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Obituaries in the News

April 1, 2002

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) _ Peter Biehl, who supported amnesty for the men who killed his daughter Amy in a racist attack in South Africa in 1993, died Sunday due to complications from cancer. He was 59.

Amy Biehl, a Fulbright scholar, was driving black friends home in Guguletu township when a mob stoned her car and stabbed her to death.

Biehl and his wife Linda were inspired by Amy’s dedication to help disadvantaged South Africans. They drew international recognition for their stance, which led to the release of the four men who had been serving 18 years for Amy’s murder.

Amy’s parents launched the Amy Biehl Foundation Trust in South Africa in 1997. It employs two men convicted for Amy’s murder: Mzikhona ``Easy″ Nofemela and Ntobeko Peni.

Terry Ferrer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Terry Ferrer, a former Newsweek editor who wrote and lectured on religion and education, died Feb. 12 of a thoracic aneurysm in Charlottesville, Va. She was 82.

Ferrer began her career at Newsweek as an office help in 1942. She quickly became a researcher, and began writing for the magazine during World War II.

She was appointed religion editor for the magazine in 1945, and took on the additional position of education editor two years later. In 1957, she joined the staff of The New York Herald Tribune.

After the Herald Tribune shut down in 1966, Ferrer retired from editing but continued to work for a variety of organizations as an education consultant.

Survivors include her sister, Dr. M. Irene Ferrer, and brother Mel Ferrer.

Hugh Davis Graham

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Hugh Davis Graham, a Vanderbilt University historian who sued the Bush administration for access to President Reagan’s papers, died Tuesday in Santa Barbara, Calif., after a long bout with cancer. He was 65.

Graham was a scholar of civil rights policy and joined several other plaintiffs last fall in asking a federal judge to strike down an executive order by President Bush that allowed sitting or former presidents to veto the release of their presidential papers.

The plaintiffs said it violated the 1978 Presidential Records Act, arguing that the law was meant to promote public access to the records. The suit, filed in Washington, has not been resolved.

A native of Little Rock, Ark., Graham was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history in 1991 for ``The Civil Rights Era: Origins and Development of National Policy, 1960-1972.″

He recently completed his final book, ``Collision Course: The Strange Convergence of Affirmative Action and Immigration Policy in America,″ which was published by Oxford University Press.

Graham stopped teaching two years ago because of his illness and moved to Santa Barbara.

Benjamin Harkarvy

NEW YORK (AP) _ Benjamin Harkarvy, an internationally known choreographer and director of The Juilliard School’s dance division, died Sauturday of heart failure. He was 71.

Harkarvy debuted as a dancer with the Brooklyn Lyric Opera in 1949. He began teaching in 1951 and founded his own dance school in 1955.

He began his career as a choreographer and artistic director with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in 1957 and became ballet master of the Netherlands Ballet in 1958. A year later, he helped found the Netherlands Dance Theatre, where he stayed as choreographer and artistic co-director for a decade.

Harkarvy remained an influence in international dance circles for more than 40 years, working with some of the leading dancers and most prestigious organizations, including the Royal Danish Ballet and the National Ballet of Spain. He also served as an occasional guest instructor for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

At Juilliard, Harkarvy created a program for high school-age dancers and increased opportunities for students interested in choreography.

Ivan F. Novikoff

SEATTLE (AP) _ Ivan F. Novikoff, a Russian immigrant ballet master whose students included Robert Joffrey, died March 20 of pneumonia. He was 102.

Born in Kazan, Russia, Novikoff studied at the Imperial Ballet School along with Vaslav Nijinsky and Anna Pavlova.

He fled from Russia after the Bolshevik revolution in 1917, taught dance to the children of Russian soldiers in Harbin, China, and emigrated to the United States in 1923.

Settling in Seattle, he founded the Novikoff School of Russian-American Ballet and eventually opened more than 20 schools in Washington state and Oregon.

In 1944 he composed the ballet ``Swan Queen and the Prince″ for pianoforte.

His thousands of students ranged from basketball players to Joffrey, who founded the Joffrey Ballet School-American Ballet Center in New York in 1952 and the Robert Joffrey Ballet in 1956.

In 1989, Novikoff was given the Governor’s Heritage Award for significant cultural contributions to the state.

Jess Stearn

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Jess Stearn, a best-selling author on the occult who came to believe the theories he wrote about, died Wednesday of congestive heart failure. He was 87.

No funeral services are planned for the writer, who believed he had lived previously and would live again.

Stearn’s best-known books include two biographies of reincarnation advocate Edgar Cayce, 1968′s ``The Sleeping Prophet: The Life and Work of Edgar Cayce″ and 1974′s ``A Prophet in His Own Country: The Story of the Young Edgar Cayce.″

Cayce was born poor and uneducated but became known as a clairvoyant who could enter a hypnotic trance and diagnose physical ailments, prescribe cures, and discuss a subject’s past and future lives.

Stearn, educated at Syracuse University, did not start out as a believer. He begin his career with 17 years as a reporter for the New York Daily News followed by a stint as an associate editor at Newsweek.

He began to accept Cayce’s theories of serial lives and other aspects of the occult while researching the 1968 biography of the clairvoyant.

``Death is just a comma in the book of life,″ Stearn told a 1990 conference of the Association for Research and Enlightenment, a group Cayce founded in 1931.

Stearn wrote about 30 books on the occult, including a popular work based on the true story of a Canadian girl who assumed the personality of a 19th century pioneer settler. It is titled ``The Search for the Girl With the Blue Eyes.″

The author also had an association with novelist Taylor Caldwell and wrote a book about Caldwell’s psychic lives. The two collaborated in 1977 on the book ``I, Judas,″ telling the story of Jesus’ betrayal from the point of view of the betrayer.

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