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Obituaries in the News

August 17, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ David Henry Blee, a spymaster who played a critical role in changing the way the Central Intelligence Agency operated in the 1960s, died Aug. 4 at his home in Bethesda, Md. He was 83.

Blee was put in charge of the CIA’s Soviet Division in 1971 and made a break with the agency’s chief of counterintelligence, James Angleton, that effectively ending Angleton’s influence over the agency’s operations against Moscow.

Angleton believed that virtually every Soviet citizen who tried to defect was actually a double agent sent to dupe the Americans.

Blee, a longtime Middle East hand, rejected Angleton’s theories and threw open the doors to defectors and potential Soviet spies, an approach embraced by younger intelligence officers.

One of Blee’s biggest early triumphs came in 1965, when as CIA station chief in India he handled the defection of Svetlana Stalin, the daughter of the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Vassilis Efraimides

ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ Vassilis Efraimides, a leading Greek Communist Party official and former European Parliament member, died of a heart attack while swimming Tuesday. He was 85.

Since the end of the Cold War, the Greek Communists have led anti-NATO protests and other campaigns against free-market reforms. The party presently has 11 seats in the 300-seat parliament.

Efraimides was born in 1915 in what is now Turkey. He came to Greece as a refugee in the early 1920s.

He studied law at Athens University and fought along Greece’s border during World War II, for which he later received an honor for bravery.

In 1951, he became a parliament member for the Union of the Democratic Left, considered to be the political standard bearer for the then-outlawed Communist Party. He was re-elected to the post through 1964, when he fled Greece to escape political crackdowns.

After returning to Greece, he was elected in 1981 to represent the Communist Party in the European Parliament. He last served in the post from 1994 to 1999.

Helen Nicklaus

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Helen Nicklaus, whose last wish was that her death not interfere with her son’s golf career, died Wednesday in Columbus after a lengthy illness. She was 90.

Jack Nicklaus was on the fourth hole of a practice round for the PGA Championship when he got the news.

Nicklaus said Wednesday he would respect his mother’s desires and still play in the championship, the final major in the last season he plans to play all four of golf’s major tournaments.

Nicklaus visited his mother in Columbus earlier this week, and she told him that she was prepared for death.

The exact cause of death, and the nature of Helen Nicklaus’ illness, were not released. She would have been 91 on Monday.

Henoch Dov Padwa

LONDON (AP) _ Rabbi Henoch Dov Padwa, spiritual leader of Britain’s most strictly Orthodox Jews _ the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, died Wednesday of a heart attack. He was 91.

Padwa was described as one of the greatest of Talmudic scholars and was a judge, or dayan, of the Orthodox rabbinical court in Britain. The community Padwa headed represents 18 percent of Britain’s Jews.

Padwa was born in 1908 in Busk, Galicia, in what is now Ukraine. During World War I, the area was a battleground. He escaped the fighting with his parents and went to Vienna.

He studied the Jewish law in Tzelem, Hungary, then went to Krakow, Poland, to study at the Belzer seminary. Padwa returned to work and study in Vienna, where he was arrested after Hitler annexed Austria in 1938. When he was released in 1940, he managed to reach Israel.

He came to London in 1955 to become leader of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations.

Padwa is survived by his third wife, Reisel, three sons, and two daughters.

His body was being flown to Israel for burial at the Har Hamenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem.

Mary K. Wells

NEW YORK (AP)_ Mary K. Wells, an actress whose 50-year career spanned from film, theater and radio to work as a daytime soap star and writer, died Monday. She was 79.

Beginning her career during the height of radio, the birth of television and the apex of Broadway, Wells achieved success on stage, the silver screen, and, most prominently, on television.

After moving from Hollywood to New York in 1948, Wells established a solid career, starring in television classics such as ``Big Town,″ the ``Philco TV Playhouse,″ ``Robert Montgomery Presents,″ and ``The Milton Berle Show.″

In theater she starred in Edward Albee’s ``Everything in the Garden,″ and in ``Any Wednesday,″ with Gene Hackman and Sandy Dennis.

In 1961 she made her debut on daytime soaps, starring as the upper-class suburban wife, Louise Caprice on ``The Edge of the Night.″

She later joined the writing staff of ``All My Children″ in 1974, and went on to win two Emmy awards for outstanding drama series writing for the 1984-85 and 1987-88 seasons.

Wells was born in Oklahoma in 1920 and was brought up in Los Angeles by her mother.

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