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Obituaries in the News

April 24, 2004

Bob Bjorklund

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ Bob Bjorklund, a former farm editor who worked at the Wisconsin State Journal for more than 40 years, died Friday after a long illness, the paper reported. He was 79.

After retiring in 1989, Bjorklund continued to write farmer profiles for the paper for several years.

Bjorklund felt especially compelled to write about the farming community as it shrank and more non-farmers came to live in the Madison area, said his wife, Louise.

A native of Merrill, Bjorklund came to Madison to attend the University of Wisconsin but was drafted into World War II in 1943, serving as a rifleman during the invasion of Germany.

He earned a Purple Heart when he was wounded by a land mine and also earned a Bronze Star. He served as a rifleman with the Wisconsin National Guard for 20 years.

Bjorklund started writing for the State Journal during his senior year of college and became farm writer in 1952. He was named farm editor in 1961.

Bjorklund was president of the Newspaper Farm Editors of America and received numerous awards for his work.

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Erna Wahl Miller

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Erna Wahl Miller, longtime private secretary to the late Washington Sen. Henry ``Scoop″ Jackson, died Tuesday after suffering a stroke, the senator’s family said. She was 82.

Miller was born in Bjung, Norway, on June 14, 1921. Her family emigrated to Everett, Wash., the next year, where her mother was a friend of Jackson’s mother.

In 1951, Jackson, then a member of the House of Representatives, was visiting his home district when he ran into Miller at the county courthouse where she was working.

``He said, ‘How would you like to come work for me?’ She jumped at that,″ said her husband, Joseph Miller.

She returned to Everett in 1955 when her father became ill, and later worked in Olympia, Wash., as administrative assistant to House Speaker John O’Brien, D-Seattle. She married Miller, a former Seattle Post-Intelligencer arts critic and reporter, in 1963 and returned to Washington, D.C. to work for Jackson.

She continued to work as private secretary to the powerful Democratic senator until his death in 1983.

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Peter Prescott

NEW YORK (AP) _ Peter Prescott, an award-winning book critic who wrote for Newsweek magazine for two decades, died Friday of liver disease complicated by diabetes, his wife said. He was 68.

Prescott, who won the George Polk Award for criticism in 1978, worked for nine years as an editor at E.P. Dutton before reviewing books for Women’s Wear Daily, Look and Newsweek.

Born in New York, Prescott graduated from Harvard and also studied at Sorbonne. His father was the principal daily book critic for The New York Times between 1942 and 1966.

Prescott wrote a memoir of his freshman year at Harvard and ``A World of Our Own: Notes on Life and Learning in a Boys’ Preparatory School″ (1970) based on his experiences at Choate Rosemary Hall, a prestigious preparatory high school in Wallingford, Conn.

He wrote two collections of critical essays and ``The Child Savers: Juvenile Justice Observed″ (1981), a study of the juvenile-justice system.

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