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Obituaries in the News

March 19, 1999

WATERTOWN, Mass. (AP) _ Hampartzoum Berberian, a composer of vocal, choral, operatic, symphonic and chamber works, died Saturday of cancer. He was 93.

Berberian’s compositions included ``Lincoln at Gettysburg,″ a choral work inspired by the Gettysburg Address, and ``Requiem Aeternam,″ based on a poem by Yeghishe Charentz commemorating the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman Turks from 1915 to 1920.

He had musical engagements in Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.

Claud Easterly

DENISON, Texas (AP) _ Claud Easterly, a newspaperman for more than half his life and editor of The Denison Herald for 30 years, died Tuesday of pneumonia after undergoing surgery. He was 91.

During his 47 years as a journalist, Easterly interviewed five U.S. presidents, Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn, bandleader John Philip Sousa, magician Harry Houdini, Father Flanagan of Boys Town, New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, and many other state and national dignitaries.

Easterly began his career at the Herald in 1925.

In the early 1940s he was named editor of the newspaper, but he also continued to write throughout even beyond his retirement in 1972. He contributed several stories to the Herald Democrat since the merger of his old newspaper with the Sherman Democrat in 1996.

His son, David Easterly, is a member of The Associated Press board of directors and president and chief operating officer of Cox Enterprises, an Atlanta-based media company that owns and operates more than a dozen newspapers, about a dozen TV stations and more than 50 radio stations.

In addition to his son, Easterly is survived by his wife, Ophelia; a stepson, a stepdaughter, a brother, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Ernest Gold

SANTA MONICA, Calif. _ Oscar-winning composer Ernest Gold, who wrote scores for ``Exodus,″ ``It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,″ ``On the Beach″ and ``The Secret of Santa Vittoria,″ died Wednesday of complications from a stroke. He was 77.

Gold’s most recognized work was the score of the 1960 movie ``Exodus,″ for which he won an Academy Award and two Grammys.

He received Academy Awards nominations for best score and best song for the 1963 film ``It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,″ and also received nominations for 1959′s ``On the Beach″ and the 1969 movie ``The Secret of Santa Vittoria.″

His credits also included ``Smooth As Silk,″ ``Wyoming,″ ``Witness for the Prosecution,″ ``The Pride and the Passion,″ ``Too Much Too Soon,″ ``The Defiant Ones,″ ``Inherit the Wind,″ and ``The Runner Stumbles.″

Jean Pierre-Bloch

PARIS (AP) _ Jean Pierre-Bloch, a former Resistance leader and one of France’s most outspoken human rights advocates, died Wednesday. He was 93.

Pierre-Bloch, was a well-known writer who denounced racism and oppression of minorities worldwide. He was honorary president of the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism.

He began a career in journalism in 1930 and wrote for several French newspapers, but eventually turned to politics. In 1936, at 31, he became the youngest member of parliament in the leftist, Popular Front government led by Leon Blum.

In 1939, Pierre-Bloch joined the French military and was captured after the outbreak of World War II, later escaping to join the French Resistance headed by Gen. Charles de Gaulle.

In 1941 he organized the first parachute drops of men and supplies in Nazi-occupied France and became one of the Gestapo’s most wanted figures. He was arrested in Spain and sentenced to death by the pro-Nazi Vichy regime.

Again Pierre-Bloch managed to escape, fleeing to London to join de Gaulle, under whom he held numerous posts, including head of intelligence operations until France was liberated in 1944.

In 1981, Pierre-Bloch sat on an honor board that ruled in favor of Maurice Papon’s claim that he worked for the Resistance while acting as local official under the Vichy government.

But last year, Pierre-Bloch reversed himself. Rebutting a key defense argument, he testified at the former Vichy official’s war crimes trial that Papon was not a member of the Resistance. Papon was found guilty of complicity in crimes against humanity and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Pierre-Bloch was a frequent contributor to Le Monde, and wrote several books including ``Charles de Gaulle″ (1944), ``The Causes of Anti-Semitism in France″ (1956) and ``London, The Capital of Free France″ (1985).

G.B. Van Dusen

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ G.B. Van Dusen, founder of Van Dusen Air Inc., a worldwide distributor of aircraft supplies and airport services, died Monday. He was 84.

In 1940, Van Dusen borrowed $300 to start his company at Wold-Chamberlain Field, the original name of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

By 1985, when the company entered a merger agreement with APL Limited Partnership, sales had reached $200 million. The company operated 54 branch sales and distribution offices nationwide.

In 1993, Van Dusen was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame.

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