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Obituaries in the News

May 14, 1998

WARWICK, N.Y. (AP) _ Shepard Coleman, who won a Tony Award for musical direction of the original 1964 production of ``Hello Dolly,″ died Tuesday. He was 74.

Coleman won a Tony for his vocal arrangements for the original production of ``Hello Dolly.″ Later that same year, he was musical director for ``Oh What a Lovely War.″

Among his other theater credits were the national tour of ``Destry Rides Again″ in 1960 and the Broadway production of ``Bye Bye Birdie″ in 1961.

A Juilliard graduate, he was a pit musician in musicals from 1946 to 1960 and also played with the New York Philharmonic and staff orchestras of radio stations WQXR and WMCA.

Herbert Waide Hemphill Jr.

NEW YORK (AP) _ Herbert Waide Hemphill Jr., who amassed a 3,000-piece American folk art collection, died Friday. He was 69.

Hemphill’s residence was filled with paintings, shop signs, fish decoys, whirligigs, tramp art, tattoo designs and bottle-cap animals. The collection spanned the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Artists included Martin Ramirez, Howard K. Finster, Jon Serl, Bessie Harvey, Sister Gertrude Morgan and Joseph Yoakum.

Hemphill served for 10 years as the first curator of the Museum of American Folk Art in New York after it opened in 1964. In the later 1970s and early 1980s, museums around the country featured parts of his art collection.

Hemphill changed the Washington-based National Museum of American Art’s approach to American art by donating 427 works.

He is the grandnephew of William Clark Bradley, owner of the Coca-Cola Co.

Hermann Lenz

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) _ Hermann Lenz, a German author who found fame late in life with his semi-autobiographical ``Swabian Chronicle,″ died Tuesday. He was 85.

From 1951 until 1971 he worked as secretary of the South German writers association.

It was only in the 1970s that he won widespread acclaim for his book ``Swabian Chronicle,″ featuring an alter ego, the fictional writer Eugen Rapp.

Beginning with ``Abandoned Room″ in 1966 and running through nine volumes, the last of which, ``Friends,″ appeared in 1997, Rapp covers the passage of the decades from a point of view Lenz once described as ``next to-outside.″

German critics hailed him as a ``chronicler of our century″ and he won numerous literary awards, including Germany’s most prestigious, the Buechner Prize, in 1978. His books appeared in Spanish, French and Italian but not in English.

Rommie Loudd

MIAMI (AP) _ Rommie Loudd, a player who went on to become the first black assistant coach in the American Football League and later personnel director of the New England Patriots, died Saturday of complications from diabetes. He was 64.

He was a standout end at UCLA and later played for the Chicago Bears of the NFL and the AFL’s San Diego Chargers and Boston Patriots.

He became the AFL’s first black assistant coach when he joined the Patriots’ staff in 1966, later moving into the club’s front office. He left the Patriots in the early 1970s to head the Florida Blazers of the short-lived World Football League.

Loudd also had run-ins with the law, including a six-month jail term in Los Angeles for forcing two boys, ages 12 and 13, to perform oral sex. In 1975, he was convicted of conspiracy to deliver cocaine for arranging the sale of $4,800 worth of the narcotic to an undercover officer in Orlando. He served three years of a 14-year sentence.

He later moved to Miami, where he became an activist in the black community and headed a ministerial group formed after the 1980 riots.

Loudd also served on the Miami-Dade County Corrections Department citizens’ advisory board and hosted a sports show broadcast on county jail TV, where he got the nickname ``All-Pro Pastor.″

Jack McDowell

ATHERTON, Calif. (AP) _ Jack McDowell, a World War II Pulitzer Prize winner and later a powerful California political consultant, died Saturday. He was 82.

McDowell was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in journalism in 1944 for a series of stories he wrote after accompanying a flight of whole blood _ his own and from other San Francisco donors _ destined for GI casualties in Mariana Islands hospitals.

At the time, he worked for the San Francisco Call Bulletin. He continued with the San Francisco Examiner when the two papers merged.

From 1946 to 1956, McDowell wrote a daily feature called ``Memo from Mac″ in the Call Bulletin. He was named city editor of the paper in 1950.

He became political editor in 1956 and kept that post with the merged News-Call Bulletin, then with the Examiner.

He covered the Sacramento political beat before leaving the newspaper business in 1969 to join the political campaign management firm of Spencer-Roberts & Associates.

In 1971, McDowell and Richard and Mary Woodward started the Woodward & McDowell political consulting firm in Burlingame. They managed many of the state’s highest-visibility political campaigns, including defeat of a pay limits proposition, creation of the California lottery, election of Sen. S.I. Hayakawa and the re-election of Gov. Reagan.

Out of college, he first worked for the San Jose Evening News, then he and his brother Cliff purchased the Turlock Daily Journal. McDowell remained there from 1933 to 1940, winning various prizes.

He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Jeanette; a brother; three daughters; four great-grandchildren; a great-great grandson; and three nieces.

James Oliver

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) _ James Oliver, former Alabama State basketball coach, died Wednesday after a long battle with kidney problems. He was 54.

Oliver coached the Hornets for 17 years, going 291-191. He was relieved of coaching duties in 1995, along with two other coaches, amid an NCAA investigation of alleged violations of Title IX, the federal civil rights legislation requiring equal treatment for men’s and women’s athletics.

A 1966 graduate of Alabama State, Oliver’s first season as Hornets’ coach was 1978-79. He won at least 20 games over his first five seasons.

Kenneth Dale Wells

EDGEWATER, Fla. (AP) _ Kenneth Dale Wells, one of the founders of the Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge, Pa., died Sunday of complications of cancer and diabetes. He was 89.

He established the Freedoms Foundation in 1949 along with E.F. Hutton, the founder of the investment brokerage firm, and Donald Belding, executive of a national advertising agency, to promote free enterprise and the American way of life.

The foundation conducts programs for students and teachers and honors men and women whose actions are consistent with what it calls ``the American spirit.″

Wells was its president from 1951 to 1970.

After retiring from the foundation, he moved to Burgess, Va., where he ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1972.

Kerris Ann Wolsky

NEW YORK (AP) _ Kerris Ann Wolsky, who founded Harlem Textile Works, died May 3 of a severe asthma attack. She was 41.

Ms. Wolsky started Harlem Textile Works in 1984. Harlem Textile Works offers design workshops to about 400 black and Hispanic residents ages 14 to 24 years old. These students are expected to pursue careers as art directors, stylists, designers and teachers.

The designs that are taught are mostly African-influenced.

She helped design gift-shop items for New York institutions such as Riverside Church, Harlem Theater Company, Studio Museum in Harlem.

In 1984, she joined the Children’s Art Carnival, a program that teaches children to read and write, using drawing, painting, photography, puppet making and the like during free after-school programs. It was this independent nonprofit organization that led to Ms. Wolsky creating the Textile Works.

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