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Obituaries in the News

March 20, 1998

YORKTOWN, Ind. (AP) _ Cliff Barker, a member of the ``Fabulous Five″ that won Kentucky’s first NCAA basketball championship 50 years ago, died Tuesday. He was 77.

Barker teamed with Alex Groza, Ralph Beard, Kenneth Rollins and Wallace Jones to win the 1948 NCAA championship for Kentucky. The Wildcats finished 36-3, beating Baylor 77-59 in the championship.

Kentucky repeated as NCAA champion in 1949, and Barker went into the NBA with the Indianapolis Olympians. Barker played three years, averaging 3.9 points a game.

Gilbert Bourdin

PARIS (AP) _ Gilbert Bourdin, a cult leader and self-proclaimed messiah who said he shielded the world from extraterrestrial invasions, died Wednesday of diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. He was 72.

Bourdin, who founded the Mandarom cult in 1969, at times referred to himself as the ``Cosmic Christ″ and at others as ``Hamsah Manara,″ which means ``god among men″ in Sanskrit.

Followers are strict vegetarians, wear loose-fitting tunics, shave their heads and tend gardens at the castle he built in Castellane.

A 1996 French parliamentary report said the cult had engaged in ``insidious recruitment″ practices and cited a police investigation of rape accusations brought against Bourdin by five former cult members. He was jailed for two weeks, but no formal charges were brought.

Ruth Easton

ST. PAUL (AP) _ Ruth Easton, former Broadway actress in the 1920′s and 30s, died Monday. Her age was unavailable.

Easton worked in radio dramas, including ``The Rudy Vallee Hour″ and ``The Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour.″ She performed with actors such as Ethel and Lionel Barrymore, Clark Gable, Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor.

Homer Garrott

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Retired Municipal Court Judge Homer Garrott, who became the first black California Highway Patrol officer 56 years ago, died Saturday of complications from a stroke. He was 83.

Garrott became an officer in 1942 and remained the only black officer on the force for 13 years. He was assigned to motorcycle duty for most of his 22 years with the patrol.

Garrott became a deputy public defender from 1964 to 1967 and a Juvenile Court referee from 1967 to 1968. He served as a Los Angeles Municipal Court commissioner from 1968 to 1973, when then-Gov. Ronald Reagan appointed him to the Compton Municipal Court. Garrott retired in 1984.

Irving Hill

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ U.S. District Judge Irving Hill, who ruled that the media’s right to the Rodney King beating video was more important than the monetary interests of the plumber who shot it, died Wednesday in his chambers. He was 83.

In 1993, Hill dismissed a $100 million copyright infringement lawsuit filed by George Holliday, the plumber who videotaped the 1991 police beating of King. Holliday claimed that CNN, NBC, CBS and ABC violated his copyright through unauthorized broadcasts of the tape.

Among Hill’s high-profile cases was the civil dispute in 1984 between producer Robert Evans, director Francis Ford Coppola and a vast supporting cast over who was in charge of what in the film, ``Cotton Club.″

Gov. Pat Brown appointed him to Superior Court in Los Angeles in 1960. President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed him to the federal bench five years later.

Shiro Kashiwa

HONOLULU (AP) _ Shiro Kashiwa, the first Japanese-American appointed to the Washington-based U.S. Court of Claims, died March 13. He was 85.

Kashiwa was named to the bench in 1972 by President Nixon and was appointed in 1982 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

He served on the bench until 1986, when he began working for the Washington law firm of Pennie & Edwards. He retired to Honolulu in 1992.

Philip Lubart

NEW YORK (AP) _ Philip Lubart, one of the top fencers in the 1930s, died Monday. He was 90.

Lubart, who was ranked ninth in the country in sabre from 1938-39, helped establish New York University’s fencing program, which enjoyed success for nearly 50 years.

William D. Montalbano

LONDON (AP) _ William D. Montalbano, an award-winning foreign correspondent, suffered a fatal heart attack Thursday while walking to the Los Angeles Times office in London where he was bureau chief. He was 57.

Montalbano began his career at the Newark Star-Ledger and the Quincy Patriot Ledger in Massachusetts. He went abroad in 1964, working as a reporter on the Buenos Aires Herald in Argentina. He then worked on the foreign desk of United Press International from 1965-67.

In 1967, he joined the Miami Herald as its Latin American correspondent. He later held several senior posts at the Miami Herald until 1983, with a break from 1979-80 in Beijing as bureau chief for Knight Ridder newspapers.

Montalbano joined the Los Angeles Times in 1983 and returned to Latin America, where he worked in El Salvador until 1984 and Buenos Aires from 1984 to 1988. He then spent seven years as Rome bureau chief before moving to London in September 1995.

He won numerous awards, including The Overseas Press Club Award for best interpretation of foreign news in 1973, the Ernie Pyle Award for human interest writing in 1975, and the Los Angeles Times’ Editorial Award for best writing in 1985.

Montalbano is survived by his second wife Rosanna, their three children, and two children from his first marriage.

Eloisa Gaston Segrere Suarez

MIAMI (AP) _ Eloisa Gaston Segrere Suarez, the mother of former Miami Mayor Xavier L. Suarez, died Wednesday at age 81.

She was a religious education teacher and sponsor of pre-marriage counseling conferences.

Xavier Suarez was ousted from office last week when a three-judge panel overturned a lower court’s decision calling for a new election because of absentee ballot fraud. The decision restored Joe Carollo, the incumbent and Suarez’s opponent in the election, as mayor of the city of 375,000. Suarez is appealing.

Dalton V. Walker

SHERIDAN, Ark. (AP) _ Dalton V. Walker, former state legislator and editor and publisher of the Sheridan Headlight for 35 years, died Tuesday of a stroke. He was 91.

Walker served two terms as a state representative beginning in 1937. He also was Sheridan’s mayor from 1977 to 1988.

Bill Zacha

FORT BRAGG, Calif. (AP) _ Bill Zacha, who helped transform the small lumber town of Mendocino into a haven for artists, died Wednesday. He was 78.

Zacha, himself a renowned artist, founded the Mendocino Art Center and was profiled in a 1961 Look magazine story titled ``A Young Man Saves a Town.″

Zacha lured artists like Dorr Bothwell, Ray and Miriam Rice and Hilda Pertha to the town.

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