Maryland's lost

Terrorism Strikes America

The Victims

September 15, 2001

Yesterday brought word of more Maryland residents killed or missing in Tuesday's terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.

Odessa V. Morris

Tuesday was to be a special day for Odessa V. Morris, a longtime budget analyst for the Department of Defense. She would work until noon at her job at the Pentagon, then spend the day with her husband.

"It was our 25th wedding anniversary," Horace Morris said. "I dropped her off at the subway station at 7:45 a.m. and said, `See you soon.' We were going to go out for a seafood dinner, and I had some surprises planned."

Mrs. Morris, 54, of Upper Marlboro, is among the missing at the Pentagon, where she began to work in 1997. A government employee for 32 years, she was so close to retiring that she had already made plans for the rest of her life.

"Next year, we were going to start raising goats," said her husband, an English instructor at Howard University.

A native of Norfolk, Va., Mrs. Morris is treasurer of New Mount Olivet Apostolic Church of Seat Pleasant. The mother of three "loved to cook," her husband said. "She had cooked and cooked for the church's Labor Day picnic."

"She was always there for all of us," her husband said. "I try to stay busy so I don't think about this, but I am going to have to face it, sooner or later."-- Mike Klingaman

Max Beilke

Max Beilke, 69, of Laurel, a retired Army master sergeant and civilian employee and the last American soldier to leave Vietnam, also is missing at the Pentagon.

A native of Minnesota, Beilke retired from active duty in 1974 and became a civilian employee of the Army 10 years later.

On March 29, 1973, just before boarding a plane to leave Vietnam, a North Vietnamese colonel presented him with a straw-mat painting to commemorate the occasion.

In a 1993 story on the 20th anniversary of his departure, an Associated Press article said that Beilke was "officially designated by the Army" as the last U.S. soldier out of Vietnam.

"He stamped his own orders and flew out, leaving his stamp on the table," the AP said.

Under the terms of a peace treaty with North Vietnam, the last American soldiers would leave Saigon only after a plane carrying prisoners of war left Hanoi.-- Eric Siegel

Donna Bowen

Donna Bowen, listed as missing at the Pentagon, spent more than 20 years working for Verizon Communications and its predecessor, C&P Telephone. But her work there is not the first thing that comes to mind when people think of his wife, Eugene Bowen said yesterday from their home in Waldorf.

"Verizon would let her leave work one day a week to work at Berry Elementary," he said, referring to the school in Waldorf where the couple's three children are enrolled. "Whenever she wasn't at work, all her attention was given to children's education. All her spare time, she was down at the school."

Mrs. Bowen, 42, is a communications representative for Verizon under contract to the Pentagon.

A longtime member of Local 2336 of the Communications Workers of America, she has been at the Pentagon three years, working with Army accountants on questions related to their phone bills.

A Boston native, she moved to Waldorf after marrying Eugene Bowen 11 years ago. The couple has two daughters, ages 7 and 10, and a son, 8.-- Chris Kaltenbach

Robert E. Russell

Robert E. Russell of Oxon Hill, a civilian employee of the Army, is missing at the Pentagon.

Mr. Russell, 52, served in the Army for more than 20 years before taking a civilian job with the Defense Department.

His wife, Teresa, describes him as a prankster. They met when he crashed her Sweet 16 birthday party three decades ago. When she asked what he was doing, he promptly put on Smokey Robinson's "Ooo Baby Baby" and spun her about the room.

"We've been together ever since," she said.

But Mr. Russell, the father of three adult children, was also a serious family man who spent much of his free time renovating the family's 18th-century home, driving his elderly mother around and cooking elaborate meals, generally involving crab.

"He was the man everyone looked up to, that we all depended on," said his wife.-- Jason Song

Carrie R. Blagburn

Carrie R. Blagburn, also missing at the Pentagon, is an Army budget analyst.

Mrs. Blagburn, 48, of Temple Hills, worked at the Pentagon for nearly a decade.

She and her husband, Leo, both Washington natives, have been married 23 years. They have a daughter, 16.

Leo Blagburn left for work before his wife Tuesday morning, but not before getting a hug. Now, he said, he wishes he had never let go.

"The only thing I can think of is that I love her," he said from their home, where his vigil is being shared by his daughter, two nieces and mother-in-law. "I still love her, and I want her back."-- Chris Kaltenbach

Ernest Willcher

Ernest Willcher, a 62-year-old North Potomac resident, is among the missing at the Pentagon.

Willcher recently joined the consulting firm of Booz, Allen & Hamilton after working for the Army for more than 20 years. He was at the Pentagon on Tuesday on a consulting assignment.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.