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Obituaries in the News

November 30, 1998

SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ Roy Benavidez, a Vietnam veteran awarded the Medal of Honor for saving eight fellow Green Berets, died Sunday. He was 63.

The cause of death was not released. Benavidez had been hospitalized for treatment of a long illness complicated by diabetes and anemia.

He was given the award in 1981 for bravery shown on the morning of May 2, 1968, when a North Vietnamese regiment surrounded a dozen soldiers from his unit during a secret mission in Cambodia.

Three helicopters trying to save the men came under heavy fire and were unable to land. Benavidez organized team members to provide covering fire for the helicopters and carried half the wounded troops to nearby aircraft.

Ira M. Berke

MOUNT PROSPECT, Ill. (AP) _ Ira Berke, a landscape architect and city planner who designed plans for the Lincoln Park Zoo, died Wednesday of cancer. He was 64.

Berke received acclaim for designing the zoo mall, the zoo rookery and for the Marshall F. Bynum Adventure Playland. His designs also include the Daley Bicentennial Plaza, the Lincoln Park miniature golf course and many parks, playgrounds and gardens.

He was promoted to Chicago’s director of landscape in 1987 and retired in 1993 to start his own Mount Prospect-based consulting firm, specializing in site and recreation planning.

William Demas

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) _ William Demas, the Caribbean Community’s first secretary-general who helped lay the groundwork for stable economies after centuries of British rule, died Saturday of renal failure. He was 69.

Demas, a Trinidadian economist, headed the Caribbean Free Trade Area beginning in 1970 and was the first leader of the group’s successor, the 15-member Caribbean Community, formed in 1973. He left the position in 1974.

Demas helped form the Caribbean Development Bank and was a former chief of Trinidad and Tobago’s central bank. He presided over the July 1973 signing in Trinidad of the Treaty of Chaguaramas that formed the Caribbean Community.

Dante Fascell

MIAMI (AP) _ Dante Fascell, a Democrat who played a leading role in U.S. foreign policy as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, died Saturday of colon cancer. He was 81.

His 38-year tenure service in Congress spanned the terms of eight presidents, beginning with his election in 1954. Fascell received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in October.

Fascell rose to become chairman of the Foreign Affairs panel, a post he took over in 1984 and held during the Iran-Contra scandal and the Persian Gulf War. He retired in 1992.

Fascell also was integral in the funding of Everglades National Park and the formation of Biscayne National Park.

Frederick W. Freking

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) _ Bishop Emeritus Frederick W. Freking, who headed the Roman Catholic diocese of La Crosse from 1965 to 1983, died Saturday. He was 85.

Ordained in 1938, Freking served Minnesota parishes of Winona, Dakota and La Moille, becoming chancellor of the Winona diocese in 1952. He became bishop of the diocese of Salina, Kan., five years later and was appointed to the 19-county La Crosse diocese in 1964.

M. Donald Grant

HOBE SOUND, Fla. (AP) _ M. Donald Grant, the former chairman of the New York Mets who traded away Tom Seaver in 1977 during a contract dispute, died Saturday. He was 94.

Grant was chairman of the board from the team’s inception in 1962 until he was forced out after the 1978 season.

Grant, a Wall Street stockbroker for Fahnestock & Co., assumed a more visible role in operating the team after owner Joan Payson’s death in 1975.

His most memorable move came on June 15, 1977, when Seaver, perhaps the most beloved player in Mets history, was dealt to the Cincinnati Reds. He also traded Dave Kingman to San Diego the same night and was vilified for what New York tabloids called a ``Midnight Massacre.″

After the Mets’ second consecutive last-place finish, Grant was forced out by the team’s board. He remained a Mets director and stockholder until 1980.

Hugo Karl Knoefel

WORLAND, Wyo. (AP) _ Hugo Karl Knoefel, former publisher of the Northern Wyoming Daily News and an award-winning columnist, died Tuesday. He was 88.

He won several national awards for his weekly column and also authored a book on an Indian battle in the Big Horn Basin, ``Wyoming’s Bloodiest Fourth of July.″

Knoefel began his career in 1932 as a reporter and classified advertising manager for the St. Paul (Minn.) Daily News. He also worked for the former Rocky Mountain News in Denver and the Cheyenne Eagle and Tribune.

Knoefel was editor and publisher of the newspaper from 1946 until 1984, when he retired.

Theodore Newhouse

NEW YORK (AP) _ Theodore Newhouse, an expert in newspaper management and production who helped build one of the world’s largest media organizations, died Saturday after a long illness. He was 95.

Newhouse was associate publisher at the family-owned enterprise, which now includes 26 newspapers in 22 cities; the Conde Nast magazine group; Parade, the Sunday newspaper supplement; American City Business Journals, a group of business newspapers published in more than 30 major cities in America; and interests in cable television programming and cable systems serving 1 million homes.

Along with his brothers Samuel I. and Norman Newhouse, Ted Newhouse helped develop and carry out such innovative management policies as local autonomy for publishers and editors of group-owned newspapers. Samuel I. Newhouse died in 1979, and Norman Newhouse died in 1988.

The company is now run by S.I. Newhouse’s sons, Samuel I. Jr., the chairman, and Donald, the president, who also is chairman of the board of directors of The Associated Press.

He also was the family’s representative on the boards of the National Advertising Bureau and the New York City Publishers’ Association and was spokesman for the Newhouse papers in the city.

The family members got what Ted called their crucial on-the-job training in their first 10 years at the Staten Island Advance, before they bought the Long Island Press in 1932.

Ted Newhouse served 45 years as business manager of the Long Island Press in Queens, his home base until the paper shut down in 1977.

As the business grew, the brothers were joined first by S.I.’s sons and then later by a team of grandchildren and cousins, each serving rigorous apprenticeships in all phases of the business.

When they acquired The Oregonian of Portland, Ore., in 1950 for $5.6 million, then the largest cash transaction in the history of American journalism, S.I. credited Ted’s management acumen and boundless energy with making it possible.

In addition to his wife, Caroline, he leaves two granddaughters, Julie Lobel and Amy Bermant Adler, children of his daughter, the late Jane Berman, and six great-grandchildren.

Services were scheduled for today at Temple Emanuel in Manhattan.

Earl and Jean Ann O’Connor

MISSION, Kan. (AP) _ U.S. District Judge Earl O’Connor and his wife, Jean Ann, were found shot to death in their home Sunday. He was 76 and she was 66.

Investigators did not immediately determine the circumstances of the deaths. Friends of the couple said Mrs. O’Connor suffered from a number of medical problems, including diabetes and pneumonia, and that O’Connor had been depressed about her health.

O’Connor had served on the bench in Kansas City since October 1971.

O’Connor tried a 1975 desegregation lawsuit filed against the Kansas City school district by the U.S. Department of Justice. O’Connor exercised control over the schools since 1977, when he found parts of the district to be racially segregated in the assignment of students and faculty.

He recently upheld a bankruptcy court’s decision to reject The Woodland Racetrack’s financial reorganization plan and ordered the sale of the facility.

Oren David Pollak

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Oren David Pollak, an ecological scientist and director of stewardship for the Oregon Nature Conservancy, died in a car accident Saturday while vacationing in Tasmania. He was 39.

Pollak’s wife, Suki, was critically injured in the collision. The couple’s 9-month-old son, Noah, was not injured.

Pollak was an expert in natural area management, grassland restoration and the use of controlled burning in ecological restoration. He worked eight years for the California Nature Conservancy before joining the staff in Portland in May.

He had written and published 11 major papers on ecological research and conducted nationwide seminars for experts at ecological conferences.

Cadet Shirer

ALVERTON, Pa. (AP) _ Cadet Shirer, who served as a medic on a hospital train in Europe during World War I and helped thousands of wounded American soldiers, died Friday. He was 100.

Shirer enlisted in 1917, the day after Congress declared war. Four months later, the Army discharged him against his will because an ear infection damaged his hearing.

A sympathetic officer helped Shirer re-enlist by reporting that he was a dental student and therefore qualified to serve as a medic.

The French government had planned to present him with its Legion of Honor Award on Dec. 16.

Helen Stoddard

WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) _ Helen E. Stoddard, an arts patron whose collection was thrust into the spotlight last month when authorities recovered one of her stolen paintings, died Saturday. She was 94.

Her art collection made news in October after the FBI seized a painting by French impressionist Camille Pissarro that was to be auctioned in Cleveland. Investigators believe the work was stolen from Stoddard’s home, along with nine other works, on June 22, 1978.

The 1902 dock scene, titled ``Bassins Duquesne et Berrigny a Dieppe, Temps Gris,″ is considered an important example of Pissarro’s late work.

A judge had scheduled a Jan. 13 hearing to determine who owns the painting, valued at $400,000 to $600,000. The FBI is still investigating how the painting got to a gallery that was commissioned to sell the work.

Among the other art works stolen from her home were two oil paintings by Pierre Renoir, a watercolor by Pissarro, other oils by Eugene Boudin, Johan Jongkind, Childe Hassam, a Paul Revere tea service set and a Ming vase. The total value in 1978 was set at $250,000.

Her late husband, Robert, who died in 1984, was a former chairman of the board of the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester and of Wyman-Gordon Co.

Stuart Sutherland

LONDON (AP) _ Stuart Sutherland, a British psychologist who turned his own experience of manic depression into his best-known work, died Nov. 8 from a heart attack. He was 71.

Sutherland wrote a string of academically impressive publications, but it was ``Breakdown,″ first published in 1976, that had the widest influence.

The frank account of his illness, later successfully treated with the drug lithium, was the inspiration for a play, ``Melon,″ by Simon Gray, which ran in London’s West End.

His publications included the ``Macmillan Dictionary of Psychology″ and ``Irrationality: The Enemy Within,″ as well as a novel, ``Men Change Too.″

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