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Obituaries in the News

September 11, 1999

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Award-winning designer Tony Duquette, an interior decorator to the wealthy whose 18-karat gold jewelry currently is featured at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, died Thursday. He was 85.

Duquette won a Tony Award for the costumes in the original Broadway production of ``Camelot″.

His long career included designing sets and costumes for Fred Astaire musicals to creating rooms for clients such as the late J. Paul Getty, the Duchess of Windsor, cosmetics maker Elizabeth Arden and ``Gone With The Wind″ producer David O. Selznick.

Duquette was inducted into Interior Design magazine’s Hall of Fame in 1997, and was listed on the 59th annual International Best-Dressed Poll this year.

Edward Keonjian

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) _ Edward Keonjian, a University of Arizona electrical engineer and early leader in the field of low-power electronics, died Monday. He was 90.

In 1954, Keonjian designed the world’s first solar-powered, pocket-sized radio transmitter. That transmitter is now displayed at the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History.

Keonjian, an Armenian who earned a doctorate in electrical engineering from the Leningrad Institute of Electrical Engineering in 1932, had been left for dead in a mass grave during World War II. He later escaped from a German slave labor camp with his wife and son, coming to the United States in 1947 and working for General Electric.

Keonjian ultimately had more than 100 publications and 27 U.S. and foreign patents to his name.

At Grumman Aircraft, Keonjian worked with astronaut Neil Armstrong as chief of failure analysis on the Apollo 11 project. He also spent several years in India and Egypt as an electronics specialist for the United Nations.

Alfredo Kraus

MADRID, Spain (AP) _ Alfredo Kraus, a Spanish opera singer who spurned popularity to become one of the world’s great lyric tenors, died Friday after a long illness. He was 71.

Kraus fell into a severe depression and rarely performed after the death of his wife, Rosa, in 1977. Hospitalized for a time in June, the Canary Island-born tenor never revealed his illness, although news reports said he had pancreatic cancer.

He had a special elegance on stage and a beautiful softness of voice that won him praise in the opera world. The Grove Dictionary of Opera called him ``the best-liked lyric tenor of his generation.″

Kraus was a frequent performer in prestigious opera houses around the world, including those of New York, Vienna and Berlin for his performances in such classics as ``Rigoletto,″ ``Traviata,″ ``Lucia″ and ``Werther.″ He attributed his longevity on the opera scene to his technique, selective choice of repertoire and good health resulting from regular exercise.

Robert Musel

LONDON (AP) _ Robert Musel, a journalist who covered wars, politics, crime and royal weddings across Europe for more than four decades, died Wednesday. He was 90.

``He’s covered at least one major story in every country in Europe, most of those in Africa, and there were few places in the U.S. he hasn’t been on a story,″ said United Press International, the company he joined as a copy boy.

Musel was born in New York in 1909 and joined United Press _ which later became United Press International _ in 1927 as a copy boy. He remained a UPI senior editor long past normal retirement age.

Musel moved to London in 1943 as a war correspondent and remained there for the rest of his life. He covered the weddings of the present Queen Elizabeth II, her sister Princess Margaret, and Grace Kelly’s to Prince Rainier of Monaco, as well as funerals for King George VI, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle and the Duke of Windsor.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Musel was a song lyricist, author of the words of the hit ``Band of Gold,″ and was senior European consultant of Broadcast Music Inc., an American performing rights society. In 1993 BMI established the Robert Musel Award for the year’s most-performed song.

Musel is survived by his wife, Jill Carlyle, who he married in 1962.

Roy Pryor

WEST CHESTER, Ohio (AP) _ Roy Pryor, a nationally prominent test pilot during the Cold War, died of cancer Thursday. He was 80.

Pryor, a native of Dolores, Colo, began his aviation career with Douglas Aircraft in Santa Monica, Calif. In World War II, he joined the Army’s air cadet program and won his wings as a fighter pilot. With the 81st Fighter Group, stationed in Hawaii, he flew P-51s and P-47s.

After the war, he remained in the service three more years, just for the opportunity to fly the new jets. He became an Air Force engineering test pilot, testing new systems as they became available for jet aircraft.

Pryor joined the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, and was elected a fellow in the society for his many contributions to the science of flight.

Eugene ``Frenchy″ Schwartz

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Eugene ``Frenchy″ Schwartz, a fixture at racetracks as a clocker of thoroughbreds for nearly 50 years died Wednesday following a long illness. He was 97.

Schwartz began his career at Omaha in 1933 and went on to time horses during workouts at tracks in New Orleans, Ohio and at Hollywood Park in California before working at New York tracks in 1949. He retired his clocker’s watch in January 1982, but remained a familiar sight at racetracks.

Rafael Elliott Tammariello

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ Rafael Elliott Tammariello, an award-winning editorial writer for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, has died Thursday of an apparent heart attack. He was 48.

Tammariello, a former business editor and editorial editor at the newspaper, was an editorial writer and columnist in recent years.

He had worked for the newspaper about 15 years.

Among his honors, Tammariello won third place last year for a reflective editorial on the May 1997 slaying of 7-year-old Sherice Iverson at a hotel-casino.

Tammariello will be honored posthumously with an honorable mention award for best editorial writing at this year’s Nevada Press Association convention.

Tammariello is survived by his wife, Joan; his mother and two sisters.

Vincent Wasilewski

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Vincent Wasilewski, who headed the National Association of Broadcasters from 1965 until 1982, died Thursday of heart failure. He was 76.

Wasilewski joined NAB after graduation in 1949 from the University of Illinois Law School. He served in numerous positions in his 33 years with the broadcasting industry’s trade association until he assumed the presidency in 1965.

``His unparalleled service to free, over-the-air radio and television will never be forgotten,″ said Edward Fritts, current NAB president.

Born in Athens, Ill., in 1922, Wasilewski also received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

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