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Obituaries in the News

December 18, 2006

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Al Beye

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) _ Al Beye, a first-team all-Big Sky selection last season as a senior at Montana State, died in an automobile crash, school officials said Saturday. He was 24.

Beye was in a vehicle driven by his brother when it went out of control on a gravel road and rolled over, apparently because of inattentive driving, Beaverhead County Sheriff Jay Hansen said.

There was no indication that drugs or alcohol contributed to the crash, Hansen said. Neither man used a seat belt, he said.

The pair was heading to a Christmas party at the ranch of a meat company where 25-year-old Assane Beye worked, Hansen said.

Assane Beye was listed in satisfactory condition Saturday at the Dillon hospital. His injuries included a broken leg.

Al Beye, a 6-foot-11 center, averaged 11.8 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game last season for the Bobcats and was chosen the Big Sky’s co-Defensive MVP. He had one semester of courses remaining to earn a degree in liberal studies.

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Verne Smith

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Former state Sen. Verne Smith, whose 2001 party switch to the GOP gave Republicans control of the state Senate for the first time since Reconstruction, died Sunday morning, his son said. He was 81.

Smith died Sunday after a long illness that prevented his bone marrow from fighting infections, said his son, Jeff. The condition, diagnosed after Smith had gall bladder surgery more than a year ago, kept Smith out of the state Senate all session this year and he resigned in July.

After the 2000 elections, the Senate was evenly split with 23 Democrats and 23 Republicans. Smith, with the urging of President Bush, bolted from the Democratic Party and gave Republicans control of the Senate and the Legislature. Republicans had controlled the House since 1994.

Before resigning, Smith had risen to No. 2 in Senate seniority. He was known as an advocate for the frail, elderly and children and worked to expand the state’s Medicaid programs to help them.

Smith’s wife of 38 years, Jean, died 29 days ago after a stroke, Jeff Smith said.

A World War II Army veteran, Smith returned to South Carolina after the war and was known around his hometown in Greer for the tire stores he operated there.

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Larry Zox

COLCHESTER, Conn. (AP) _ Artist Larry Zox, known for his work in the color-field movement of the 1960s, died Saturday at his home of cancer, his wife said. He was 69.

Zox’s paintings involved the splicing of a color field to give the sensation of shifting planes. They were the subject of a major retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1973, and 14 of his works hang in the Smithsonian Institution’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.

Zox was born May 31, 1937, in Des Moines, Iowa, and studied at the University of Oklahoma, Drake University, and at the Des Moines Art Center with noted German artist George Grosz.

He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as a National Council of the Arts award, and spent time as an artist in residence at schools including Dartmouth, the University of North Carolina, the School of Visual Arts and Yale University.

Zox had a studio in New York that was known as a colorful gathering place for artists, boxers and bikers in the early 1970s.

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