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Obituaries in the News

March 3, 2001

POTOMAC, Md. (AP) _ William Bittman, who as a young prosecutor won a conviction against Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa and would go on to become one of Washington’s best-known lawyers, died Thursday. He was 69.

Bittman was a 32-year-old assistant attorney general when he prosecuted Hoffa on fraud and conspiracy charges. The high-profile case helped push Bittman to the forefront of Washington lawyers and earn praise from then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

Bittman later helped secure a conviction against Robert Baker, a one-time Senate aide, on tax charges.

He would eventually become a defense lawyer, representing Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt and winning an acquittal of Labor Secretary Raymond Donovan in a larceny and fraud case.

John Diamond

LONDON (AP) _ Newspaper columnist John Diamond, whose compelling accounts of life with cancer drew a large and sympathetic following, died Friday. He was 47.

Diamond was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1997, and his weekly lifestyle column for The Times became an intimate diary blending everyday experiences with thoughts on radiotherapy, surgery and mortality.

In his column last weekend, Diamond joked about a new round of chemotherapy: ``Strangely, I don’t much mind about losing the hair on my head for a while, but I’m annoyed that I’ll be bald-chested.″

As well as his weekly column, he wrote a play and a book, ``C: Because Cowards Get Cancer Too.″

Diamond is survived by his wife and two children.

Jack P.F. Gremillion

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) _ Jack P.F. Gremillion, the colorful Louisiana politician whose 1971 perjury conviction ended an unprecedented 16 years as the state’s attorney general, died Thursday after a long illness. He was 86.

A federal court jury convicted Gremillion of lying to a grand jury about his financial interest in the bankrupt Louisiana Loan & Thrift Corp. A few months earlier, he had been acquitted of fraud charges in the same case.

Gremillion served 15 months of a three-year sentence in the minimum security federal prison at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

Gov. Edwin Edwards pardoned him in 1976, and he eventually resumed his practice as an attorney.

Ariel G. Loewy

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Ariel G. Loewy, a member of the biology department at Haverford College for 47 years whose research dealt with heart and vascular disease, the biochemistry of muscle contractions and blood clotting, died Feb. 13 of complications of a stroke. He was 75.

Loewy taught biology at Haverford until 1995, when he became a research professor. He left to join the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, where he was a professor at the time of his death.

Loewy had been an editor of the journal Thrombosis Research and was co-author of two biology textbooks, ``Cell, Structure and Function,″ and ``Biology.″

John Painter

CELINA, Tenn. (AP) _ John Painter, believed to be the nation’s oldest veteran, whose life took him from the hills of Tennessee to the front lines of France and back again, died Thursday of a heart attack. He was 112.

Painter fought World War I with horses, then shod them as a blacksmith when he got back home.

He enlisted in the Army in 1917 and his war service included leading horse-driven ammunition wagons to the front lines of World War I.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said Painter was believed to be the nation’s oldest surviving veteran.

Painter was given France’s Order of the Legion of Honor _ that country’s highest honor _ for his World War I service.

The governor last year declared Painter’s 112th birthday as ``John Painter Day″ in Tennessee. The veteran received more than 500 birthday cards that year from VA employees across the nation who heard about the milestone over the Internet.

George Wheelwright III

TIBURON, Calif. (AP) _ George Wheelwright III, a co-founder of the company that would eventually become the Polaroid Corp., died Tuesday. He was 97.

Wheelwright joined with Edwin Land to develop a lens that could polarize light, technology that was the basis for glare-free sunglasses and instant photography.

Wheelwright met Land in 1932 while teaching physics at Harvard University. The two struck a fast friendship and formed Land Wheelwright Laboratories later that year to make and market polarizers.

After successfully marketing the polarizers, the two turned Land Wheelwright into the Polaroid Corp. in 1937, developing it into a commercial outlet for their product. Land served as president, Wheelwright as vice president.

While Land, who died in 1991, was the company’s technological genius, Wheelwright served as its primary salesman, spending much of his time giving lectures and demonstrations of the company’s products.

In 1942, Wheelwright left Polaroid to work for the Bureau of Special Devices in Washington to help develop uses for polarized lenses for World War II pilots.

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