- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 20, 2005

Shirley S. Lynne, former intelligence officer with the CIA and active participant in Montgomery County politics, died Oct. 17 of heart failure at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring. She was 83.

Born in Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, N.Y., Mrs. Lynne received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and public administration from the City College of New York in 1943. After a job counselor told her she was too short to get a job — she stood 4 feet, 11 inches tall — Mrs. Lynne was hired out of college by the General Accounting Office in the District.

From 1943 to 1946, Mrs. Lynne worked as a transportation specialist auditing vouchers of military and civilian travelers. In 1946, she took a job with the fledgling CIA and worked as an assistant section chief and intelligence officer, reading and classifying documents based on their subject matter until 1954.

Mrs. Lynne met Robert Lynne, her future husband, on a blind date. The two were married Oct. 12, 1952, and had two children, Stephen and Diane. Mrs. Lynne retired from the CIA in 1958 to be a full-time homemaker, and the family moved to Wheaton in 1958.

Once her children were older, Mrs. Lynne focused on her interests in land use, politics and civic activism.

She served as a Democratic precinct chairwoman from 1965 and had served as president of her local civic association since 1970. Mrs. Lynne served as president, founder or member on many other civic organizations, including the Wheaton Redevelopment Steering Committee from June 2000 until her death.

Mrs. Lynne was a founding member of what became the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill and the Montgomery County affiliate, NAMI Montgomery. She served on the executive board of the Montgomery County Alliance for the Mentally Ill and was a member of many other organizations that lobbied on behalf of the mentally ill.

Mrs. Lynne also traveled the world with her daughter. They climbed the Great Wall of China; snorkeled at the Great Barrier Reef; skinny-dipped at the Caribbean beaches of St. Maarten; wined and dined at the ambassador’s residence in Vienna, Austria; won beer-chugging contests in Cancun, Mexico; crashed a wedding in Tbilisi, capital of the former Soviet republic Georgia; traded money on the black market in Moscow; and danced the night away at harvest parties and on New Year’s Eve cruises on the seas. At the time of her death, her passion was sculpture.

“The health of this great democracy of ours depends on people of good will joining together to build a better future for our community,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat. “That was what Shirley Lynne was all about. She did not sit out life on the sidelines. She made a difference through the many lives she touched and the legacy of a stronger and more caring community that she helped to nourish. We need many more Shirley Lynnes.”

Survivors of Mrs. Lynne include her daughter, Diane, of Silver Spring.

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