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Obituaries in the News

January 28, 1998

HOUSTON (AP) _ Journalist Garvin Berry, who worked in newspapers, radio and television, died Tuesday. He was 73.

Berry most recently was a contributing editor for KTRH, where he had been news director from 1981 until 1986.

Berry worked 15 years for newspapers, primarily at the now-defunct Houston Press. He later worked 14 years in television, mainly at KTRK in Houston, before joining KTRH.

Berry’s survivors included his wife, Betty, and six children.

Robert H. Brisbane

ATLANTA (AP) _ Robert H. Brisbane, a professor who founded the political science department at Morehouse College and helped found the Negro Voters’ League, died Friday. He was 84.

After earning a doctorate in political science from Harvard University, Brisbane was invited to start a political science department at Atlanta’s Morehouse College in 1948.

He helped found the Negro Voters’ League, which through protest and voter registration campaigns pressured the city to hire black policemen. The group also ran campaigns for the first black member of the Atlanta Board of Education and the first black state senators since Reconstruction.

John. H. Gillis

DETROIT (AP) _ John H. Gillis, who was the Michigan Court of Appeals’ longest-serving judge, died Sunday of heart failure caused by leukemia. He was 74.

Gillis was one of the original nine judges elected in 1964 to the Michigan Court of Appeals, created a year earlier. He retired in 1992.

Gillis also was a founder of the Incorporated Society of Irish American Lawyers, created in 1978.

Marion S. Gregory

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ Marion S. Gregory, former managing editor of The News & Observer of Raleigh, died Sunday of pancreatic cancer. She was 60.

Ms. Gregory was managing editor of the paper from 1990 to 1995, rising through the ranks to become the first woman to lead The News & Observer newsroom.

At the time of her death, she was director of planning and development for The N&O Publishing Co. She worked for the company for 33 years.

In 1962, she became assistant woman’s editor at The Raleigh Times, an afternoon newspaper that ceased publication nine years ago. In 1965, she moved to The News & Observer as woman’s editor, then moved back to the Raleigh Times in 1970 to became copy desk chief.

Ms. Gregory later became N&O computer systems editor, features editor and assistant managing editor before becoming managing editor Nov. 1, 1990.

Survivors include three daughters, her mother and a sister.

Tamio Kageyama

TOKYO (AP) _ Tamio Kageyama, whose novels dealt with fantasy and the supernatural, died Tuesday following a fire at his Tokyo home. He was 50.

Police said Kageyama apparently died of smoke inhalation from the fire Monday night.

Kageyama won the Naoki Prize _ one of Japan’s most prestigious literary awards _ in 1988 for his best-known work, the adventure-fantasy ``Toi umi kara kita Coo″ (The Baby Dinosaur Coo from the Far-off Sea), which has not been translated into English.

Kageyama started his career as a radio and television writer.

Carole Kent Kneeland

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ Carole Kent Kneeland, who headed news operations at Austin station KVUE-TV, died Monday of cancer. She was 49.

Ms. Kneeland, who was named a vice president of KVUE in 1996, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989 but continued a full schedule of work and travel. In October, between chemotherapy treatments, she traveled to El Paso to accept the broadcaster of the year award from the Texas Association of Broadcasters.

Before joining KVUE, Ms. Kneeland was a reporter and Capitol bureau chief for Dallas television station WFAA. She also worked for Houston’s KPRC-TV and KAUM-FM, as well as the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.

Ms. Kneeland was a board member for the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, which last year honored her with its James Madison Award.

Ms. Kneeland is survived by her husband, Dave McNeely, Austin American-Statesman political editor, her parents, two stepdaughters and a brother.

Randolph Symonette

NEW YORK (AP) _ Randolph Symonette, a baritone who sang at the Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Opera, died Jan. 1. He was 88.

Symonette debuted at the New York City Opera in 1952, singing in Mozart’s ``Don Giovanni.″ In 1961, he sang the role of Telramund in Wagner’s ``Lohengrin″ at the Met.

He also performed with the Vienna State Opera, the Paris Opera and the Deutche Oper am Rhein. He sang on Broadway in productions of Kurt Weill’s ``Firebrand of Florence″ and Gian Carlo Menotti’s ``Consul.″

Milo Watson

PERRY, Okla. (AP) _ Milo Watson, former publisher of the Perry Daily Journal, died Monday at age 80.

Watson was voted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 1995 for his efforts to help build Perry.

He began working for the newspaper in 1943 as advertising manager and purchased part ownership in 1945. He became publisher in February 1949, a position he held until he sold the newspaper in November 1996.

Perry was a director of the Oklahoma Press Association in 1961 and president of the statewide press organization in 1967.

He is survived by two daughters, five grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Olive Brasno Wayne

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) _ Olive Brasno Wayne, who at age 10 was spotted by a talent scout and later shared the stage with stars Shirley Temple and Jimmy Durante, died Sunday. She was 80.

Mrs. Wayne was performing with her brothers and sisters on the back of a family truck when she was spotted by a talent scout. She performed in local shows, then turned to Vaudeville.

Her dance partners included Donald O’Connor. She reportedly turned down an offer of $75 a week playing a Munchkin in the 1939 classic ``The Wizard of Oz″ because she was making $150 a week in Vaudeville.

She went on to perform in the movies, sharing the stage with Shirley Temple in ``Little Miss Broadway″ and Jimmy Durante in ``Carnival.″

She was often seen with her brother, George Brasno. They worked together in ``Carnival,″ ``Charlie Chan at the Circus″ and an episode of the ``Little Rascals,″ among others.

Along the way, Mrs. Wayne worked with such stars as Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Phil Silvers, Red Skelton, Abbott and Costello, George Burns, and Eddie Cantor.

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