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Obituaries in the News

August 13, 1999

SHELBURNE, Vt. (AP) _ Whitney Darrow Jr., a popular cartoonist for The New Yorker, died Tuesday. He was 89.

The New Yorker published more than 1,500 of Darrow’s cartoons during a 50-year career that started in the 1930s.

One of his favorite cartoons was inspired by the advent of Laundromats. Darrow drew a woman in a busy Laundromat washing all her clothes, including those she’d been wearing. Naked, she stares in amazement at the newfangled machine doing her wash.

John Russell, reviewing a Darrow exhibition in 1978, wrote in the New York Times that ``Whitney Darrow has been one of the best cartoonists around for as long as anyone can remember. He is an environmental cartoonist, in that he goes on setting the scene in that misleadingly easygoing style of his until he is ready for a one-liner. And what a one-liner.″

He published four collections of his cartoons and also illustrated books by Jean Kerr, Nathanial Benchley and many others.

Jean Drapeau

MONTREAL (AP) _ Jean Drapeau, the autocratic mayor for 29 years who brought Expo 67 and the 1976 Olympics to Montreal, died Thursday. He was 83.

The longtime mayor had hospitalized since July 5. At the family’s request, the hospital did not disclose the cause of death. Drapeau had suffered a stroke several years ago.

Drapeau, who first won office in 1954, maintained an iron control over city hall and a hands-on approach to local problems. He left a civic legacy that includes a new subway system in 1966, major league baseball, Grand Prix racing, and the 1967 World’s Fair known as Expo 67.

Drapeau served all but three years from 1954 until he stepped down in 1986.

Frank Enright

HASKINS, Ohio (AP) _ Frank Enright, the mayor of Portage, was killed Thursday when he touched a 2,400-volt power line while doing electrical work. He was 72.

It was the fifth death in the Toledo area in the last 10 weeks involving electric shock.

The four-term mayor was helping prepare a pole to hang a new transformer in a parking lot of Haskins Elementary School when the accident happened, Haskins police Chief Jerry Eversman said.

Enright worked for Bowling Green’s electric department beginning in the late 1940s, then started Enright Electric in Portage.

Robert Thomas Jones

LOS ALTOS HILLS, Calif. (AP) _ Robert Thomas Jones, who began his career as a handyman for a flying circus and later developed a wing design as a NASA scientist that revolutionized air travel, died Wednesday. He was 89.

Before Jones designed swept-back wings in 1944, jet wings were built perpendicular to the fuselage. Pivoting them back created less wind resistance, allowing for supersonic speeds with the same engine power. Virtually every commercial and military jet uses the design today.

Jones enrolled in the University of Missouri in 1927 but dropped out after his freshman year to join Charles Fower’s flying circus. Jones received flying lessons in exchange for carrying gasoline cans and patching up holes in airplane wings.

Jones began his research career in 1934 when he joined the predecessor to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration _ the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics _ at its laboratory in Langley, Va. He transferred to NASA Ames in 1946.

In 1981, the year he retired, Jones received the Congressional Excalibur Award for his contributions to aeronautical science and the Smithsonian Institution’s Langley Award, an honor also given to the Wright brothers and Charles Lindbergh.

Tommy Ridgley

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Vocalist Tommy Ridgley, a veteran performer from the golden age of New Orleans rhythm and blues, died Wednesday of lung cancer. He was 73.

Though Ridgley never had a national hit, his more than 70 recordings have endured around the globe. He was a fixture in the city’s nightclubs and at private functions for 50 years, and has been featured at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival since 1972.

Ridgley signed with Decca Records in 1952 and produced ``TraLaLa″ which was later covered by Pat Boone.

He also recorded over the years for Atlantic Records, where he was billed as ``The New King of the Stroll.″

In 1965, Ridgley released an acclaimed comeback album, ``Since the Blues Began,″ on Rounder Records. Last year Ridgley announced plans for a new CD, and remained optimistic about performing even after he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Robert Viles

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) _ Robert Viles, a former dean and president of the Franklin Pierce Law Center, died Monday in a swimming mishap while vacationing in France with his wife. He was 60.

Viles was swimming off the coast of Brittany when he was pulled under by ocean currents. The Concord Monitor quoted friends of Viles as saying that he was pulled ashore but attempts to revive him failed.

Viles, originally from Skowhegan, Maine, studied law at New York University and Yale. He moved to New Hampshire in 1973 to help start Franklin Pierce.

He became the school’s dean in 1976, a position he held until 1997. In 1992 he also became the law center’s president.

He stepped down as president in June to become vice chairman of the board of trustees.

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