BOSTON (AP) _ Constance Amaral, whose AIDS diagnosis spurred her to become one of the state's top AIDS activists, died Saturday. She was 44.

Amaral used her own story to illustrate the dangers of sharing needles and having unprotected sex. She was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986, though she wasn't sure how she contracted the disease.

Amaral's advocacy spanned the political spectrum, as she spoke at engagements sponsored by organizations ranging from the Archdiocese of Boston to Planned Parenthood.

Charles L. Byars

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Charles L. Byars, who held top editing jobs at three South Carolina daily newspapers, died Tuesday after a lengthy bout with cancer. He was 71.

Byars retired in May 1988 after eight years as managing editor of The (Columbia) State, which featured his column of homespun musings titled ``Personally.''

In 1959, Byars started his own newspaper. He and Jack Brewster of Calhoun Falls published the weekly Ninety Six News. The paper was merged into The (Greenwood) Index-Journal in 1961. At the larger paper he was a wire editor, sports editor, news editor and managing editor.

He left Greenwood for the now-defunct evening daily The Columbia Record and worked as assistant city editor, news editor, assistant managing editor and managing editor before moving over to The Record's sister paper and larger daily, The State.

He was a member of Associated Press Managing Editors, a national group of editors promoting continuing studies of news publishing, a member of the South Carolina Press Association and a former president of the South Carolina Associated Press News Council.

Mary Cantwell

NEW YORK (AP) _ Mary Cantwell, who wrote essays, books and editorials for The New York Times, died of cancer Tuesday. She was 69.

Cantwell, a member of the Times editorial board for 16 years, often wrote about issues affecting women. She also wrote personal observances about transformations in the lives of women, particularly in the spheres of work, parenthood, marriage and divorce.

She wrote three books _ ``American Girl'' (1992), about a three-generation household in a small town; ``Manhattan, When I Was Young'' (1995) about her life in the prosperous postwar years; and ``Speaking with Strangers'' in 1998, about pushing herself to travel after the end of her marriage to literary agent Robert Lescher.

Cantwell started as a copy editor at Mademoiselle magazine, where she worked for 23 years, nine of them at managing editor and features editor.

In 1980, she was invited to be a guest writer for the Times' ``Hers'' column. Later that year she joined the newspaper's editorial board, commenting on social policy issues like smoking, abortion and assisted suicide, and on whimsical topics such as the world as seen from a New York City bus.

Joseph Eugene Jackson

NEWNAN, Ga. (AP) _ Joseph Eugene Jackson, the father of country music star Alan Jackson, died Monday of a ruptured aorta. He was 72.

Jackson was a mechanic at the Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Hapeville from 1964 to 1989. He and his wife still lived in the same house they moved into when they married 53 years ago _ originally a 12-by-12 foot storage shed built by his father.

Diane Dawson, the singer's sister, said Alan Jackson used his parents' life together as the basis of his song ``Livin' on Love,'' which celebrates the virtue of buying on time and growing old together.

Ernest Johnston

SAYREVILLE, N.J. (AP) _ Ernest Johnston, a veteran writer who interviewed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil-rights leader's final interview in the North, died Jan. 26 of a heart attack. He was 61.

Johnston was the first black reporter at The Star-Ledger of Newark. In 1968, he got a 10-minute interview with King while the minister's car was stopped at a drawbridge in Newark.

King was slain in Memphis a few days after his trip to Newark.

Johnston also was a reporter with the New York Post from 1968 to 1972. He later worked as a freelance copy editor and columnist with the Jersey Journal of Jersey City and was managing editor of the New York Amsterdam News from 1977 to 1981.

Johnston later became a communications specialist with the National Urban League until his retirement in 1995.

James R. Kipp

CHICAGO (AP) _ James R. Kipp, the former chairman of the Chicago Board Options Exchange and one of its founding members, died Thursday of a heart attack. He was 64.

In 1971, Kipp bought a seat at the CBOE prior to its opening in 1973. He was elected vice chairman of the board in 1975 and became the exchange's second chairman in 1976.

His stint in the late 1970s coincided with a fight with the American Stock Exchange to become the country's leading exchange.

Before joining the CBOE, Kipp worked for LaSalle National Bank, Weedon & Co. and A.G. Becker & Co, where he was a vice president. In 1970, he began a three-year term on the board of governors of the Midwest Stock Exchange, now the Chicago Stock Exchange.

John Morganthaler

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ John Morganthaler, a 36-year veteran of The Associated Press who covered the Watergate trial of former Attorney General John Mitchell, died Monday after a lengthy illness. He was 78.

Morganthaler joined the AP in 1951 in Columbus, Ohio, after spending four years at The Modesto Bee.

He transferred in 1954 to Cleveland, where he covered the Dr. Sam Sheppard murder case, which inspired the ``The Fugitive'' film and TV series.

Morganthaler moved to the Sacramento bureau in 1957. In 1963, Morganthaler joined the AP's New York City bureau and covered numerous national stories, including Mitchell's conviction for Watergate-related crimes.

In 1975, He covered the Legislature for the AP and wrote extensively on environmental and prison issues.

Morganthaler retired in 1987.

Clyde Morris

LILLIAN, Ala. (AP) _ Clyde ``Bud'' Morris, a retired sports cartoonist of the Akron Beacon Journal, died Sunday of cancer. He was 76.

Morris, the chief artist, drew Jest Sports, a cartoon that appeared on the sports pages for 29 of his 33 years with the newspaper.

He retired in 1984.

Morris is survived by his wife, Joan; a son; a daughter; a sister; and two grandchildren.

James V. Neel

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) _ Dr. James V. Neel, professor emeritus of human genetics and internal medicine at the University of Michigan, died Tuesday of cancer. He was 84.

Neel was a pioneer in the study of human genetics and one of the first to predict its importance in diagnosing and treating medical conditions.

During his 39 years at the University of Michigan Medical School, Neel established the first academic department of human genetics in the United States, and one of the first clinics to evaluate and counsel people with hereditary diseases.

He was among the first scientists to recognize the genetic basis for sickle cell anemia. He extensively studied the aftereffects of atomic radiation on survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and their children.

During the 1960s, he proposed the ``thrifty gene'' hypothesis, which states that genes associated with common modern diseases like diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure are part of the human gene pool, because they helped early humans survive when calories and salt were less abundant.

Neel, who retired in 1985, also was renowned for his studies of the genetic consequences of marriage between close relatives, the timing of human migration into North America and the genetic characteristics of isolated tribes in the Amazon rain forest.

Neel's awards and honors included election to the National Academy of Sciences, the Allen Award from the American Society of Human Genetics, the National Medal of Science and the Smithsonian Institution Medal.

Cela Netanyahu

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Cela Netanyahu, mother of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, died Monday. She was 87.

She married author and historian Benzion Netanyahu. In the years before Israel's independence, the couple lived in the United States where he was a representative of the right wing Revisionist Movement, the precursor of the present-day Likud party.

Cela Netanyahu helped her husband enlist support in the United States for the establishment of an independent Jewish state in what was then British Mandatory Palestine.

Jim Pansullo

QUINCY, Mass. (AP) _ Jim Pansullo, a radio reporter who began his Boston career in 1952, died Monday. He was 74.

Pansullo worked on WHDH radio in the 1950s, and later moved in front of the camera when the station got into television.

In the 1960s, he did radio color commentary for Boston Celtics games.

Later, he reported for WEEI before the radio station turned to an all-sports format. He covered the Boston busing crisis in 1973 and was with the police when they captured the man believed to be the Boston Strangler.

Pansulo retired from WEEI in 1996.

Lathan Sanford

AUSTIN (AP) _ Lathan Sanford, a former Broadway performer and retired University of Texas dance professor who is credited with developing the university's first dance degree, died Monday of cancer. He was 63.

Sanford joined the university's drama department in 1969 and began classes in jazz dance technique. Several years later, he developed the College of Fine Arts' first bachelor degree in dance.

His best-known role was in the musical ``Sweet Charity,'' in which he toured nationally under the direction of Bob Fosse.