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Obituaries in the News

November 13, 1999

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ John M. ``Jack″ Eshleman, a former San Francisco Examiner reporter who was fired after refusing to answer questions in 1957 before the House Un-American Activities Committee, died Nov. 5 from complications after surgery. He was 85.

Eshleman appeared before the committee under summons and said he wasn’t a member of the Communist Party or a party sympathizer, but he refused to answer questions about his past political associations.

After his firing, he served as editor of several labor journals and in various leadership posts in the Northern California Newspaper Guild.

Sir Vivian Fuchs

LONDON (AP) _ Sir Vivian Fuchs, leader of the first expedition to cross Antarctica by land, died Thursday at 91.

Fuchs, director of the British Antarctic Survey from 1958 to 1973, died after a long illness, his family said.

He led the Commonwealth Transantarctic Expedition that completed the 99-day transit of the continent on March 2, 1958. He also ended up a reluctant contestant in a race with Sir Edmund Hillary to reach the South Pole.

Fuchs, who conducted scientific experiments on his journey, reached the South Pole 17 days after Hillary.

The two men later co-wrote the book, ``The Crossing of Antarctica.″

Gwendolyn Gordy Fuqua

SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Gwendolyn Gordy Fuqua, who helped her music mogul brother Berry Gordy Jr. form Motown Records, died of cancer Monday. She was 71.

Mrs. Fuqua and her sister Anna led Motown’s famous artist development department, where Mrs. Fuqua helped guide such Motown stars as The Supremes, Martha and the Vandellas and The Temptations.

Mrs. Fuqua, who was once married to Moonglows lead singer Harvey Fuqua, later formed Anna Records and was president of Tri Phi Records.

In recent years, she established Gwen Glenn Farm where she bred thoroughbred race horses.

Merritt Eugene Messersmith

RICEVILLE, Iowa (AP) _ Merritt Eugene Messersmith, a community journalist and former editor, publisher and owner of the Riceville Recorder, died Tuesday. He was 75.

The Recorder won 68 state and national awards while Messersmith and his wife, Bea, owned the paper. Following his retirement in 1996, he continued to cover local events for the newspaper.

Ketil Moe

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) _ Ketil Moe, a lung transplant recipient who ran the New York City Marathon last weekend despite doctors’ warnings, died Friday of a bacterial infection. He was 32.

Moe collapsed Wednesday on his way home to Norway.

He had been told not to run the Nov. 7 marathon, but doctors also had warned him about many of the 12 marathons he ran before his 1997 transplant.

Moe completed the 26.2 miles in 7 hours, 25 minutes, 54 seconds, placing 31,559th among the 31,807 finishers.

Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt

MILL NECK, N.Y. (AP) _ Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, former chairman of the New York Racing Authority, died Friday. He was 87.

Among his four Eclipse Award-winning horses were Native Dancer, winner of the 1953 Preakness and Belmont and Horse of the Year in 1954, Discovery, Bed O’Roses and Next Move.

Vanderbilt, a descendent of railroad baron Cornelius Vanderbilt, was the U.S. top-earning owner twice and voted ``The Man Who Did the Most for Racing″ four times by the New York Turf Writers.

He was elected to the Jockey Club in 1935 and headed Pimlico Race Course in 1938, 1940 and 1941.

Vanderbilt was president of the Westchester Racing Association, which operated Belmont Park before the NYRA was formed. He served as chairman from 1971-1975.

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