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Obituaries in the News

April 7, 2001

NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ Devi Lal, a former deputy prime minister of India, died Friday of heart failure. He was 86.

In 1989, Lal turned down the job of Indian prime minister when a coalition of socialists and leftist groups came into power after the defeat of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in parliamentary elections.

Born into a family of farmers, Lal joined India’s independence struggle against the British in 1929 at the age of 15.

He later rose to become the top elected official of Haryana state in the 1980s.

Daniel Gaither

ANDERSON, Ind. (AP) _ Daniel J. ``Danny″ Gaither, an original member of the nationally known gospel music act the Gaither Trio, died in Indianapolis on Friday of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 62.

Gaither, his brother, Bill, and sister, Mary Ann, were the original Gaither Trio. Mary Ann was later replaced by Bill’s wife, Gloria. The group was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 1999.

In 1996, a biopsy on a swollen area of Gaither’s left shoulder revealed the cancer. It went into remission in 1999 after stem cell transplants and other treatment but later recurred, forcing Gaither to stop touring last fall.

Stella Nicole Patri

SONOMA, Calif. (AP) _ Stella Nicole Patri, who survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to become a highly respected bookbinder and manuscript restorer, died March 31. She was 104.

In 1996, San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown declared Nov. 1 ``Stella Nicole Patri Day.″

Her clients included the San Francisco Public Library and the University of California Medical Center Library.

Patri, who spoke Italian, traveled to Italy in 1966 after the Arno River flooded and helped salvage priceless ancient documents which had been buried in mud.

Mary Walters

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) _ New Mexico Supreme Court Justice Mary Walters, who was seen by many women in the legal profession as a mentor and trailblazer, died Wednesday of complications from bronchitis. She was 79.

Among other adventures, Walters was a transport pilot during World War II.

Walters graduated from the University of New Mexico School of Law at the age of 40. She became the first president of the New Mexico Women’s Political Caucus, first woman named to the district court bench and first woman on the state Supreme Court.

Walters served on the New Mexico Court of Appeals from 1978 to 1984, and took her seat on the New Mexico Supreme Court in 1984.

Lyman Wilbur

BOISE, Idaho (AP) _ Lyman Wilbur, a civil engineer and former director of Morrison Knudsen Corp., died Thursday of natural causes. He was 100.

Wilbur was hired by Harry Morrison in 1932 when Hoover Dam was under construction. He handled construction of the Great Salt Lake Causeway, the rail line crossing the lake that stymied other professional engineers with its unique construction problems.

Wilbur also won the John Fritz Medal, considered the highest honor in the engineering industry, in 1972. And in 1976 he was honored by the American Society of Civil Engineers as ``One of the Top Ten Construction Men.″

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