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Obituaries in the News

March 28, 2004

Bryan L. Armstrong

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) _ Bryan L. Armstrong, a former newspaper editor and reporter who became a public relations director for Kentucky’s community college system, was found dead of a gunshot wound Thursday in Frankfort. He was 45.

The case was under investigation, according to the coroner’s office.

Armstrong was a journalism graduate of Western Kentucky University. His early career included internships at the Tampa Times in Florida and The Louisville Times. He was an editor at The Kansas City Times before moving to The Cincinnati Post in 1983.

Armstrong moved to The Kentucky Post in Covington as state editor, then became chief of the newspaper’s Frankfort bureau.

He is survived by a daughter, a son, his parents and a sister.


Jan Berry

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Jan Berry, a member of the duo Jan & Dean that had the 1960s surf-music hits ``Deadman’s Curve″ and ``The Little Old Lady from Pasadena,″ died Friday from a seizure. He was 62.

He was pronounced dead that evening at a hospital, said his wife, Gertie Berry.

Jan & Dean had a string of hits and 10 gold records in the 1960s with their tales of Southern California. Among them were 1964′s ``The Little Old Lady from Pasadena,″ about a hotrod racing grandma, and ``Surf City,″ with its lines about taking the ``woody″ station wagon to a place where there are ``two girls for every boy.″

Berry and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys co-wrote the lyrics for ``Surf City″ and ``Deadman’s Curve,″ which featured the driving guitar licks and falsetto crooning of the wildly popular surf music.

Berry’s hit-making career with high school friend Dean Torrence was cut short in 1966 when Berry’s speeding Corvette hit a parked truck and he suffered severe brain damage that left him partially paralyzed and unable to talk.

His recovery was slow, but eventually he was able to resume singing and writing songs.


Bill Braucher

MIAMI (AP) _ Bill Braucher, a former Miami Herald sports writer and columnist who was influential in luring Don Shula to coach the Miami Dolphins, died Friday of lung cancer. He was 77.

Braucher served as the intermediary in 1970 who contacted Shula, a fellow alumnus from John Carroll University, on behalf of the team after former owner Joe Robbie had decided to fire coach George Wilson.

Shula went on to coach the Dolphins for 26 seasons and became the winningest coach in NFL history.

The Dolphins couldn’t directly contact Shula, then coach of the Baltimore Colts, because it would have been considered tampering. Using Braucher as an intermediary, the Dolphins were still penalized a first-round draft pick for hiring Shula.

It was an era when sportswriters had much closer connections to the teams they covered. Another Herald columnist suggested Shula’s name to Robbie, and the owner asked Braucher to contact Shula.

Braucher served in the Army in World War II and started his career in journalism in Ohio before coming to The Herald in 1962. He was the Herald’s first Dolphins beat writer, covering the team from its inception in 1966 until 1974.


Chen Zhongwei

BEIJING (AP) _ Chen Zhongwei, a Chinese surgeon credited with pioneering the process of reattaching severed limbs, died Tuesday. He was 74.

Chen fell seven floors while trying to enter his apartment in Shanghai through the window, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Police ruled out the possibility of murder after investigators found Chen’s keys and mobile phone in his room and his briefcase by the apartment’s front door, the agency said.

Xinhua said Chen successfully reattached the severed right hand of an injured factory worker in 1963 _ the first operation of its kind.

Chen, a professor at Zhongshan Hospital in Shanghai, also worked with the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

He has been a guest professor at Harvard University, New York University and Oxford University, Xinhua said.


Lamond Mills

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Lamond Mills, a former U.S. attorney for Nevada, died of cancer at his home in Las Vegas on Friday. He was 62.

Mills was the chief federal prosecutor in the state from 1981 to 1985, a turbulent time when top southern Nevada political leaders were brought down in the FBI’s Operation Yobo bribery sting.

State Sens. Floyd Lamb and Gene Echols were among those convicted.

``He was always a straight shooter,″ said Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, who served on the Colorado River Commission with Mills.

As an Army first lieutenant, Mills was wounded in combat during the Vietnam War. He won a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and Army Commendation Medal for Outstanding Service. He received the Presidential Commendation for Outstanding Community Achievement for Vietnam Era Veterans in 1979.


Edward J. Piszek

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Edward J. Piszek, co-founder of the Mrs. Paul’s frozen fish empire and a friend of Pope John Paul II, died Saturday. He was 87.

Piszek died of bone cancer at his home in Fort Washington north of Philadelphia, surrounded by family members, said his son, Bill Piszek.

Edward Piszek had worked at General Electric Co. and Campbell Soup Co. before he formed Mrs. Paul’s Kitchens Inc. in 1946, with $350 and the help of a close friend, whom he bought out in the 1950s. When he sold the company in 1982, sales topped $100 million a year.

A philanthropist, Edward Piszek bought and shipped equipment to Poland to fight the tuberculosis that devastated the country during the 1960s, and befriended the pope, then Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Krakow, in 1964. He also donated 10 million pounds of food during Poland’s food shortages in the early 1980s.

In addition, he developed the Peace Corps Partners in Teaching English, which sends teachers to European countries, and helped airlift food to Ukraine after the Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion in 1986.


Kenneth E. Untener

MONROE, Mich. (AP) _ Kenneth E. Untener, bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saginaw since 1980, died Saturday of complications from leukemia, the diocese said. He was 66.

Untener died at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Infirmary in Monroe.

Untener sold the bishop’s mansion after his appointment and become something of a vagabond, roaming the 11-county diocese and living at various parishes through the years.

``He was a very simple-living person and he liked being with his priests,″ said diocese spokeswoman Cathy Haven.

The native of Detroit was ordained in 1963 and earned his doctorate of theology in Rome in 1963. In 1970 he was appointed Rector of St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, and in 1980 became bishop of the Saginaw diocese.

The diocese has 139,825 members and stretches over 11 counties around Saginaw.

As part of a nationwide survey on the church’s sex abuse scandal, the Saginaw diocese revealed in February that it had received nine accusations of sex abuse involving four priests and one permanent deacon since 1950.

Untener apologized to victims and said the church should use the scandal as raising awareness of child abuse.


Karl Joachim Weintraub

CHICAGO (AP) _ Karl Joachim Weintraub, a longtime University of Chicago professor who was so popular with students that they would sleep in line to register for his class, died Thursday, according to the university. He was 79.

Weintraub taught a course on Western history and culture for about 50 years. He died of a brain tumor in the university’s Bernard Mitchell Hospital.

Each spring students would line up for hours on campus to get a spot in his class. The student newspaper once reported the annual event under a headline: ``Waiting for Weintraub.″

Although he was failing in health, Weintraub met with his classes until 2002. He had technically retired, but continued his teaching and refused to accept a salary.

His wife and colleague, Katy O’Brien Weintraub, said that was his way of protesting changing styles in higher education. The Western Civilization course was being downsized and changed by a younger generation of faculty _ except in the two sections the Weintraubs offered.

Weintraub was born in Germany to a Jewish father and a Christian mother. During World War II, he was hidden by a Christian family in Holland. Afterward, the Quakers arranged for him to come to the United States. He finished his doctorate at the University of Chicago in 1957.

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