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Obituaries in the News

May 31, 2002

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GRANVILLE, Ohio (AP) _ Paul Bennett, a longtime English professor at Denison University who established one of the nation’s first undergraduate writing programs, died Tuesday of cancer. He was 81.

Bennett was an instructor from 1947 to 1996 at Denison, where he founded the literary magazine ``Exile″ in 1953.

Later, he helped establish the Harriet Ewens Beck Lectureship, an endowment program that brings writers and scholars to the university.

He also wrote educational film scripts, four books of fiction, and five volumes of poetry, including ``The Sun and What it Says Endlessly,″ which reflected his love of gardening.

Bennett served in the Navy during World War II. He joined the Denison faculty after earning a master’s degree from Harvard University.

Dante Lee Germino

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) _ Former University of Virginia government professor Dante Lee Germino, a scholar of political theory and Italian politics and a campus activist, died Saturday after being struck by a train in Amsterdam. He was 70.

Germino was the author of seven books, including ``Modern Western Political Thought: From Machiavelli to Marx.″

Germino, who came to the university in 1968, organized faculty members and students in opposing the Vietnam War and urged the university to drop its ROTC program.

Later he pushed for divesting university holdings in South Africa because of its apartheid form of government.

A Durham, N.C., native, Germino retired in the Netherlands.

William A. Ingram

MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) _ William A. Ingram, San Jose’s first full-time federal judge and the man who sentenced organized crime boss Joseph Bonanno to prison, died Sunday. He was 77.

Ingram was appointed by Gerald Ford to the federal court in 1976, where he served until his retirement earlier this year.

In 1983, Ingram became the first full-time federal judge assigned to San Jose, reflecting that city’s growing importance. He was also chief judge of the San Francisco-based Northern District of California from 1988 to 1990.

While in San Jose, Ingram ruled on new areas of intellectual property law, including a series of suits involving computer chipmakers such as Intel. He also presided over the Technical Equities Inc. securities fraud case.

Before going to San Jose, Ingram sentenced Bonanno to prison after a 1980 trial in which a jury convicted the 75-year-old ex-Mafia chief of conspiring to obstruct a grand jury investigation into money laundering.

Gunnar Jarring

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ Gunnar Jarring, a former U.N. mediator for the Middle East who served as Sweden’s ambassador to Washington and the Soviet Union, died Wednesday. He was 94.

Jarring was often called ``the clam″ by reporters for never disclosing sensitive news.

Jarring was born and grew up in Brunnby in southern Sweden, the oldest child in a family of eight. After linguistic studies at Lund University, he entered the diplomatic service during World War II and was minister to India, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Iran, Iraq and Pakistan.

In 1956, he became Sweden’s ambassador to the United Nations. He served as envoy to the United States from 1958-1964 and became ambassador to the Soviet Union during 1964-1973.

Jarring was special envoy to the U.N. secretary-general on the Middle East from 1967-1991.

L. G. Peters

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) _ L. G. Peters, better known as ``Little Biddy Pete″ from his starring role in a 1960s variety show, died Tuesday. He was 81.

Peters started the ``Cactus Joe Show″ in 1960 with comedy partner Joe Grant. The show aired locally on WSLS-TV (Channel 10) every weekday afternoon and on Saturdays.

``They made a good comedy team,″ said Sweetie Grant, who was married to Joe Grant and appeared on the show at one time. ``They related to each other very well and had a great time working together.″

Peters, who was born with dwarfism in 1921, grew to just 48 inches. He moved to Roanoke after high school and joined the Hall Brothers country band as a singer and comedian. When the rest of the band was drafted into World War II, Peters became a Virginia State Police dispatcher in Richmond.

Peters left the show in 1965. Cactus Joe Grant died in 1989.

Fumiko Emily Takei

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Fumiko Emily Takei, mother of ``Star Trek″ actor George Takei and a survivor of the forced internment of Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor, died Saturday. She was 89.

Takei, whose son played ``Mr. Sulu″ on the original television series, was born in Florin, Calif., in 1912. At 10, she was sent by her parents to Japan for her education. She returned to California and was married in 1935.

In 1942, Takei, her husband and three young children, were sent to internment camps, first in Rohwer, Ark., and later at Tule Lake, Calif. The family returned to Los Angeles after the war.

George Takei, who was 4 years old when the family was interned, remembers her strong will and courage in the face of extreme difficulty.

``When we were taken into the internment camps, they told us not to bring anything sharp or mechanical,″ Takei said Wednesday. ``My parents sold off everything we had. But she had a brand new portable sewing machine she didn’t want to give up. She marched right past armed MPs with that sewing machine wrapped up in her clothes.

``When I think back, I’m even more grateful and in awe of her strength and will and resilience.″

Fumiko Takei was widowed in 1979. She was active in a Buddhist temple and served as a volunteer at a senior citizen’s hot meal program.

Edward Wende

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Edward Wende, a lawyer who defended dissidents in communist-era trials and later became a member of Poland’s parliament, died Tuesday of cancer. He was 65.

Wende represented the center-right Freedom Union party, defending workers and leaders of the anti-communist Solidarity movement in the 1980s, including the 1981-83 martial law period.

Wende represented the family of Rev. Jerzy Popieluszko, a prominent Roman Catholic priest and Solidarity backer, who was abducted and killed by the secret police in 1984. Four officers were convicted in a trial the following year.

After the end of communist rule in 1989, Wende joined the center-right bloc in parliament and served as a senator from 1989 to 1993.