Julie Diaz Tyler, 32, office manager, volunteer Julie...

February 04, 2002

Julie Diaz Tyler, 32, office manager, volunteer

Julie Diaz Tyler, a former school office manager and a cancer-patient volunteer, died Thursday of cardiac arrest at St. Joseph's Hospital after a four-year battle with Hodgkin's disease. She was 32 and lived in Towson.

A Baltimore native, she was a 1987 graduate of Roland Park Country School and earned a degree in psychology at Dickinson College in 1991. She studied for a semester of her junior year at the University of York, England, where she met her husband, Philip Tyler, who survives her.

Mrs. Tyler had worked briefly for Gilman School and for several years at Odyssey School as an office manager and administrative assistant, which enabled her to combine her love of children with her organizational skills. She was employed as an office manager at KLNB Inc. until last year, when she retired because of her illness.

Mrs. Tyler was a Sunday school teacher at Divine Life Church on Falls Road, and she and her husband were volunteers at the Wellness Community in Towson, working with cancer patients and their families.

Services are being planned.

In addition to her husband of nine years, she is survived by her parents, Beverly and Jerry Diaz of Ruxton; and two sisters, Tiana Diaz and Melanie Diaz, both of Baltimore.

Her family suggests contributions to the Wellness Community, 901 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson 21204.

Rollie D. Gilliss Jr., 78, vice president for insurer

Rollie Downing Gilliss Jr., a retired vice president of the Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Maryland, died Tuesday of complications from pneumonia at Greater Baltimore Medical Center after a prolonged illness. He was 78 and lived at Blakehurst Life Care Community in Towson.

Born in Salisbury, he graduated from Wicomico High School at age 16, attended the Choate School in Connecticut for one year, then entered Princeton University as an economics major, participating in the Key and Seal Club and managing the baseball team.

During World War II, Mr. Gilliss was a corporal in an Army anti-aircraft artillery battalion, Battery B, 557th, from 1943 to December 1945, earning battle stars for service in northern France, the Ardennes, the Rhineland and central Europe.

He resumed his studies at Princeton, and after graduation joined Fidelity, where he spent his professional career until retiring in 1985 as a vice president of its fidelity department.

Mr. Gilliss was a member and served on several boards of Northwood Appold United Methodist Church and of Towson United Methodist Church, where he served on the child care board. He was a stamp collector and an avid baseball fan.

He was married in 1950 to Ethel M. Rankin, who survives him.

Services were held Friday at Towson United Methodist Church, with graveside services held yesterday in Salisbury.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Lynne Degen of Abingdon; two sons, Edward Gilliss and David Gilliss, both of Towson; and seven grandchildren.

The family suggested memorial contributions to the Methodist Board of Child Care, 3300 Gaither Road, Baltimore 21244.

Francis Grayson Ford Sr., 70, insurance agent

Francis Grayson Ford Sr., an independent insurance agent, died Tuesday of cancer at the Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. He was 70.

Mr. Ford worked as an insurance agent in the Towson and Timonium area for about 35 years. His wife, Charlotte A. Ford, said that he excelled as an insurance agent and that he had been told he was a born salesman.

Born in Myersville, Mr. Ford left the area to join the Air Force in 1951. He served as a morning report clerk and in other capacities during the Korean War.

He and his wife were married in March 1957.

Before becoming a father, Mr. Ford attended night school at the University of Baltimore for two years.

A Mason, Mr. Ford was a member of Ionic Lodge 145. He also was a Shriner.

Mr. Ford enjoyed traveling, and sometimes took his family on spur-of-the-moment camping trips to such places as Atlantic City and California, Mrs. Ford said.

Services were held Friday at Ruck-Towson Funeral Home. He was buried at Druid Ridge Cemetery Park in Pikesville.

Mr. Ford is also survived by a son, Glenn B. Ford of White Marsh; his mother, Naomi E. Ford of Baltimore; two sisters, Margaret J. Gentle of Hyattsville and Cheryl L. Favazza of Sparks; a brother, Farrell J. Ford of Helena, Mont.; two grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

A son, Francis Ford Jr., died in June 2000.

Elsewhere

Harold Russell, 88, who received two Academy Awards for his sensitive portrayal of a wounded veteran in The Best Years of Our Lives after losing his hands during World War II, died of a heart attack Tuesday at a nursing home in Needham, Mass.

Mr. Russell joined the U.S. Army on Dec. 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, as an instructor in the parachute corps. He was working as an explosives expert in 1944 when a defective fuse exploded a charge of TNT he was holding while he instructed a demolition squad at Camp Mackall, N.C. Both his hands were amputated.

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