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Obituaries in the News

January 20, 2003

Shirin Amir Begum

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) _ Shirin Amir Begum, the widow of former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, died Sunday, family sources said Monday. She was 87.

Begum, the late prime minister’s first wife, kept a distance from politics, even after her husband became prime minister in the early 1970s. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government was toppled in 1977 and he was later hanged.

Bhutto had two wives, as is allowable under Muslim law. His other wife, Nusrat Bhutto, gave birth to Benazir Bhutto, who went on to become a two-time prime minister. Benazir Bhutto has been living in self-imposed exile since 1999 when she left Pakistan to avoid arrest in a corruption case.

Donald Karshan

NEW YORK (AP) _ Donald Karshan, a print collector and former director of the New York Cultural Center on Columbus Circle, died Jan. 4 from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 73.

Karshan was founding director of the New York Cultural Center, which opened in 1971 and closed four years later. He supervised several exhibitions but left the center after a year.

Karshan, who was also a former prints editor of Art in America magazine, incorporated the Museum of Graphic Arts in 1964, shortly after he began developing his own print collection. The museum was designed to make accessible to the public prints that were stored inside museums or kept in private collections.

The Brooklyn-born Karshan wrote on the graphic arts, contributing regularly to various periodicals. He also authored several books on prints and ceramics.

Pascal D. Pirone

NEW YORK (AP) _ Dr. Pascal D. Pirone, a longtime plant disease expert for the New York Botanical Garden, died on Jan. 11 in Lexington, Ky.

Pirone, who specialized in trees, worked as a horticulturist at the garden from 1947 to 1974. He was charged with keeping the Bronx garden’s indoor and outdoor plants in good health.

Pirone also wrote and taught about plant disease. He led popular adult courses at the garden, and two of his books _ ``Diseases and Pests of Ornamental Plants″ and ``The Maintenance of Ornamental and Shade Trees″ _ have been used as reference guides by professional and amateur gardeners alike.

Pirone has also been credited with discovering several potentially harmful species of fungi and bacteria and even has a fungus named after him.

Pirone helped combat Dutch elm disease while working as a project leader for the United States Agriculture Department.

Donald C. Rowley

ASHTABULA, Ohio (AP) _ Donald C. Rowley, former chairman of the Rowley Publications newspaper chain, died Sunday at his home in Green Valley, Ariz. He was 90.

Rowley and his brother, Robert, inherited the chain from their father, Claude. He started the chain in the 1920s with the purchase of the (Ashtabula) Star & Beacon and Geneva Free Press.

The Rowley family also owned several radio stations in the Ashtabula County area before Clear Channel Communications purchased them a few years ago.

Rowley’s survivors include his wife, Mary Anne; two sons; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

Charlie Webber

GREENWOOD, S.C. (AP) _ Charlie Webber, who played saxophone for the Swingin’ Medallions at the time of the band’s 1966 hit ``Double Shot (of My Baby’s Love),″ died Friday of cancer. He was 58.

Webber left the group in 1969 for a career in law enforcement. He worked for a sheriff’s office before he joined the State Law Enforcement Division in 1978.

Webber was a senior agent with the division’s Fugitive Task Force when he received the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian honor, in November.

John McElrath, who has been with the Swingin’ Medallions since the early 60s, said the band was thinking about Webber when they played at Gov. Mark Sanford’s inauguration barbecue Wednesday night.

``I had talked with his wife Vicki that morning and knew he wasn’t doing too well,″ McElrath said.

Mary Moers Wenig

HAMDEN, Conn. (AP) _ Mary Moers Wenig, a Quinnipiac University law professor and expert in taxation, trusts and estates, died Saturday after a long illness. She was 76.

Wenig, of Westport, joined the law school faculty in 1978. University officials said she was a prolific scholar, writing numerous articles on taxes, estate planning, the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act, trusts, estates, marital property, elder law and family law.

She also was one of the writers of the Uniform Marital Property Act, which was approved in 1983 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and later adopted by the state of Wisconsin.

Wenig was a staunch supporter of women’s access to the legal system and was a founding member of the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund.

She received many awards from a wide variety of legal and community organizations.

Wenig graduated from the Columbia University School of Law in 1951 and went on to practice law at the New York firms of Cahill, Gordon, Reindel & Ohl; Greenbaum, Wolff & Ernst; and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Frederick Martin Westphal

MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Wash. (AP) _ Frederick Martin Westphal, whose home was seized by a murderous fugitive who died in a shootout after a nationally publicized standoff in 1999, died Jan. 5 of diabetes. Westphal was 45.

Westphal, his wife and their three sons were away when Lonnie Davis, 21, broke into their rented house in Shoreline and used Westphal’s guns to shoot at police and King County sheriff’s deputies on May 28, 1999.

After wounding a sheriff’s deputy in a four-hour standoff, Davis was shot to death by a sharpshooter, ending a crime spree in which he fatally shot his wife and a child she was babysitting, collided on Interstate 5 with a motorcyclist who lost part of his left leg in the wreck, beat an elder woman to death and critically wounded another older woman.

Westphal’s house was in a shambles, he endured criticism from gun control advocates for the weapons Davis had found and eventually the family moved to Mountlake Terrace.

A native of Houston, Wesphal lived most of his life in the Seattle area and worked in a Boeing Co. warehouse for 24 years until he retired in 2000 because of diabetes- and stroke-related health problems.

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