Obituaries of residents from the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia.
Lois Long, 87, an art teacher in the adult education programs of the Fairfax County Public Schools and the University of Maryland in the 1970s and 1980s, died Jan. 8 at a hospital in Fairfax County, Va. The cause was a hemorrhagic stroke, said a daughter, Tanagra Cafferky.
Mrs. Long was born Lois Culver in Frankfort, Ind., and settled in the Washington area in 1957. In addition to her adult education work, she also had a ceramics studio at her home in Falls Church, Va., and taught private ceramics lessons. Under the auspices of the nonprofit Partners of the Americas, she visited Brazil to help with missions involving the development of the ecotourism and crafts industries.
Daniel Olmsted, 64, a journalist who served as a senior editor with USA Today, became an investigative reporter with the UPI wire service and helped start a blog that purported to link vaccines to the developmental disorder autism, died Jan. 23 at his home in Falls Church Va.
The cause was an overdose of prescription medication, said his spouse, Mark Milett. A spokeswoman for the Fairfax County Medical Examiner said a final ruling was pending further tests.
Mr. Olmsted, a Chicago native, joined USA Today as a founding editor in 1982 and spent many years with its magazine. He went to UPI in 1999 and co-wrote investigative stories about the antimalarial drug mefloquine (marketed as Lariam) and examined cases involving side effects including hallucinations, anxiety and depression.
The stories received an award from the National Mental Health Association. In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about the drug’s potential to cause long-term neurological damage and serious psychiatric side effects but said it was “a very effective drug that is well tolerated by most people who take it.”
After reporting for a UPI series called “Age of Autism,” Mr. Olmsted left in 2007 to start ageofautism.com, which alleged an autism “epidemic” caused by vaccines. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “there is no link between vaccines and autism.”
Luisa Joy Labez, 62, who spent 26 years with the Government Accountability Office and had been assistant director of its international affairs and trade team, died Jan. 22 at her home Arlington, Va. The cause was cancer, said a sister, Pat Muntz.
Ms. Labez, a Manila native, worked in Honolulu as a senior planner for the state of Hawaii’s court system before settling in the Washington area in 1991. She received GAO meritorious service awards for her work involving transparency in international food assistance programs. She was a Hawaiian dancer and senior lead instructor for Halau Ho’omau I ka Wai Ola O Hawai’i, the Alexandria, Va.-based Hawaiian cultural school.
Gordon Pavy, 67, a union official who retired in 2011 as the AFL-CIO’s director of collective bargaining, died Jan. 26 at a hospice center in Bethesda, Md. The cause was complications from cancer, said a son-in-law, Ryan Cunningham.
Mr. Pavy was born in Dayton, Ohio, and settled in the Washington area around 1980. He spent many years in the Teamsters’s industrial union department before joining the AFL-CIO’s corporate affairs department in 1997. He was a past national president of the Labor and Employment Relations Association and a principal in the AFL-CIO Union Veterans Council.
He coached youth baseball travel and recreational leagues in Montgomery County. In retirement, he coached JV baseball at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md., his city of residence.
Helen Thompson, 96, a retired program director and scholarship administrator at the University of Maryland, died Jan. 8 at a senior living community in Adamstown, Md. The cause was congestive heart failure, said a son, Richard Thompson.
Mrs. Thompson was born Helen Cousins in Sharon, Pa. She was a secretary at High Point High School in Beltsville, Md., where she lived for nearly four decades, before joining the University of Maryland in 1967. She retired in 1978. She participated in activities with U-Md.’s Terrapin Club and belonged to Frederick Presbyterian Church in Frederick, Md.
Paris McIntyre, 89, a retired Air Force sergeant who became a teletype operator at the Export-Import Bank of the United States and a cryptographic operator with AlliedSignal, died Jan. 16 at his home in Hyattsville, Md. The cause was complications from diabetes, said his wife, Lorna McIntyre.
Sgt. McIntyre was born in Isabella, Pa. He served about 20 years in the Air Force and was a middleweight fighter before retiring in 1967. He worked for the Export-Import bank from 1974 to 1985, followed by 11 years at AlliedSignal, the aerospace, automotive and engineered materials company.
John Berbert, 88, a NASA scientist who retired in 2003 from the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., died Dec. 24 at a care center in Rockville, Md. The cause was complications from a stroke, said a son, Michael Berbert.
Mr. Berbert, who lived in Rockville, was born at Fort Belvoir, Va., the son of an Army officer. He joined NASA in 1956 and retired as technical manager of a unit dealing with applications, contracts and university grants. He was a trip leader of the Goddard Ski Club.
Patrick Cummings, 77, retired resident engineer with Washington’s Metro system, died Jan. 6 at his home in Silver Spring, Md. The cause was Alzheimer’s disease, said a son, Stephon Cummings.
Mr. Cummings was born in Berbice, Guyana. He settled in Washington in 1967 and began working with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority shortly thereafter. He retired in 2001.
Isabel Cassidy Bligh, 83, a teacher and reading specialist who retired in the early 1990s from Thomas Edison High School in Alexandria, Va., died Dec. 28 at a senior living community in Springfield, Va. The cause was pneumonia, said a daughter, Laura Bligh.
Mrs. Bligh, a longtime Fairfax County resident, was born Isabel Cassidy in Washington. She taught in D.C. Public Schools in the 1950s and 1960s, later moving to what is now Fairfax County’s Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and then Edison High, both in Alexandria. She was a faculty adviser to “It’s Academic” quiz show teams and coordinated Black History Month events. She was a member of Mount Vernon Unitarian Church in Alexandria.
— From staff reports