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Obituaries in the News

August 14, 2003

Laura Rapaport Borsten

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Laura Rapaport Borsten, the last surviving member of the Navy’s first group of women officers, died Monday of a stroke. She was 91.

The Navy pioneer catalogued her experiences in the memoir ``Once a Wave: My Life in the U.S. Navy 1942-1946.″

Borsten, who held the rank of lieutenant commander, became an officer in August 1942 after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill creating the Navy’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service or WAVES.

Her first responsibilities included training women assembled at the campuses of Mount Holyoke, Smith and Hunter colleges. She later served in Honolulu.

Born on a farm in Wishek, N.D., in 1912, Borsten graduated from the University of Minnesota and served as a director for the National Council of Jewish Women in New York before joining the WAVES.


Yousra Abdel Raouf al-Kidwah

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Yousra Abdel Raouf al-Kidwah, a sister of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, died in Cairo on Wednesday, Palestinian officials reported. She was 77.

Al-Kidwah died at Cairo’s Palestine Hospital, where she has been treated for various illnesses for a month. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Al-Kidwah’s husband, Jarir al-Kidwah, is an adviser to Arafat and her son Nassir is the Palestinian representative to the United Nations.

In a statement issued by his office, Arafat said his sister had ``a life full of long years serving her Palestinian people.″

Arafat, who is at his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah, will not attend Thursday’s funeral in the Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis, because of Israeli restrictions on travel, said an aide, Ahmed Abdel Rahman.


Allen Latham Jr.

BOSTON (AP) _ Allen Latham Jr., whose inventions revolutionized blood transfusions, died Aug. 5 at his home. He was 95.

Latham founded the company Haemonetics three decades ago, after he retired from his first career as an engineer. The company evolved into one of the leading suppliers of blood processing systems.

``In the past 50 years, his contributions have revolutionized transfusion medicine,″ C. Robert Valero, director of the Naval Blood Research Laboratory in Boston, told The Boston Globe. ``He alone was responsible for the multimillion-dollar business involved with the collection and processing of blood.″

Latham’s interest in blood collection began with a wrenching experience that killed one of his best friends, Abner Nichols. A chemical explosion at a plant where he and Nichols worked left Nichols gravely injured. In an attempt to save him, Latham volunteered to give Nichols a direct blood transfusion, which required the two to lay side by side while blood flowed between them. It didn’t work.

During the 1950s, Latham began collaborating with the late Harvard professor Edwin J. Cohn, a pioneer in the field of blood fractionation.

Using a centrifuge, Cohn was able to separate blood into its components _ red and white cells, platelets, and plasma _ but couldn’t design a reusable container to withstand the 5,000 rpm velocity of the machine.

Latham worked on the problem for years, tinkering and testing theories in his basement. Technology that Latham and his Haemonetics colleagues developed has helped treat cancer patients and filtered toxic substances from the blood.


Diana Mosley

LONDON (AP) _ Lady Diana Mosley, widow of Britain’s pre-war fascist party leader whose wedding guests included Adolf Hitler, died Monday in Paris. She was 93.

Lady Mosley, who spent much of World War II in prison, had lived in France since 1951.

In the face of criticism that lasted to the end of her life, she never ceased supporting her husband, Sir Oswald Mosley, who died in 1980, and his political views.

Nor did she express regret over her friendship with Hitler, who attended their 1936 wedding in Berlin and whom she described as ``extraordinarily fascinating and clever.″

She eventually conceded that Hitler’s actions were wrong.

Diana was born the fourth of seven children of David Mitford, the 2nd Baron Redesdale, part of an extraordinary family that has made news for a half-century.

Her sisters included novelist Nancy Mitford, whose early books, ``The Pursuit of Love″ and ``Love in a Cold Climate,″ were based on her own eccentric childhood.

At age 18, she married the immensely rich Bryan Guinness. She later left Guinness and married Sir Oswald Mosley in 1936. They married secretly in Berlin at the home of Hitler’s propaganda minister, Josef Goebbels. Hitler was one of the guests.


Fred Parker

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) _ Federal appeals court Judge Fred Parker, whose appointment to the bench won bipartisan backing, has died. He was 65.

Parker died at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington during or after a procedure to adjust a pacemaker. Parker had felt ill in New York and had been driven to Vermont. It was not immediately clear if he died Tuesday or Wednesday, and a hospital spokesman declined to provide details.

Parker served on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is based in New York City and is considered one of the most important courts in the nation. The 2nd Circuit _ one step below the U.S. Supreme Court _ hears cases from Connecticut, New York and Vermont.

It was a mark of Parker’s reputation that his appointments to the federal bench _ as a U.S. District Court judge for Vermont in 1990 and as an appeals court judge in 1994 _ were made by Republican and Democratic presidents and backed by both U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Jeffords, who at the time was a Republican.

Parker served as deputy attorney general for Vermont from 1969 to 1972 and was in private practice in Middlebury and Burlington from 1972 to 1990. ____

Walter J. Ong

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Walter J. Ong, a Jesuit priest and renowned scholar whose teachings spanned many disciplines, has died. He was 90.

Ong died Tuesday at a hospital after a long illness, a Saint Louis University spokesman said.

The former professor lectured around the world during his career at Saint Louis University. His most widely circulated book, ``Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the World,″ published in 1982, was translated into a dozen languages.

Ong showed how various forms of communication, from storytelling to handwritten manuscripts and cyberspace, shaped thoughts, relationships and cultures.

Ong ``constantly contrasted morality and literacy,″ said Thomas Farrell, a University of Minnesota professor who studied under Ong in the 1960s and later wrote a book about him.

Ong’s ideas about communication and culture drew a following that included feminist thinkers and psychologists, and were used to analyze the language of subway graffiti and Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches.

He studied under Marshall McLuhan in the 1930s and ’40s at Saint Louis University and was later quoted by the media culture guru in his classic, ``The Gutenberg Galaxy.″

Born Nov. 30, 1912 in Kansas City, Mo., Ong graduated from Rockhurst College and entered the Jesuit community in 1935. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1946.

He later studied philosophy, theology and, from McLuhan, English. He earned his doctorate in English at Harvard University and returned to Saint Louis University where he taught 36 years. Because his teachings straddled many disciplines, he was named professor of humanities, a position rarely granted.

Ong was president of the largest scholarly society in the world, the Modern Language Association of America.

He never stopped being a priest, hearing confessions and celebrating daily Mass at the university.

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