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Obituaries in the News

February 17, 2006

Anthony Civella

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Anthony Civella, whom federal investigators said headed organized crime in Kansas City in the late 1980s and 1990s, has died, a funeral home said. He was 75.

Passantino Brothers Funeral Home said Thursday it was handling the arrangements, but did not have information on when or where Civella died.

Civella, whose nickname was ``Tony Ripe,″ was the nephew of Nick Civella, the reputed leader of the Kansas City mob when it allegedly worked with other organized crime families in Chicago, Milwaukee and Cleveland in schemes to skim money from Las Vegas casinos.

After his father and other reputed Kansas City mobsters went to prison, Civella was reported to have moved up to the leadership.

In 1991, he and two associates were convicted of fraud related to the resale of prescription drugs. They were accused of having bought more than $1 million worth of drugs at deep discounts, claiming they were intended for nursing homes, then reselling them to wholesalers on the West Coast.

After his release from prison in 1996, Civella was barred from entering casinos in Missouri and Nevada.


Robert E. Rich Sr.

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ Robert E. Rich Sr., a frozen food pioneer whose invention of the first nondairy whipped topping launched Rich Products Corp., has died at 92, the company said.

Rich was surrounded by family at his Palm Beach, Fla., home when he died Wednesday, the company said.

In 1945, while Rich was war food administrator in Michigan and milk was scarce, he began investigating the soybean and came up with a whipped topping touted as better than cream because it was more stable and could be frozen.

Rich’s Whip Topping remains a staple in school food service, restaurants and supermarket bakeries. The company’s product line also includes breads, pizza dough, seafood and appetizers.

Rich was one of the first four inductees in the National Frozen Food Industry Hall of Fame in 1990.

A year later, he was inducted into the inaugural class of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, in recognition of a lifelong involvement in sports. He was chairman of the Buffalo Bisons, Cleveland’s Triple-A baseball farm team, and oversaw construction of a baseball stadium for the team. The Buffalo Bills’ football stadium bore the Rich name for decades, after Rich purchased the naming rights in 1972.


Ernie Stautner

DALLAS (AP) _ Ernie Stautner, a Hall of Fame defensive lineman for the Pittsburgh Steelers and a longtime Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator, died Thursday in a nursing home, his wife said. He was 80.

Stautner, who went to nine Pro Bowls with the Steelers and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1969, had had Alzheimer’s disease since 1998, Jill Stautner said. He died in Carbondale, Colo.

Stautner coached the defensive line for the Cowboys from 1966-72 and was defensive coordinator from 1973-88. He was with the Steelers for his entire 14-year playing career, never on a winning team but establishing a reputation for a strong work ethic on a punishing Steelers defense.

He was born in Germany and immigrated with his family to Albany, N.Y., when he was 3. After serving in the Marines, he played at Boston College and was selected by the Steelers in the third round of the 1950 NFL draft.

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