Arlington’s Maywood neighborhood lost its foremost historian last month.
Robert McAtee, the community’s oldest resident, died Aug. 10 at the age of 100. A colorful local figure, “Mac” was a captain in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was known for his love of collectables, Scottish history and of telling tales of “old Arlington.”
Members of Maywood’s neighborhood listserv were informed of McAtee’s passing last week. The email included an obituary, written by Maywood resident Peter Harnik.
The obit is reprinted, with permission, below.
Robert McAtee, the oldest resident of Arlington’s Maywood neighborhood, died on Sunday, August 10. He was just two months shy of 101 and had lived in the same house for 98 years.
Universally known as “Mac,” Mr. McAtee was an institution in the county, attending community meetings and high school reunions in the kilt of his Scottish kinsmen and regaling all listeners with scrupulously accurate stories of old Arlington. An inveterate collector, Mac is reported to have had more than 20,000 license plates and 1,000 books of Scottish history along with cameras, buttons, stamps, coins, fossils, and much more.
He attended Cherrydale Elementary School (since demolished) and enjoyed telling stories of clambering along (and under) the trestle of the old Washington and Old Dominion Railroad. He also attended Washington-Lee High School, where he was a proud member of the Cadet Corps. After graduation in 1932, he began his working life at the Government Printing Office, where he worked until being drafted into the Army of the US in the fall of 1941. Mac was selected to attend Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, GA where he graduated with Class 13. He served for three years and was honorably discharged as a Captain. To further contribute to the war effort, Mac subsequently volunteered for the US Maritime Service.
At the conclusion of World War II, Mac returned to Maywood. He attended Columbia Tech where he studied electrical engineering. He worked for General Electric for a short time until he began managing a trailer rental lot on Lee Highway. In 1955 he purchased a trailer rental business at Seven Corners which he operated for over 45 years.
Mac had one sister but was never married and leaves no survivors. In recent years he was cared for by his long-time friend Robert Beck, Katherine Skerl, and care-givers Denora, Amy, and Marina.
In addition to good health, he also had a prodigious memory. Almost until the end he could rattle off the names of every family member in virtually every house in Maywood in the 1930s. He delighted showing visitors his collection of 24 letters and postcards – each with a different address – that had arrived at his house. The house didn’t change, but over the years its street name, city name, post office, zip code and other identifiers did.
Mac also reported that his family was the first in the neighborhood to install indoor plumbing. He told of the regular deliveries of milk, eggs, coal and blocks of ice, and he pointed out the location of small shops and the kindergarten within what is now the residential neighborhood.
He was perhaps best known in the neighborhood for annually renewing his automobile’s license plate with his updated age, usually entwining Roman numerals with his initials. Even though he wasn’t able to drive at the end, he kept his car, and at his death his plate spelled simply “RBM 100″.
Mr. McAtee took part in many recorded remembrances and also bequeathed much of his historically significant collection to the Virginia Room of the Arlington Library.
A memorial service will be held in the Fall.
After the jump: McAtee’s memories of Arlington in the first half of the 20th century, reprinted with permission. (more…)
Windsor was a rescue technician aboard the U.S. Park Police Eagle 1 helicopter on Jan. 13, 1982, when Flight 90, taking off from National Airport during a snowstorm, lost altitude and crashed into the bridge before plunging into the icy Potomac River.
With roads clogged due to the snowstorm, emergency crews had trouble reaching the crash site, and those that did were ill-equipped to rescue the survivors from the water. Windsor and Eagle 1 pilot Donald Usher arrived less than 20 minutes after the crash and began plucking survivors from the river and bringing them to shore.
In bad weather, with the helicopter skids at one point dipping into the water, Windsor and Usher’s efforts were daring — but ultimately pivotal in saving the lives of the five survivors. The rescues earned the pair a valor award from the Interior Department and the Carnegie Hero Fund medal.
Windsor, a Rockville native, most recently lived at Surfside Beach, S.C. He leaves behind his wife of 42 years, Maureen, several sons and daughters, 16 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, according to his obituary.
Windsor was 74.
Tom Sarris Dies — Tom Sarris, proprietor of former Rosslyn restaurant staples like The Covered Wagon and Tom Sarris’ Orleans House, has died. Sarris died in Arlington on Saturday at the age of 89. [Dignity Memorial]
Sparket Launches Today — Crystal City’s arts and crafts market, dubbed the “Sparket,” launches today on the sidewalk in front of 1900 Crystal Drive. It will open from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The market is run by the same management company that runs the flea markets at Eastern Market and on U Street. [Crystal City]
Metro > NYC Subway? — When complaining about Metrorail, many critics like to compare it unfavorably to New York City’s Subway system. However, Arlington County’s Mobility Lab points out that there are at least five ways that Metro beats the MTA. [Mobility Lab]
Photo via Yelp
H-B Woodlawn Administrator Dies — H-B Woodlawn assistant principal Dr. Mary McBride died unexpectedly on Monday, May 26. McBride, who started her career at H-B Woodlawn as a teacher, was 70. [Legacy.com]
Torrez Sentenced to Death – Convicted rapist and murderer Jorge Torrez was formally sentenced to death Friday. The former Marine strangled a female sailor to death on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in 2009. He is also accused of killing two young girls in Illinois on Mother’s Day 2005. [Stars and Stripes]
Euille and Levine: No Regrets – At a debate Friday at a meeting of the Arlington County Democratic Committee, congressional candidates Bill Euille and Mark Levine couldn’t come up with an answer when asked what policy positions they’ve taken that they’ve later regretted. Patrick Hope and Adam Ebbin both regret supporting mandatory minimum sentencing, Don Beyer regrets opposing same-sex marriage in the 1990s, and Lavern Chatman said she regrets opposing medical marijuana. [InsideNova]
Testicle Festival Held Saturday — The 10th annual Testicle Festival was held in Virginia Square on Saturday. One attendee said of the Rocky Mountain Oyster tasting: “People who don’t come here and don’t try the balls aren’t living a full life.” [WTOP]
Arlingtonian Walter Walsh Dies at 106 — Walter Walsh, a world-class Olympic marksman who had a knack for tracking down and shooting gangsters as an FBI agent in the 1930s, has died just a week shy of his 107th birthday. After battling gangsters in the U.S., Walsh entered combat in the Pacific during World War II, at one point killing an enemy sniper from 80 yards away with a single pistol shot. Walsh died at his home in Arlington. [New York Times]
Orange Line Delays This Weekend — This weekend, starting at 10:00 p.m. Friday, Orange Line trains will run every 24 minutes due in part to fence repairs and work on a communications cable between East Falls Church and West Falls Church. [WMATA]
Arlington Participates in National PrepareAthon Day — Personnel from Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management went around to local coffee shops yesterday morning, handing out flyers on National PrepareAthon Day. OEM employees urged Arlington residents to prepare themselves for strong summer storms and to sign up for Arlington Alert emails. [WUSA 9]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Opinions Split at Tax Hearing — The Arlington County Board’s public tax hearing last night was relatively short, about 30 minutes. Among the fewer than 10 speakers, opinions were split between those who want taxes to remain the same and those who want the tax rate to be lowered. [InsideNoVa]
GMU Pepper Spray Suspect Identified — The man who pepper sprayed a George Mason University law professor at the school’s Arlington campus on Wednesday has been identified as 31-year-old Jonathan Pendleton of Alexandria. The professor has been identified as economist and blogger Tyler Cowen. Pendleton left threatening comments on Cowen’s blog before the attack. [Huffington Post]
Arlington’s Population Grows — New U.S. Census figures indicate that Arlington’s population increased 3,631 last fiscal year. The county’s population, according to the Census Bureau, stands at 224,906 as of July 1, 2013. The Washington region as a whole ranked fifth for population growth among U.S. metropolitan regions. [Washington Post]
James Schlesinger Dies — Former defense and energy secretary James Schlesinger has died at the age of 85. Schlesinger was an Arlington resident. [Bloomberg]
Flickr pool photo by Joseph Gruber
Holzheimer, who turned 66 last month, died of a heart attack. A McLean resident, Holzheimer has served as Arlington’s top economic development official since 2005.
Arlington County issued the following press release about Holzheimer’s untimely passing.
Terry Holzheimer, director of Arlington Economic Development, (AED), has died, Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan confirmed today.
“Terry’s family has informed me that Terry died today of a heart attack,” Donnellan said. “I am deeply saddened by this tragic news. Our hearts go out to Terry’s family.
“Arlington has lost a dedicated public servant and a leader who worked for decades to build one of our nation’s most successful and stable communities,” Donnellan said. “Terry was respected across this region as a leader in economic development. His many accomplishments can be seen and felt across our County.”
“This is a double tragedy for Terry’s family,” Donnellan said. “Just six weeks ago, his wife of 34 years, Mary Benedette Pelletter-Holzheimer, died after a long illness.” Terry is survived by his daughter, Francesca, and her husband, Joseph Hammerstrom.
The family has not yet announced funeral arrangements.
From Holzheimer’s official county biography:
Terry Holzheimer was named director of Arlington Economic Development (AED) in March 2005. A veteran of the department since 1996, he previously headed AED’s Business Investment Group, focusing on business retention, recruitment, and economic research. He also was responsible for Arlington’s small business development efforts through AED’s BizLaunch Center.
Before coming to Arlington, Holzheimer served as Loudoun County’s director of economic development from 1989-96. His career also includes heading a management consulting firm, Development Advisory Service, Inc., that provided services to local governments throughout the country in housing and economic development. Earlier, he worked for the National League of Cities, consulting with city and county governments on redevelopment and rehabilitation programs.
Holzheimer has a Ph.D. from George Mason University in public policy, with a specialization in regional development. He holds a B.A. in economics from the University of Florida. He is a member of American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) College of Fellows and is certified in economic development by the International Economic Development Council. He is a member of the adjunct faculty at Virginia Tech, teaching in Urban Affairs and Planning.
Wakefield Advances to Regional Title Game — Wakefield High School’s boys basketball team defeated Broad Run last night 85-80, advancing the Warriors to the regional title game of the 5A North Region Tournament. Senior Re’Quan Hopson scored 29 points during the game. [Sun Gazette]
Police Look for Witnesses to Fatal Crash — Arlington County Police are seeking witnesses to the Feb. 24 crash that killed 39-year-old Jennifer Lawson. Lawson was struck by a dump truck on Little Falls Road after volunteering at Nottingham Elementary School. Detectives believe two vehicles were behind the truck and would like to interview the drivers. [Arlington County]
United Way Donates $260K to Arlington Nonprofits — The United Way has donated nearly $260,000 to 20 Arlington nonprofits. The list of nonprofits receiving grants includes the Arlington Pediatric Center, Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network, Arlington Thrive and others. [Sun Gazette]
John Youngs Dies — John Youngs, a past president of the Arlington Bar Association and former head of the Arlington public defenders office, has died after a long battle with brain cancer. Youngs was 69. “John fought the good fight and he is now at peace,” the bar association said in an email to its members.
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
Tech Hub Coming to Crystal City — Crystal City office building owner Vornado is investing $10 million in a venture capital fund called the Crystal Tech Fund. Venture capitalist Paul Singh is hoping to raise a total of $50 million for the fund, and is moving his company, Disruption Corp., to Crystal City. Vornado is also bringing a WeWork co-working space to Crystal City by 2016, and converting an existing building into a 300 unit apartment building for “today’s mobile and collaborative workers.” [InTheCapital, Washington Business Journal]
AFAC Sees Record Food Need – The Arlington Food Assistance Center continues to see record need for food in the community. The food bank served just over 1,800 families per week in February, a 30 percent increase compared to last year. [Sun Gazette]
Sony Store to Close — The Sony store in Pentagon City Mall is set to close, according to the company. The Sony store in Tysons Corner is also on the chopping block. [Sony]
Remembrance for Jean Crawford — Jean Crawford, a local Arlington County official and activist, died earlier this month after experiencing complications from gastric bypass surgery. A remembrance ceremony for Crawford will be held Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington (4444 Arlington Blvd). [Washington Post, Sun Gazette]
Video: Joan Mulholland — Joan Mulholland, a civil rights activist and former Freedom Rider who lives in Arlington, recently donated documents from her private collection to the Center for Local History at Arlington Public Library. The county’s Arlington TV channel created a video about Mulholland and the donation. [YouTube]
Flickr pool photo by ksrjghkegkdhgkk
Ceresi was hired by the late Abe Pollin — former owner of the Washington Wizards — to be curator of the MCI National Sports Museum, according to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).
The National Sports Gallery closed in 2001, but afterwards, Ceresi decided to continue his career away from law with collectibles and sports artifacts. He was recently named curator of The National Pastime Museum, an online baseball museum.
Ceresi grew up in Alexandria and moved to Arlington in 1975 after graduating from University of Richmond law school. According to SABR’s obituary, he went into general practice before being appointed a Family Court judge in 1987.
From SABR’s obituary:
Ceresi’s contagious enthusiasm and his passion for historical artifacts led him down a fulfilling new career path.
Over the next two decades, until his death of pancreatic cancer at age 64 on January 14, 2014, Frank Ceresi became a respected expert in sports memorabilia and appraisals, consulting and acquiring artifacts for museums and auction houses, and authoring many articles on baseball history. He also acquired for himself many “national treasures” — as he liked to call them — including a Shoeless Joe Jackson “Black Betsy” bat, Mickey Mantle’s first home run baseball, and a vast collection of scorecards dating back to the 19th century.
When the National Sports Gallery closed in 2001, he and longtime partner Carol McMains established FC Associates, a business specializing in museum consulting, appraisals, and legal services. He also co-authored and contributed to several books, including Baseball Americana: Treasures at the Library of Congress; Baseball in Washington, D.C.; The Washington Nationals and Their Grand Tour of 1867; When Baseball Went to War; and Deadball Stars of the National League, where he and McMains wrote the SABR biography of catcher and World War I veteran Hank Gowdy.
Photo via SABR
Robert Morris, a prominent local architect and winner of a number of Arlington County Preservation Design awards, has died at the age of 53.
According to his obituary in an Alabama newspaper, Morris graduated from Auburn University with a Professional Degree in Architecture in 1984. He had been influenced at a young age by the historic house he lived in with his family, ultimately prompting him to pursue architecture.
Morris moved to the D.C. area after graduation and founded Morris-Day Architects and Builders soon after. He was well known for his distinctive home designs throughout the metro area, especially in Arlington and McLean.
Morris had been a member of Leadership Arlington and was considered a “bright light” at the organization. He is remembered for his sense of humor and for making people laugh, in addition to how he “worked to make the world a better place.” The organization considers his death a huge loss for the community.
“Rob was an incredibly creative individual and Leadership Arlington benefited from his creativity and from his engagement with his class,” said Leadership Arlington President and CEO Betsy Frantz. “He was always thinking about the next possibility and making the community the best it could be. He had a way of making things happen efficiently and effectively. We’re really going to miss him.”
Morris took his own life on December 29. Family members held a memorial service for him in Alabama last week. The local service for Robert Morris will be held at 2:00 p.m. on February 8 at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in McLean (1545 Chain Bridge Road).
Photo via Morris-Day Architects and Builders Facebook page
If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide, help is a phone call away. Call CrisisLink at 703-527-4077.
The Right Note is a weekly opinion column published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
When the Arlington County Board convenes this Saturday, one person will be conspicuous in his absence. By all accounts, Robert Atkins has been at every County Board meeting, save one, since 1995.
By my rough, back of the envelope estimate, Atkins made over 1,000 speeches before the Board. That is far and away more speaking time during County Board meetings over that span than anyone else who was not elected to serve on the Board.
The tradition began, so the story goes, after a disagreement Atkins had over an issue in his neighborhood. Upon getting an unsatisfactory answer from new Board Member Chris Zimmerman, Atkins pledged to be at every County Board meeting in the future — and he was.
While Atkins did not live long enough to see Zimmerman’s farewell speech, he did get to see Zimmerman announce he was stepping down. The pair’s nearly two-decades-long journey of monthly meetups in the County Board hearing room was drawing to a close; though I suspect Bob had no plans to stop attending in Zimmerman’s absence.
If you ever heard Atkins speak during the public comment period or on agenda items, it was almost always the most unique speech of the day. Atkins made Board Members smile, cringe, scowl, and sometimes get up and leave the room altogether.
As the “board watcher-in-chief” for Arlington County for the past two decades, there was virtually no issue for which Bob did not know the history. If you needed background information, Bob knew it because he had read the staff report as well as listened to, and participated in, the debate. And, he would probably be able to recite for you the zinger from the speech he gave that day, usually with a wry smile.
One saying goes, in life, half the battle is showing up. While many Arlingtonians long ago gave up on influencing County Board decisions, Bob did not. He showed up every month to do his part to hold the Board accountable to Arlingtonians.
Atkins did not just show up at County Board meetings. Bob was active in the Arlington Civic Federation. He worked as a volunteer for many years at the county fair to increase voter registration in Arlington. He was a regular attendee or member of various political organizations, like the Arlington GOP, Log Cabin Republicans, the Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance and even attended Green Party events from time to time.
While Bob did not always agree with the GOP or its candidates on every issue, he was loyal to the party. Bob served as treasurer for the Arlington GOP for 12 years, including both times I served as Chairman. He donated to Republican candidates generously from his own personal funds. He also went out and knocked on doors on behalf of Republican candidates. And, every Election Day, you could find him at his polling place distributing Republican sample ballots.
In all of his civic and political activism, Bob Atkins certainly was one of a kind. He will be missed.
Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.
Until this year, Atkins attended every Arlington County Board meeting since March of 1995, according to County Clerk Hope Halleck. The only meeting anyone can recall him missing is when he underwent recent surgery to have his foot amputated, Halleck said.
Atkins was the treasurer of the Arlington County Republican Committee for years, the president of the Bluemont Civic Association from 1993-1996 — when the neighborhood and the association were known as Stonewall Jackson — and was one of Bluemont’s delegates to the Arlington County Civic Federation when he died.
Atkins was born in 1945 and lived most of his early life in New York state, according to his friend and fellow Civic Federation delegate Suzanne Sundberg. He bought his house in Arlington on 5th Street N. in 1976 and lived there until he died “peacefully in his home,” Monday morning, Sundberg wrote in an email.
Atkins had been suffering health problems that shuffled him between hospital and long-term care centers in recent months.
He was a founding member of the Stonewall Jackson Citizen’s Association before serving as its president, and served as a Civic Federation delegate to the Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance and other local organizations. He also sat on a number of Civic Federation committees.
“Bob helped nearly anyone who asked him, irrespective of party affiliation or views,” Sundberg wrote.
Atkins was known for being both colorful and critical of the County Board’s policies when he spoke at meetings, but nonetheless, many county officials were fond of him for his sometimes humorous commentary and his unwavering dedication to civic engagement, we’re told.
Charles Hokanson, chairman of the Arlington County Republican Committee, said Atkins will be “deeply missed.”
“Bob was one of the Arlington GOP’s stalwart members for many years and a close friend and advisor personally,” he said. “His work as Treasurer from 2000-2012 was invaluable to the Committee, and he was omnipresent in our headquarters for many years, handling matters large and small, with precision, insightful perspectives, and great wit.”
“Bob lobbied hard for fiscal accountability and responsibility where county finances were concerned,” said Sundberg. “It would be hard to find a more dedicated citizen than Bob Atkins. He will be missed.”
Image via Arlington County
Jack Melnick Dies — Lifelong Arlington resident and former General Assembly member John “Jack” Melnick died on Wednesday at the age of 78. A funeral service will be held next week. In addition to representing Arlington County in Richmond, one of Melnick’s claims to fame was being the owner of an impeccably restored 1931 Ford Model A. [Sun Gazette]
Town Hall for 9/11 Responders — Two town hall-style meetings will be held next week in Arlington for responders to the Pentagon on (and, in some cases, after) Sept. 11, 2001. Firefighters, police officers, cleanup and construction crews and Red Cross volunteers who responded to the Pentagon in the aftermath of the terrorist attack are now eligible for a federal health care program specifically for 9/11 survivors and responders. [Patch]
Preservation Arlington Lauds ‘Three Sisters’ Development — Preservation Arlington is lauding a residential development in Cherrydale. The group says a project to build two new houses on a half acre site on the 1800 block of N. Randolph Street properly took into account the history of the site and the architectural style of the original house on the property. [Preservation Arlington]
Photo courtesy @LemurFestival
Arlington’s ‘Bicycle Man’ Dies — Arlington resident Randy Lokke, 62, died late last month. Lokke was known as a prolific follower of local high school sports, riding his bike to games in and around the District. Lokke was a graduate of Wakefield High School. [Georgetowner]
Ovie Returns to Arlington — Alexander Ovechkin and his Washington Capitals teammates are back on the practice ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Ballston. The Capitals and other NHL teams are expected to begin a 48-game regular season on Jan. 19. [Washington Post]
Chick-fil-A Offers Free Breakfast – D.C. area Chick-fil-A restaurants, including the locations in Ballston and Crystal City, are offering free breakfast entrees through Jan. 30 to those who make “reservations” online. [Chick-fil-A]
Catalog Opt-Out Service Saves Paper — Arlington County says Arlington residents have saved 35,855 lbs of waste by participating in the county-sponsored “Catalog Choice” service. The free service allows residents to opt out of unwanted mail, catalogs and phone books. [Twitter, Arlington County]
Arlington Couple Promoting Phone Holder — An Arlington couple who spent several years and $25,000 to design “DashIT,” a car dashboard hold for smart phones, is selling and promoting the gadget at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. [Washington Business Journal]
Flickr pool photo by GmdVT. Hat tip to Brendan Lilly.