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Earsel V. Atchley, a renowned violin maker who produced more than 500 instr

April 21, 1995

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Earsel V. Atchley, a renowned violin maker who produced more than 500 instruments for musicians worldwide, died Saturday at 88.

One of the Atchley’s violins is in the Truman Presidential Library in Independence.

Descending from a father and grandfather who were masters at the art, Atchley began crafting instruments in 1931. He then worked at a steel mill and returned to making violins full time in 1948.

At Atchley’s Violin Shop, he lavished about 180 hours on each instrument, crafting spruce and maple imported from Germany. Although he preferred to play, an explosion at Sheffield Steel where he worked 18 years seared his hands.

Milovan Djilas

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ Milovan Djilas, who killed and risked death to build communism but then become Stalinism’s most incisive critic, died Thursday at 83.

Djilas was once heir apparent to Yugoslavia’s late communist leader Josip Broz Tito. Djilas was the last surviving member of the first Communist Politburo headed by Tito.

Djilas shot to fame in the West in 1957 with the publication in New York of ``The New Class,″ a damning inside account of how communists who ruled in the name of proletarian equality had amassed and abused power and privilege. The book ultimately sold 3 million copies in 60 languages. At home, it brought Djilas a seven-year sentence.

Djilas dropped from the official public eye for decades after defying Tito in 1953 with articles calling for greater freedom of opinion and less party control over society.

He spent what he once termed ``nine cold winters″ in Tito’s jails in the 1950s and 1960s for publishing ``The New Class″ and ``Conversations With Stalin,″ a remarkable 1962 account of his meetings with the man he called ``history’s greatest criminal.″

Djilas joined the illegal Communist Party in 1933 and was sentenced to three years’ hard labor for his activities. He met Tito, the party leader, in 1937 and became a member of the Communist party Central Committee in 1938. He led partisan forces in Montenegro against the Nazis, and many of his family were killed by the German occupiers.

J. Peter Grace Jr.

NEW YORK (AP) _ J. Peter Grace Jr., former chairman of W.R. Grace & Co. who crusaded against waste as head of the Reagan-era Grace Commission, died Wednesday of cancer. He was 81.

Grace was chief executive officer of the world’s leading maker of specialty chemicals. He fell from power last month when major shareholders revolted, partly because of millions in company payments for his chef and nurses, and other lavish perks.

The Grace empire was founded in Peru as a shipping concern by Grace’s Irish immigrant grandfather and then moved to New York. Grace was chief executive from 1945-1992.

He took the company public in 1954 and began expanding into chemicals. In the 1960s and ’70s, he diversified into restaurants and home improvement and purchased a 56 percent interest in the Herman’s sporting goods chain.

During the ’80s, the company sold its interests in Herman’s and its full-service restaurants, agriculture and fertilizer businesses. Headquartered in Boca Raton, Fla., Grace still ranks among the largest U.S. conglomerates, with annual sales of more than $5.7 billion.

Grace led the Grace Commission, a two-year Reagan administration effort starting in 1982 to root out government waste.

Grace later turned his Washington experience into a book called ``Burning Money: The Waste of Your Tax Dollars.″ He also served as a presidential adviser during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations.

Max Karl

MIAMI (AP) _ Max H. Karl, an attorney credited with developing the modern form of private mortgage insurance and making homes more affordable for millions of families, died Wednesday of complications from heart surgery. He was 85.

In the 1950s, Karl became frustrated with the amount of time and paperwork required to obtain a home backed by federal government insurance, the only option available at that time.

He founded the Mortgage Guarantee Insurance Corp. in 1957, using $250,000 raised from friends and investors in his hometown of Milwaukee.

The new company would only insure 20 percent of loss on a defaulted mortgage, limiting exposure and providing incentives for lenders to use more caution when issuing loans.

The guarantee was enough to encourage lenders across the country to issue mortgage loans to buyers whose down payments were less than 20 percent of the home’s price. The availability of credit helped fuel the home building boom of the 1960s and 1970s.

Mortgage Guarantee was liquidated and rebuilt with Karl’s backing in the early 1980s. Karl also founded the first municipal bond insurance company, now called Ambac.

Elizabeth Lee Vantrease

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) _ Elizabeth Lee Vantrease, a former journalist at The Times-Herald, died Thursday of Lou Gehrig’s disease at 46.

Vantrease worked for the Richlands News-Press in Tazewell County before moving to Newport News in 1974 to be an education reporter.

She worked for 11 years as a reporter and ultimately assistant managing editor at The Times-Herald, the former afternoon newspaper in Newport News. She left in 1984 to pursue a music degree at Virginia Commonwealth University, despite having lost the ability to walk, write or speak clearly because of the disease.

Vantrease won numerous journalism awards, including one for a special report that examined the life of blacks in the Newport News region 20 years after the Civil Rights Act was enacted.

Vantrease is survived by her parents, John and Elizabeth.

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