled in the Washington area in the 1950s. He worked 28 years at the USGS, retiring as chief of its branch of photogrammetry.
In retirement, he was a regular participant in activities at the Rockville Senior Center.
— From staff reports