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Obituaries in the News

February 19, 2003

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) _ A. Vernon Croop, whose journalistic career spanned the Depression, World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War, died Feb. 12. He was 98.

Serving 16 years as managing editor of the former Times-Union in Rochester, Croop also worked for several years at the Democrat and Chronicle before becoming a Gannett executive.

As assistant managing editor of the Democrat and Chronicle, Croop was in charge of the paper that Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, when word that Japanese planes had attacked Pearl Harbor reached the newsroom in the mid-afternoon. Croop gave the orders for what was likely the first Sunday ``Extra″ edition in the paper’s history.

Born in California, Croop had come to western New York with his family when he was young.

Croop wrote for the Rochester and Syracuse newspapers while in high school. He continued to write for the Times-Union, which was owned by Gannett Co. Inc., while he attended the University of Rochester.

After graduating in 1926, Croop went to work at the Times-Union full time as a reporter, copy editor and then city editor.

In 1941, Croop shifted from the Times-Union to the Democrat and Chronicle, also owned by Gannett. In 1948, Croop was named chief of Gannett’s Washington bureau, a post he held until becoming the managing editor at the Times-Union.

In 1966, Croop became a Gannett executive _ assigned to recruit and develop staff throughout the company. He retired in December 1968.

Croop would have turned 99 on Monday, Feb. 24. He had been in declining health, though until two years ago he bowled and played golf.

Croop is also survived by two sons, David and George; a daughter, Marilyn; 11 grandchildren; 21 great-grandchildren; and three great-great-grandchildren.

Herman C. Hudson

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) _ Herman C. Hudson, who pioneered black studies and arts at Indiana University, died Monday at home in Southfield, Mich. He was 80.

Hudson founded Indiana’s Department of Afro-American Studies in 1971. He also established the Soul Revue, the Choral Ensemble and the African-American Dance Company, all part of the university’s African-American Arts Institute.

Hudson was born in 1923 in Birmingham, Ala. He had suffered from meningitis and was legally blind for much of his life.

Hudson received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and doctorate from the University of Michigan. Before coming to Indiana, he taught at Florida A&M University, the University of Puerto Rico and Kabul University in Afghanistan.

Lee S. Kreindler

NEW YORK (AP) _ Lee S. Kreindler, an attorney regarded as the founder of air disaster law, died Tuesday from complications of a cerebral hemorrhage. He was 78.

Kreindler’s firm, Kreindler & Kreindler, represented plaintiffs in almost every major aircraft disaster over the past five decades.

He was involved in the lawsuits that followed the crash of Trans World Airlines Flight 800 off Long Island in 1996 and the bombing of Pan American Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. He also represented families of many victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Aviation law requires a complex mix of legal, technical and factual issues, and Kreindler became known for his ability to boil information down to its essence. Some of the biggest challenges he faced involved international law, which set limits on the size of awards and limited the places in which plaintiffs could sue.

Kreindler received degrees from Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School and served in the Army in World War II. His father, Harry E. Kreindler, was the other Kreindler in the firm’s name. Lee Kreindler’s son, James, is currently a partner at Kreindler & Kreindler.

Thomas Shepardson

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) _ Thomas Shepardson, the creator of a national disaster response team, died Tuesday of an apparent heart attack after plowing snow from the parking lot of his funeral home. He was 59.

Shepardson owned and ran two funeral homes in this central New York city. He created a county disaster response team in the 1980s to collect and identify bodies in large scale disasters.

Officials recruited him to devise the plan on a larger scale, and he served as a national commander for D-Mort, the Disaster Mortuary Operational Rescue Team.

The team worked at the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, in Oklahoma City after the bombing of the federal building, the Korea Air 801 crash in Guam, and others.

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