Herb Quarles, Washington AFRO-American’s former church and arts notes editor.
(Updated 12/17/2014) Herbert Quarles, the Washington AFRO-American Newspaper’s former church and arts notes editor, recently died. He was in his early 80s, a friend, Geraldine Jackson, said.
Quarles’ home going services are scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 20th at the Peoples Congregational United Church of Christ, with the viewing of the body at 10 a.m. and the funeral service at 11 a.m. He will be interned at Arlington National Cemetery.
Quarles, a native of Charlottesville., Va., wrote a weekly column for the AFRO for decades and became known in the Washington metropolitan area for reporting on Black church activities and the new pastors who came into the area. He was a member of the Peoples Congregational Church where he also played a role in church members taking trips overseas to countries such as South Africa.
“Mr. Quarles was a long time member of Peoples Congregational Church. He was very faithful, very committed and involved in church every Sunday,” Rev. Michael C. Murphy, senior minister at the church told the AFRO, explaining that Quarles held several leadership positions. We appreciated all the outstanding pictures that he took of our worship services and special events and he will be missed.”
Rev. Murphy said that everyone knew Quarles from his position at the AFRO.
Hamil Harris, staff writer for the Washington Post and former AFRO writer, remembered Quarles hard work and helpful personality.
“He was a guy who had a joy of covering news, Harris said. “For Herb, it was a joy to cover the church community as well as the bridge community. He loved the AFRO.” Harris said that Quarles helped him out when he got to the Post by giving him several church contacts to build his files with.
He also wrote a column on the District’s bridge circuit which developed a following. The bridge page would include emerging bridge players, report on who won key bridge tournaments and even write about the food at club meetings.
According to a tribute from Karen Pollock with the Washington Bridge Unit, Quarles became a dynamic, well respected leader, organizer, teacher and communicator.
“Herb will be missed for all he contributed to the bridge world,” she said. “But most of all he will be missed for being: kind, helping, friendly, giving, loving, trusting and a good christen.”
While at the AFRO, Quarles wrote a weekly “Arts Notes” column. For this column, he attended plays, musicals and recitals at the Kennedy Center or at neighborhood venues. He would also interview the artists and would often capture insights that other arts journalists would miss.
Quarles taught music in the District of Columbia public school from September 1959 to June 1980. He was an amateur baritone singer.
“I knew his mother, sister and brother and we always stayed in touch,” Geraldine Jackson, a friend, said. “Herb loved volunteering for the Washington Teachers Union and at social events, he would take pictures. He was a good person.”