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Obituaries in the News

August 23, 1999

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) _ Alfons Bach, an industrial designer, architect and artist who helped create one the nation’s first shopping malls, died Thursday. He was 95.

Born in Magdeburg, Germany, Bach studied architecture in Berlin and opened a design firm in New York City in 1928.

During a career that spanned seven decades, he worked on the Ridgeway Center, a pioneering shopping mall in Stanford, Conn., and designed the interior of Trans World Airlines’ Constellation airliner for billionaire Howard Hughes, who owned TWA at the time.

Bach was a co-founder and national president of the American Designers Institute, which later merged with the Industrial Design Society of America.

Bach’s design clients included furniture maker Heywood Wakefield, carpet manufacturer Bigelow-Sanford, General Electric, Keystone Silver and Pacific Mills, a linen maker.

His drawings and papers are stored at the Cooper-Hewitt and the National Design Institute of the Smithsonian Institution in New York. Some of his works have been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Robert Byck

BOSTON (AP) _ Dr. Robert Byck, a Yale Medical School brain researcher who in 1979 warned Congress about the danger of smokable cocaine, died Aug. 9 of complications from a stroke suffered three days earlier. He was 66.

In the early 1970s, Byck and a Yale associate, Dr. J. Murdoch Ritchie, were the first to show that the major component of marijuana _ tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC _ had a direct effect on nerve cells and was more dangerous than previously thought.

Shortly afterward, Byck and colleagues began a study on the use of coca paste in Peru that led him to predict a coming crisis in the use of smoked cocaine.

In 1979, Byck told the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control that smoking coca paste gives a very intense, and almost immediate, high. Byck said that the United States did not have an epidemic of freebase or coca-paste smoking but that the possibility of one strongly existed.

``We are on the brink of a dangerous drug-use phenomenon,″ he said. ``We should do something about it as rapidly as possible.″

Byck joined the Yale faculty in 1969.

Leo Castelli

NEW YORK (AP) _ Leo Castelli, who became one of the world’s most influential art dealers by fostering the careers of such painters as Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, died Sunday following a short illness. He was 91.

Castelli’s New York galleries were showcases for major talents in the schools and styles that arose in post-war America and made New York the center of contemporary art.

He was in the forefront in promoting the successors to abstract expressionism _ pop artists, minimalists and conceptualists.

In addition to Rauschenberg and Johns, Castelli’s stable included Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Robert Morris, Ellsworth Kelly, Kenneth Noland, Cy Twombly, Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Bruce Nauman, Richard Serra and Andy Warhol.

Some would defect to other dealers during the churning 1980s.

Castelli was born in Trieste in 1907 of well-to-do, socially prominent parents. He was educated in Milan and dabbled in the insurance business.

His marriage in 1933 to Ileana Schapira, daughter of a wealthy Romanian industrialist, led to a job in Paris and indulgence in the couple’s interest in modern art.

Castelli opened a gallery in Paris with Rene Drouin, an architect and designer. Their first and only show, a surrealist exhibit, in 1939, was a success. Then World War II erupted and Castelli, a Jew, made his way to New York.

In 1957, at age 50, he and his wife opened a small gallery in their townhouse home on East 77th Street and began looking for artists headed in new directions. Johns, Rauschenberg and Stella were among his early stars.

Barbara White Fishman

NEW YORK (AP) _ Barbara White Fishman, an advertising agency art director who became a Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center benefactor after developing breast cancer, died Thursday of the disease, which she had battled since 1985. She was 60.

Ms. White gave $5 million to Sloan-Kettering to renovate its 42-bed Women’s Inpatient Center for diagnosis and treatment of gynecological cancers. She helped design and decorate the center to create a soothing atmosphere and to provide library space.

Ms. White also helped hundreds of students buy art supplies and obtain scholarships for summer courses at the Art Students League of New York.

Ms. White designed album covers and liner notes for CBS Records.

Nathan Howard Geddings

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Nathan Howard Geddings, a news photographer who worked for WLTX in Columbia, was killed Saturday in a three-car crash. He was 21.

Geddings was driving early Saturday morning when he crossed the center line and hit a pickup, which was then struck by another pickup, said police spokeswoman Leshia Utsey.

Geddings was not on assignment when the crash occurred.

Gus Girves

AKRON, Ohio (AP) _ Gus Girves, founder of the Brown Derby restaurant chain, died Thursday after a long illness. He was 82.

In 1942, Girves opened his first Brown Derby. He installed a huge bar in his first restaurant and sold liquor at cut-rate prices. The restaurant was open around the clock, and catered to war industry workers at the nearby Goodyear plant.

He went on to open Brown Derby restaurants in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and Arizona.

Girves, son of a Greek immigrant, was also known for his support of the Greek community in the Akron area.

Jim Hitchcock Sr.

POMPTON PLAINS, N.J. (AP) _ Jim Hitchcock Sr., who spent 34 years as a sportswriter, columnist and editor at The Star-Ledger of Newark, died Saturday after suffering from congestive heart failure. He was 59.

Hitchcock began his career at The Star-Ledger in 1957 as a copy boy. He retired from the newspaper in 1991.

In addition to working on the sports desk, Hitchcock wrote a college football column and did Combo Special selections weekly on three or four pro football games.

Survivors include his wife, a son and three daughters.

Rosie Jacuzzi

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (AP) _ Rosie Jacuzzi, the oldest member of the family that invented their namesake whirlpool, died Aug. 4. She was 95.

The Jacuzzi family owned a machine shop where they built airplane propellers for the Army Air Corps during World War I. They expanded into airplane manufacturing after the war but quit in 1921 after a fiery airplane crash killed several people, including Mrs. Jacuzzi’s brother-in-law.

Mrs. Jacuzzi and her husband moved to a ranch near Brentwood where the brothers invented the Jacuzzi pump, first used to pull water from wells.

Later, when a nephew contracted rheumatoid arthritis and required water therapy, the Jacuzzi brothers modified their pump to create the whirlpool bath that bears their name.

Vera Krasovskaya

MOSCOW (AP) _ Vera Krasovskaya, a Russian dancer who later became a renowned ballet historian, died Aug. 15 after a serious illness. She was 83.

Ms. Krasovskaya began her career in the 1930s as a dancer at the Kirov Ballet, based at the Mariinsky Theater in what was then Leningrad. She later studied at the city’s Theater Institute and earned a doctorate in art criticism there in 1955.

She wrote extensively on ballet issues for Soviet and foreign publications and published a number of books, including the multi-volume ``Ballet Theater in Russia″ and ``Western European Ballet Theater.″

Donald Louis Mason

HAWORTH, N.J. (AP) _ Donald Louis Mason, an FBI agent whose interest in art led to the creation of a loosely organized unit within the bureau’s major theft squad in New York that targeted art thieves, died Aug. 10 of cancer. He was 74.

Mason’s investigations included a widely publicized case in 1976, when film director Otto Preminger reported the theft of a Kandinsky painting ``Leise Deutung″ (``Soft Interpretations″), from his New York office.

Mason traced the painting from New York to Philadelphia, back to New York, and then to Basel, Switzerland, where it was seized and returned to Preminger. An advertising salesman was charged in connection with the theft.

After solving the case, Mason retired from the FBI and became a private consultant on art security. His clients included the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Newberry Library in Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Stanley J. Winkelman

BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. (AP) _ Stanley J. Winkelman, the former head of Winkelman’s department stores who also was known for his community involvement, died Thursday. He was 76.

After serving as a naval officer in World War II, Winkelman joined the family-owned business in 1946. His father and uncle formed Winkelman Brothers Apparel Inc. in 1928.

By 1966, when the company became publicly held, Winkelman’s had 62 stores. Ten years later, Winkelman became chairman and chief executive officer. He retired in 1984.

Petrie Retail Inc. purchased the chain in 1983 and last year, in the midst of bankruptcy reorganization, said it would close all remaining Winkelman’s stores.

Winkelman’s community involvement started in the 1960s, when he called upon the Detroit Board of Education to hire more black teachers. In 1967, following the Detroit riots, he called for an investigation of the city’s police department.

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