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Obituaries in the News

July 13, 1998

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) _ Irwin H. ``Sonny″ Bloch, a radio host who bilked $21 million from hundreds of his listeners by persuading them to buy worthless securities, died March 10 of lung cancer. He was 61.

Bloch was sentenced in 1996 to 21 months in prison for evading taxes on $700,000 of income he received between 1991 and 1993.

When he was found last year to be in the final stages of cancer, prosecutors and defense lawyers asked the judge to allow him to go home to die.

His death had not been widely publicized.

Bloch _ who apologized after his tax-evasion conviction for his ``greed and stupidity″ _ was awaiting sentencing in federal court in New Jersey in the $21 million telemarketing scheme.

Most of the people he bilked were retirees. Many of them had been listeners of the ``The Sonny Bloch Show″ and trusted Bloch with their savings. His radio show had 1.5 million listeners in 200 cities.

Jimmy Driftwood

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) _ Folk singer-songwriter Jimmy Driftwood, whose penning of the ``Battle of New Orleans″ vaulted him to fame 40 years ago, died Sunday after suffering a heart attack. He was 91.

Born James Corbett Morris, he changed his name to Jimmy Driftwood and went on to write some 6,000 folk songs, 300 of which were published or recorded.

He was a school teacher before he began his music career, and said he wrote the ``Battle of New Orleans″ as part of a history lesson for his students. Driftwood recorded the song in 1957, but a 1960 version by the late Johnny Horton made the tune a huge hit.

He won Grammy awards for ``The Battle of New Orleans,″ ``Wilderness Road,″ ``Songs of Billy Yank and Johnny Reb″ and ``Tennessee Stud,″ which was a big hit for Eddy Arnold.

Max Nowak

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) _ Max Nowak, among the first members of a German rocket team to move to the United States to help put Americans on the moon, died Tuesday. He was 89.

Nowak was a member of Wernher von Braun’s team of engineers who developed the V-1 and V-2 rockets during World War II and then came to the United States under contract to the Army.

The team worked on the U.S. rocket and space program, eventually for NASA.

Nowak was assistant to the director of the manufacturing engineering lab during the Apollo program. He also directed assembly of systems for the Saturn 1 nose cones and Saturn V launch systems.

Heinrich Paetz

GRANT, Ala. (AP) _ Heinrich Paetz, a member of the German rocket team recruited by the United States to help propel Americans to the moon, died Thursday. He was 88.

Paetz was a member of Wernher von Braun’s team of engineers who developed the V-1 and V-2 rockets during World War II and then came to the United States under contract to the Army.

He was chief of the electrical section in Peenemuende, Germany. He also worked in development of the V-2 and the Wasserfall, an anti-aircraft missile.

At the Army’s Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, he worked for the test branch and participated in the Redstone, Jupiter, Saturn 1 and Saturn V rocket programs. He retired from NASA in 1970.

Lord Rayner

LONDON (AP) _ Lord Rayner, who oversaw a major expansion of the retail giant Marks and Spencer and used his business skills to help streamline government, died June 26. He was 72.

Rayner started on the shop floor at Marks and Spencer in 1953 and worked his way to the top, serving as chairman from 1984 until his retirement in 1991.

The son of a building supply merchant, Derek George Rayner was born in Norwich and studied theology at Cambridge University’s Selwyn College.

After commanding a Royal Air Force regiment from 1946-48, he began his business career managing a small retail business. After it failed in 1953, he joined Marks and Spencer.

In the early 1970s, he used his retailing experience to centralize defense procurement as an adviser to former Prime Minister Edward Heath. He returned to Marks and Spencer in 1973 as joint managing director, with a knighthood honoring his work.

One of Margaret Thatcher’s first acts after she became prime minister in 1979 was to make Rayner her adviser ``on improving efficiency and eliminating waste in government.″

He left the government in 1982 and, in 1983, he received a life peerage in the House of Lords for his government service.

Rayner returned to Marks and Spencer as chief executive and became chairman in 1984, a time when Marks and Spencer was beginning to lose its supremacy.

Clyde de Loache Ryals

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) _ Clyde de Loache Ryals, a Duke University English professor known for his study of Victorian poets Alfred Lord Tennyson and Robert Browning, died Thursday after a lengthy illness. He was 69.

For the past two decades, Ryals worked as senior editor of the multi-volume ``Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle.″

Thomas Carlyle achieved literary and popular success in 1837 with his history of the French Revolution. He and his wife wrote thousands of letters, to each other, family members, and friends including Tennyson, Ralph Waldo Emerson and John Stuart Mill.

Ryals edited 16 volumes of the Carlyle collection and was working on another volume at the time of his death.

Albert Schuler

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) _ Albert Schuler, a member of Wernher von Braun’s German rocket team that helped put Americans on the moon, died Friday. He was 83.

Von Braun’s team of engineers developed the V-1 and V-2 rockets during World War II and were later recruited by the U.S. military to work on the American rocket and space program.

Schuler was in charge of measuring instrumentation on the rocket test stands and rockets during static firings. He was also in charge of flight instrumentation, guidance and control on rocket flights.

He retired from NASA in 1969.

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