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Obituaries in the News

March 24, 1999

CLAREMONT, Calif. (AP) _ George C.S. Benson, founding president of Claremont McKenna College, author of books on American government and politics, and a Pentagon official in the Nixon administration, died Monday. He was 91.

Benson became the first president of what was then Claremont Men’s in 1946. Its name was changed in 1981.

Benson also played a leading role in founding Harvey Mudd and Pitzer College, as well as in bringing the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden to Claremont.

He retired from the college presidency in 1969 to become deputy assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs in the Nixon administration. Benson worked to persuade universities to retain Reserve Officer Training Corps programs at a time when they were under attack.

Benson was the author of eight books on American government and politics, including ``The New Centralization,″ published in 1941.

Sir Michael Caine

LONDON (AP) _ Sir Michael Caine, chairman of the food and agri-business company Booker PLC and the driving force behind Britain’s prestigious Booker Prize for fiction, died Saturday. He was 71.

Caine died of cancer in London, the company said.

Possessed of a strong social conscience and a keen mind, Caine believed companies should be active beyond business and saw the $32,000 Booker Prize as an encouragement to new writing in Britain and its former colonies.

Considered Britain’s highest literary honor, it has recognized novelists such as Salman Rushdie, Iris Murdoch, Ian McEwan and Peter Carey.

The prize, modeled on France’s Prix Goncourt, was established in 1968 when Caine was an executive and board member of Booker PLC.

Caine was born in Hong Kong, the son of Sir Sydney Caine, who was director of the London School of Economics and a colonial civil servant. He was educated at Oxford University and George Washington University in the United States.

After working for the British Embassy in Washington, he joined Booker in 1952 and worked for the company in Guyana, Trinidad and southern Africa.

After joining the board in 1964, he helped the company _ whose core business was Caribbean sugar _ diversify in the face of the loss of its colonial fiefdoms.

He served as chief executive from 1975-79 and then as chairman until his retirement in 1993. He was knighted in 1988.

Patricia Goodrich

GOLD CANYON, Ariz. (AP) _ Former Rep. Patricia Goodrich, who served for a decade in the Wisconsin Legislature and later headed a state agency, died here Sunday. She was 66.

Goodrich had been suffering from a neurological disease that causes degeneration of the part of the brain responsible for muscle coordination.

Goodrich, a Republican, represented the 72nd Assembly District in Wisconsin, now the 41st, for five terms from 1974-84.

She later was appointed by Gov. Tommy Thompson to be secretary of the state Department of Health and Social Services and served in that post from 1988-91.

Milton S. Gould

NEW YORK (AP) _ Milton S. Gould, who co-founded one of New York City’s most politically connected and ethnically balanced law firms during his storied 65-year legal career, died Sunday. He was 89.

Gould won millions of dollars for stockholders of the Fifth Avenue Coach lines following its takeover by the city and helped restore the reputation of former Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon in libel actions against Time magazine.

Gould began practicing law at the old-line firm White & Case in the 1930s, a time when largely Protestant establishment firms were notorious for shunning Jewish lawyers. When he learned that he was to be forbidden contact with clients and would only be given research duties, he quit and joined the Jewish firm Kaufman, Weiztner & Celler.

In 1964, Gould’s firm, then known as Gallop, Climenko & Gould, merged with a Catholic firm run by William Shea. Shea, Gallop, Climenko & Gould combined Shea’s reputation as a back-room dealer with Gould’s prominence as an effective litigator. Shea emerged as the firm’s media star, especially after his efforts to replace the outgoing Brooklyn Dodgers led the city to name the Mets’ Stadium after him.

The two men ran the firm together for twenty years, purposefully maintaining a close balance of Christian and Jewish lawyers. Ten years after they ceded power to younger partners, the firm was dissolved in 1994.

Cody Hall

ANNISTON, Ala. (AP) _ Cody Hall, a police reporter who later became executive editor of The Anniston Star, died Monday after a long illness. He was 75.

Hall, who spent a half-century in journalism, came from a family with a newspaper tradition. He spent his boyhood working in the back shop of The Alexander City Outlook, where his father, E. Cody Hall Sr., was editor. An uncle, Grover C. Hall, won a Pulitzer Prize in 1928 for anti-Ku Klux Klan editorials while editor of The Montgomery Advertiser.

Hall worked briefly for The Associated Press in Memphis, Tenn., before joining the Star as a police reporter. Later, as city editor, he directed the Star’s coverage of the burning of a bus carrying freedom riders through Anniston in 1961.

He later became executive editor and editor emeritus, semi-retiring in 1992.

Roy Lee Johnson

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) _ Retired Adm. Roy Lee Johnson, who ordered Navy ships to fire on North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam War, died Saturday. He was 93.

Johnson ordered the attacks after the torpedo boats fired on two U.S. destroyers on Aug. 4, 1964. Three days later, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, giving President Lyndon B. Johnson the authority to escalate U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

At the time, the admiral was commander of the U.S. Seventh Fleet. At the height of the Vietnam War, he was commander in chief of U.S. naval forces in the Pacific.

Johnson’s career began in 1932 and spanned three wars. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal and the Legion of Honor with gold star and two distinguished service medals.

Syd Michael Kibodeaux

DUBLIN, Va. (AP) _ Syd Michael Kibodeaux, publisher of The Southwest Times, died March 13 of cancer. He was 42.

Kibodeaux began his newspaper career in 1983 at the Jennings Daily News in his home state of Louisiana. Six years later, he became publisher of The Daily News in Richmond, Mo. He took over at The Southwest Times in Pulaski, Va., in 1995.

He is survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter, his mother, two brothers, and four sisters.

Charles Sawtelle

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Charles Sawtelle, a musician known as ``The Bluegrass Mystery,″ died Saturday from complications related to a bone marrow transplant as part of his battle with leukemia. He was 52.

Sawtelle was a founding member of the bluegrass group Hot Rize. He played guitar, bass guitar and sang with Pete Wernick, Tim O’Brien and Nick Forster.

The four also played together as a hardcore-country band, Red Knuckles and the Trail Blazers, in which Sawtelle played a character named Slade.

Founded in 1978, Hot Rize played together until 1990.

After the band split up, Sawtelle organized a Colorado bluegrass band, Charles Sawtelle and The Whippets, and he recorded and toured with fellow bluegrass musician Peter Rowan.

Sawtelle started his career playing steel guitar, joining the Drifting Ramblers in early 1976.

Paul Toth

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) _ Paul Toth, a National League baseball pitcher in the 1960s, died Saturday of a heart attack. He was 63.

Toth, a right-hander, pitched for the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. He had a 4-1 record with St. Louis in 1962 and was traded to Chicago in 1963, where he went 5-11 over two years.

He also spent time in the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees’ farm systems.

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