The obituary yesterday of George T. Curtis Jr. omitted the name of his wife, Hazel Curtis, as a survivor. (Published 11/5/93)
George T. Curtis Jr., 84, former president and partner in Curtis Brothers Inc. furniture, died Nov. 3 at Malcolm Grow Medical Center after a heart attack. He was stricken while driving to work on Branch Avenue in Marlow Heights.
Mr. Curtis, a native of Hyattsville, was the last survivor of the five Curtis brothers who opened a family ice-hauling business in Anacostia in 1926, then in 1927 converted the operation into a moving and storage business.
Eventually they acquired five warehouses and opened a retail furniture store that became an Anacostia landmark located on what now is Martin Luther King Jr. Aveue SE with a giant chair displayed in the parking lot.
By 1956 the main Curtis Brothers store on what then was Nichols Avenue was the largest furniture display operation in the Washington area, with branches in Annandale, Rockville and Forestville and more than 300 employees.
In 1975 the store went out of business and the family moved into real estate development with Curtis Properties, based in Suitland. The company developed and operated shopping centers and apartment complexes in Maryland, Virginia and the District.
Mr. Curtis, a resident of Brandywine, was a member of Immanuel United Methodist Church there.
He was a director of the Bank of Brandywine and a member of the advisory board of the Citizens Bank of Maryland.
He also was an amateur airplane and helicopter pilot and a member of the Quiet Birds, an organization of pilots.
His wife of 51 years, the former Lyda Hatton, died in 1985.
Survivors include a son, George T. Curtis III of Brandywine; two stepchildren, Jay Fields of Bryantown, Md., and Carol Disney of Bethesda; four grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
EUGENE KERFOOT RITTER
Eugene Kerfoot Ritter, 84, who retired in 1974 as chief of the mathematics department of the Naval Ordnance Laboratory, died of congestive heart failure Nov. 2 at Meridian Nursing Home in Silver Spring. A resident of the Washington area off and on since 1942, he lived in Rockville.
Dr. Ritter was a native of Blackstone, Va., and a graduate of the University of Richmond. He received a master’s degree and doctorate, both in math, from the University of Virginia.
He served in the Navy during World War II and remained in the Naval Reserve for about 10 years, retiring as a lieutenant commander.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Dr. Ritter was a dial switch man for the Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. in Richmond and taught math at the Citadel, the University of Richmond, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan.
He also taught math and mechanics at the postgraduate school of the Naval Academy.
In the 1950s, Dr. Ritter was director of the computation and ballistics department at the Naval Proving Ground in Dahlgren, Va., and director of the Rich Electronic Computer Center at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was manager of the mathematical analysis department at Lockheed Aircraft and a consulting scientist with Lockheed Missiles before joining the Naval Ordnance Laboratory in 1967. He had published numerous scientific papers.
Dr. Ritter was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, American Mathematical Society, Mathematical Association of America, American Ordnance Association, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Sigma Xi scientific society, Omigron Delta Kappa and Pi Delta Epsilon mathematical societies and Sigma Phi Epsilon social fraternity. He was a deacon and choir member at Montgomery Hills Baptist Church in Silver Spring.
Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Lucille New Ritter of Rockville; two children, Eugene K. Ritter Jr. of Raleigh, N.C., and Martha Ritter of McLean; a sister, Catherine Zeno of Newport News, Va.; and three grandchildren.
HARRY W. McELWAIN
Harry W. McElwain, 77, a Navy captain who retired in 1968 after almost 30 years in antisubmarine warfare and intelligence work, died of cancer Nov. 1 at Arlington Hospital. A resident of the Washington area off and on since 1945, he lived in Falls Church.
Capt. McElwain retired as assistant director of the fleet readiness and training division in the office of the chief of naval operations and then was director of office services for eight years at the Edison Electric Institute in Washington.
He was a native of Deer Lodge, Mont., and a 1939 graduate of the Naval Academy. He also attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, the Navy War College and the Navy Intelligence School.
During World War II he commanded destroyers in the Pacific and Aleutian Islands. Later, he was executive officer of the battleship USS New Jersey in the Atlantic and headed a destroyer squadron and a division. He served in Korean waters during the Korean War and was on the staff of the commander in chief of the Pacific fleet during the Vietnam War.
Capt. McElwain received two awards of the Legion of Merit and a Bronze Star, all with combat V.
He was a member of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Annandale and the Naval Academy Alumni Association.
Survivors include his wife, Joyce S. McElwain of Falls Church; three sons, Larry J. McElwain of Charlottesville, Va., David B. McElwain of Springfield and Christopher J. McElwain of Falls Church; and four grandchildren. A son, Mark T. McElwain, died in 1989.
LEE HOBART WIGREN
Lee Hobart Wigren, 69, a counterintelligence officer who retired in 1981 after 30 years with the CIA, died Nov. 1 at Marshall Manor life care facility in Marshall, Va. A resident of the Washington area since 1951, he lived in Fairfax City.
Mr. Wigren, a specialist in Russian affairs, was assigned to work with the Warren Commission during the investigation of President Kennedy’s assassination.
Mr. Wigren was born in Brockton, Mass. He attended Boston University and graduated from Yale University. He received a master’s degree in history from Harvard University. He served in the Army during World War II.
Mr. Wigren served on the Fairfax City Council between 1972 and 1984 and on the city Planning Commission. While on the council, he organized a committee of the city’s business and university communities and made the proposal that led to construction of an amphitheater near city hall. He also was the city’s representative to the Northern Virginia Planning District Commission and served as its chairman.
Mr. Wigren was a member of the Yale Club of Washington and its schools committee, the Harvard Club, the CIA Retiree Association and several boards and commissions at Fairfax United Methodist Church.
Survivors include his wife of 41 years, Ellen Rader Wigren of Fairfax; two sons, Christopher Wigren of New Haven, Conn., and Eric Wigren of Annandale; and a brother, Russell Wigren of Harwich, Mass.
LOUISE Y. CANBY
Louise Y. Canby, 93, a former real estate broker who from 1950 to 1970 was a partner in Ashton Realty residential real estate, died of pneumonia Nov. 3 at the Hickory Grove care facility in Olney.
Mrs. Canby, who lived in Sandy Spring, was born in Washington, Pa. She graduated from Wellesley College and moved to the Washington area in 1926.
During World War II she taught at the Slade School, a private school for boys in Sandy Spring.
Mrs. Canby had served on the women’s board of Montgomery General Hospital, and she was a volunteer reading teacher to disadvantaged children. She was a member of the Mutual Improvement Association, a women’s group in Sandy Spring.
She had written articles on aging for The Washington Post.
Her husband, T. Yellott Canby, died in 1969.
Survivors include two children, Vertrees Malherbe of Cape Town, South Africa, and Thomas Y. Canby of Clarkesville, Md.; and four grandchildren.
JOHN W. RUDDY
John W. Ruddy, 84, who retired in 1975 after 35 years as a civil engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers, died Nov. 3 at the Powhatan Nursing Home in Falls Church. He had Parkinson’s disease.
Mr. Ruddy was a native of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and a graduate of Pennsylvania State University. Early in his career, he was a surveyor in New York. He worked for the Corps of Engineers in Vicksburg, Miss., Syracuse, N.Y., and Philadelphia before moving to Washington 33 years ago.
He was a member of St. Thomas Apostle Catholic Church in Washington and the Ancient Order of Hibernians.
Survivors include his wife, Mary S. Ruddy of Washington; five children, Kathleen Ricci of Huntington Valley, Pa., Joan Howe and Mary Stephenson, both of Arlington, William Ruddy of Mount Prospect, Ill., and John M. Ruddy of Gaithersburg; a sister, Mary E. Ruddy of Washington; and 16 grandchildren.
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