Obituaries of residents from the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia.
Ghafour Youssefiani, 90, who served as an Iranian representative to the Vienna-based Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and was among the OPEC officials held hostage in 1975 by the terrorist Carlos the Jackal, died Jan. 27 at his home in Tehran. The cause was Alzheimer’s disease, said a son, Mehrdad Youssefiani.
Mr. Youssefiani, who also had a home in Potomac, Md., was born in Hamadan, Iran, to a family of Kurdish heritage. He spent his early career as an engineer and also worked on creating jet fuels. He became a chief representative of National Iranian Oil to the Far East, according to his family, before being named a representative to OPEC.
At an OPEC meeting in December 1975, he was among dozens taken hostage by Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, known as Carlos the Jackal, but was released after 72 hours and a ransom settlement, according to his family. After the Islamic revolution in 1979, he was placed before a puppet court and sentenced to eight years in prison, his family said. He was barred from leaving the country for about two years but soon settled in the Washington area.
Clifford Bates, 86, a Washington firefighter from 1954 to 1977, died Jan. 20 at his home in Charlotte Hall, Md. The cause was a heart ailment, said a sister-in-law, Patricia Farmer.
Remembering those who have died in 2018.
Mr. Bates was born in Barrington, Ill. He was a Boy Scout leader and grand knight of the St. Pius X Council of the Knights of Columbus in Forestville, Md.
John Kern III, 89, a judge on the D.C. Court of Appeals for more than 40 years, died Jan. 30 at his home in Arlington, Va. The cause was complications from pneumonia and Alzheimer’s disease, said his wife, Margaret “Peggie” Cantlin-Kern.
Judge Kern was appointed in 1968 by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the D.C. Court of Appeals, which is the judicial equivalent of a state supreme court. He was the longest-serving judge on that appellate bench when he retired in 2011.
In 1998, Judge Kern was appointed a special master to investigate whether Kenneth W. Starr, the independent counsel of the Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky investigations during the Clinton administration, had illegally leaked to the news media grand jury information involving the sexual relationship between President Bill Clinton and White House intern Monica Lewinsky. In 1999, Judge Kern submitted a report exonerating Starr of the allegations.
He was born in Indianapolis and served in the CIA, the Justice Department and the law firm of Kilpatrick, Ballard and Beasley before he was named to the appeals court.
Helene McCarthy, 79, a Chinese brush painter who taught in art programs of the Smithsonian Institution, Chinese schools in the Washington area, and at neighborhood recreational and senior citizen centers, died Jan. 13 at a hospital in Bethesda, Md. The cause was a subdural hematoma from an accidental fall at her home in Silver Spring, Md., said a daughter, Mary McCarthy.
Mrs. McCarthy was born Thi Hue Le in Haiphong in what then was French Indochina. Her family moved to Saigon, in South Vietnam, after the country was partitioned in 1954. In 1971, she came to Washington with her husband, a former Voice of America officer.
For the past 10 years, Mrs. McCarthy had been caretaker of the Thien Hau Buddhist Temple in Silver Spring. She was an officer of the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association, the Friends of Hong Kong and Macau Association, and the Indochina Benevolent Association. She had several one-woman shows of her Chinese brush paintings and was known by her brush name, “Mai-Shih.”
Thomas Donohue, 93, a Foreign Service political officer whose overseas posts included Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, died Jan. 30 at his home in Arlington, Va. The cause was complications from dementia, said a nephew, Gerry Donohue.
Mr. Donohue was born in Chicago. He served in the Foreign Service from 1952 to 1980, then spent four years as a board member of Landoil Resources, a Filipino company that managed port facilities around the world.
David Pye, 75, a naval engineer who retired in 2001 as director for the reactor engineering division of a joint program of the Navy and the Energy Department, died Jan. 27 at a health-care center in Warrenton, Va. The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease, said a daughter, Jenn Johannes.
Mr. Pye, a resident of Orlean, Va., was born in Hartford, Conn. He was a Navy officer from 1963 to 1969. He was assigned to the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, and he continued that work as a civilian until retirement. After retiring, he was an investigator for NASA into the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster, in which seven astronauts died. He was a woodworker and a photographer.
Ann Haithcock, 95, a secretary for 40 years with the AFL-CIO and the predecessor union, the Congress of Industrial Organizations, died Feb. 5 at a hospital in Bloomington, Ind. The cause was a heart ailment, said a nephew Michael Kelsey.
Mrs. Haithcock was born Ann Benedict in Winslow, Ind., and moved to Washington as a child. In 1940, she began working for the CIO as secretary to president Philip Murray. He died in 1952, and the CIO merged with the American Federation of Labor in 1955. She retired in 1980. She moved to Bloomington from Washington in 2017.
Elijah Titus Jr., 94, a Washington obstetrician who retired in 1992, died Feb. 11 at a hospital in the District. The cause was sepsis, said a son, Elijah Titus III.
Dr. Titus was a Washington native and resident. He was co-founder in 1965 and a partner of a medical practice, Foxhall OB/GYN Associates. He was a clinical instructor at George Washington University medical school. He was a former president of the Chevy Chase Club and a Boy Scout volunteer.
— From staff reports