Published in The Washington Post on Jan. 31, 2021.
Irma Shirley Lann
Died peacefully at home on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.
She was born and raised in Washington, the daughter
of Sadye and Louis Fields. She was a graduate of
Coolidge High School (1948) in the District, and
earned her BA, and later, while raising her family, a Masters in Counseling at the
University of Maryland.
She worked for many years at the National Institute of Mental Health as a grant
reviewer, then Head of the Research Implementation Section, and editor of the NIMH
newsletter and of the American Psychiatric Association newsletter.
After her retirement, she worked and traveled with her husband, Mitchell B. Balter, who
died in 1994. Her first marriage, to Alvin B. Lann, ended in divorce.
She leaves behind her brother, Theodore (Suzanne) Fields; her five children, Steven
(Larysa Kurylas) Lann, Barbara (Vincent) Santoro, Amy (Jeffrey) DeMagistris, Nina
Balter, and Barrie Balter-Berlin; six grandchildren, Benjamin and Nathan Lann, Joseph
Santoro, Emma DeMagistris, and Lily and Max Wright.
Irma will be remembered for her sharp mind, ribald wit, and her easy laughter. She
loved travel, opera, music of all kinds, gin Gibsons, art, literature, and books. She
supported cultural and political causes, was active in her neighborhood Cleveland
Park Library, and tutored early readers in DC Public schools. She also volunteered in
a local charitable thrift store, which admittedly did tie in with two favorite pastimes:
thrift shopping and estate sales. Tennis, which she played until her late 70's with a
small group of lasting friends, was a passion until she was no longer able to play.
Her family was central to her life, and becoming a grandmother and grand-aunt
brought much joy to her and to the young ones she adored.
A celebration of her will occur when gatherings are possible again, to be announced.
Memorial donations may be made to some of her favorites, in no particular order:
Washington Concert Opera https://concertopera.org/support Capital Area Food Bank