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Obituaries in the News

June 3, 2005

J.D. Cannon

HUDSON, N.Y. (AP) _ J.D. Cannon, an actor who appeared in guest roles on television shows such as ``Law & Order″ and ``Murder, She Wrote,″ died at his upstate New York home. He was 83.

Cannon, who died May 20, had a regular role as a New York detective chief on the series ``McCloud,″ a police drama that ran on NBC from 1970-77.

From 1960 to 1991, he had 85 guest roles on television, including ``Remington Steele,″ ``The Fall Guy,″ ``B.J. and the Bear,″ ``Gunsmoke,″ ``Bonanza,″ ``The Mod Squad,″ ``The Fugitive,″ ``The Defenders″ and ``The Untouchables.″

His final on-screen role was in a March 1991 episode of ``Law & Order.″

Cannon had a few big-screen roles, including one in 1967′s ``Cool Hand Luke,″ a prison drama starring Paul Newman and George Kennedy.

A native of Salmon, Idaho, Cannon graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He served in the Army during World War II.


Dale E. Fahrnbruch

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ Former Nebraska Supreme Court Judge Dale E. Fahrnbruch had died. He was 80.

Fahrnbruch, who died Wednesday, became a Lancaster County district judge in 1972. In 1987, then-Gov. Kay Orr appointed him to the state Supreme Court. He retired from the high court after nine years.

Among Fahrnbruch’s prominent cases as a district judge were the trials of Randy Reeves and Wesley Peery.

Reeves was sentenced to death for the 1980 murders of two women at a Quaker meeting house in Lincoln. The state Supreme Court later reversed the sentences and Reeves was sentenced to life in prison in 2001.

Peery was convicted and sentenced to death in the 1975 murder of Havelock coin shop dealer Marianne Mitzer. Peery died awaiting execution on death row.

Fahrnbruch was a World War II veteran and one-time city editor at the Lincoln Journal.


Julian K. Fite

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Cherokee general counsel and former U.S. attorney Julian K. Fite died after collapsing during a conference on tribal issues. A cause of death had not been determined. He was 60.

Fite, who died Thursday, was known for his strong defense of tribal sovereignty. Among his many contributions to the Cherokees, Fite was effective in preserving and promoting Cherokee Nation sovereignty through gaming and other compacts with the state.

An Army veteran, Fite served as Muskogee County district attorney in 1975-1977 and U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma in 1979-1980.

He also served in leadership positions on many boards and commissions including the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Commission and the Cherokee Nation Tax Commission.


C. Montgomery Johnson

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) _ C. Montgomery Johnson, a longtime political strategist and former Washington state GOP chairman, has died of complications from a stroke and diabetes. He was 81.

Johnson, who died on May 21, helped elect a little-known state legislator, Daniel J. Evans, as governor in 1964. Later, as state Republican chairman, he read the John Birch Society and other right-wing activists out of the party with Evans’ blessings.

A longtime supporter of equal rights for women, he also advised the campaign that elected the state’s first woman governor, conservative Democrat Dixy Lee Ray, in 1976.

Johnson was born in Seattle and graduated with a master’s degree in forestry from the University of Washington. He worked as a forest ranger and as Weyerhaeuser Co.’s public relations director.


George Mikan

PHOENIX (AP) _ George Mikan, the ``gentle giant″ who a half-century ago brought fame and stability to the fledgling world of professional basketball and transformed the game, has died. He was 80.

Mika died Wednesday night at a Scottsdale rehabilitation center following a long fight with diabetes and kidney ailments. His right leg was amputated below the knee in 2000 and he had undergone kidney dialysis regularly for five years, his son Terry said.

A superstar decades before the term existed, Mikan was the first big man to dominate the sport. No one before had seen a 6-foot-10 player with his agility, competitiveness and skill.

College basketball instituted the goaltending rule because of him and the NBA doubled the width of the free throw lane.

Slowdown tactics used against him _ his 1950 Lakers lost 19-18 to the Fort Wayne Pistons in the lowest-scoring game in NBA history _ eventually led to the 24-second shot clock.

Mikan led the Minneapolis Lakers to five league titles in the first six years of the franchise’s history.


Bill Retherford

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Bill Retherford, founder of the largest privately owned newspaper chain in Oklahoma, has died. He was 75.

Retherford’s death Thursday came after a brief illness, said Ralph Schaefer, managing editor of Retherford Publications.

Retherford grew up in Cushing where he began his career peddling newspapers as a boy. After graduating high school, he worked part time in the Cushing Daily Citizen’s advertising department while attending college. He became circulation manager of the paper in 1950.

He became advertising manager and later general manger of the Broken Arrow Ledger, Bixby Bulletin, Jenks Journal and Tulsa Southside Times.

In 1965, he bought the Tulsa County News and Owasso Reporter, marking the beginning of Retherford Publications. He then bought and started 19 newspapers in building the largest privately owned newspaper group in Oklahoma.


Margaret Russell

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Margaret ``Madge″ Russell, who held the record for oldest living person in California for nearly a year, died at a nursing home in Eagle Rock, officials at the home said. She was 112.

Russell was the seventh-oldest living American and the 14th-oldest in the world, said L. Stephen Coles, co-founder of the Los Angeles Gerontology Research Group at UCLA, which verifies claims of extreme longevity.

With her death, the oldest living person in California now is Marion Higgins of Long Beach, who will be 112 June 26. The previous record-holder was Elma Corning of Hollywood, also 112. Corning died July 12.


Pastor Vega

HAVANA (AP) _ Pastor Vega, a Cuban filmmaker widely known for such films as ``Retrato de Teresa″ (``Portrait of Teresa″), has died. He was 65.

The death was announced Thursday by the island’s International Press Center. The statement did specify the date or cause of death.

Other films made by Vega during his 40-year career included ``Vidas Paralelas″ (``Parallel Lives″) and ``Las Profecias de Amanda″ (``Prophesies of Amanda.″)

Vega was married to the Cuban actress Daisy Granado, with whom he also worked as a theater director.

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