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Obituaries in the News

May 22, 1999

TILTON, N.H. (AP) _ Damon W. Hall, who recently received the French Legion of Honor for his service in World War I, died Tuesday at age 105.

Born in Sangerville, Maine, on June 29, 1893, Hall worked for the Boston & Maine Railroad and owned and ran an Amoco station in Bellows Falls.

In February, French Consul-General Maurice Portiche presented Hall with France’s highest military honor at a ceremony. To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the end of the war, France began honoring foreign soldiers who helped liberate France from German occupation in 1918.

At the time, officials said Hall was one of 300 surviving American veterans who qualified for the medal because they were stationed on French soil during the war.

James E. Hill Jr.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) _ Retired Gen. James E. Hill Jr., a former commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and a force behind the U.S. military’s push into space, died Thursday of cancer. He was 77.

Hill’s 37-year military career began the day after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, when he enlisted in the Army Air Corps.

Hill was a P-47 fighter pilot and flew 128 missions in World War II, shooting down five enemy planes and earning the title of ``ace.″ He also flew in Korea and Vietnam.

After serving as commander of NORAD’s Alaska region, Hill became commander of NORAD and Air Defense Command in 1977. He retired from that position in 1980.

As commander, Hill strongly advocated a separate space command but was rebuked by others who disagreed, said retired Brig. Gen. Bill Lindeman, a former deputy chief of staff.

After his retirement, Hill served as president of the Colorado Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and helped found the nonprofit Space Foundation, which promotes space-related business and educational efforts.

Daryl LaPointe

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) _ Daryl LaPointe, the chairman of the Winnebago Tribe, died Thursday of complications from a heart attack. He was 48.

The Winnebago Tribe’s reservation is centered in Thurston County, Neb.

LaPointe, who served four years on the tribal council about seven years ago, was elected chairman in October. He had served the tribe in many other ways, including director of the Winnebago Native American Head Start program, and as part of a task force that established a tribal college.

Lyndon Waldo Lyon

DOLGEVILLE, N.Y. (AP) _ Lyndon Waldo Lyon, developer of 800 varieties of African Violet including the double-pink and star flower, died Wednesday at age 94.

Lyon’s passion for the purple-flowered plant was sparked in 1949 with the gift of a single African Violet leaf from his niece. Shortly after, he set up an African Violet nursery under artificial lights in his own house where he studied the plant and experimented with hybridization.

By 1955, Lyon had built a greenhouse with 5,000 plants and had created 80 new varieties, including the double-pink which created a sensation at the 1954 national convention of the African Violet Society of America.

He built another greenhouse in 1956 and in the same year successfully bred the star flower, where the five petals are about the same size. Normally, the flowers of African Violets have three lower petals which are larger than the upper two.

By 1982, Lyon had created about 800 varieties and was selling over 100,000 plants a year in a retail-wholesale business. That same year he sold the business to his grandson, Paul Sorano.

Norman Rossington

MANCHESTER, England (AP) _ Comic actor Norman Rossington, a veteran of dozens of movies and British television shows, died Friday of cancer. He was 70.

The Liverpool-born Rossington was best-known for his string of more than 40 films, including the classic ``Lawrence of Arabia,″ ``A Hard Day’s Night″ with the Beatles, the World War II epic ``The Longest Day″ and ``A Night to Remember″ about the Titanic disaster.

His stage career included stints at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Laurence Olivier’s pre-National Theatre company at Chichester, England, and in the Royal Shakespeare Company. His many TV credits included ``I Claudius.″

Rossington had been working up until November in the London West End stage hit ``Beauty and the Beast,″ but bowed out after a fall on stage.

Fulvio Tomizza

TRIESTE, Italy (AP) _ Fulvio Tomizza, a writer of several novels about the mix of cultures in his native Istria, died Friday. He was 64.

In 1960, Tomizza wrote his first novel, ``Materada,″ named after his hometown in Istria, the northwest Croatian peninsula formerly under Italian rule.

About 200,000 ethnic Italians were forced to flee Istria after World War II when Italy lost its jurisdiction over the territory, and the book focused on how natives were uprooted and sent searching for a new motherland.

Tomizza went on to write dozens of other books with similar themes and also worked as a playwright and journalist for RAI, Italian state TV.

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