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Deaths in the News

November 6, 2000

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) _ Anna Berenson Mayer, a social policy planner and professor whose writings gave form to the Head Start educational program, died Wednesday. She was 91.

Mayer was a retired professor of social policy at Rutgers University and an advocate of the poor. In 1983 she was picked to head the Governor’s Committee on Children’s Services Planning for New Jersey, a new group making recommendations on children’s issues to then-Gov. Thomas H. Kean.

Mayer was one of two co-authors of a monograph written for the Ford Foundation in the early 1960s, ``Day Care as a Social Instrument,″ which the founders of Head Start used to develop their educational program for young children from disadvantaged families.

Jimmy Thornton

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) _ State Rep. Jimmy Thornton, who crusaded for the removal of the Confederate emblem from Mississippi’s flag, died Saturday of cancer. He was 68.

Thornton, a Democrat from Greenville, was at the forefront of efforts in the 2000 Legislature to challenge the state flag. His efforts led to a fight that ended up being decided by the Mississippi Supreme Court.

The state Supreme Court ruled the flag used since 1894 had no official standing. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove has appointed a commission to decide the fate of the banner.

Thornton was serving his eighth year in the Mississippi Statehouse.

George Edward Vandeman

NEWBURY PARK, Calif. (AP) _ George Edward Vandeman, a pioneering television evangelist who made history with the first regularly scheduled American religious broadcast on Soviet television, died Friday of cardiac arrest. He was 84.

From 1956 until his retirement in 1992, Vandeman hosted the popular Seventh-day Adventist show ``It Is Written.″ The program covered everything from prophecy to positive thinking.

With its new host Mark Finley, the show still airs in 5,000 cities in the United States and Canada and 150 countries.

Vandeman’s biggest coup occurred in 1991 when his show was given a weekly slot on Soviet television, the first American religious show to appear there regularly.

He also wrote more than 40 books on religious subjects.

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