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Obituaries in the News

October 22, 2004

Jack Besser

CHICAGO (AP) _ Jack Besser, co-founder of Monogram Models Inc., a model hobby firm that became one of the largest in the United States, died Tuesday of lymphoma at a Lake Forest hospice, according to his family. He was 89.

Besser pooled his savings with Robert Reder, a company designer, to found Monogram Models.

The first model line _ three different ships _ was created in the basement of Reder’s home. In ensuing years, the business’ growth required several moves to ever larger locales. By 1961, the company needed more space to handle a model line that included dozens of different cars, airplanes and ships.

Besser joined the Army during World War II, serving with the military police as an inspector. After his discharge, he became sales manager at Comet, a Chicago toy modeling company.

Mattel bought the company in 1968, but Besser remained its president until 1975. Mattell later sold Monogram Models to a banking firm that bought Revell and blended the two companies. Revell-Monogram now belongs to private investors, The Revell Group.

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Bob Castleberry

DENTON, Texas (AP) _ Bob Castleberry, who won a $10 million sweepstakes and went on to become mayor of Denton, died Thursday. He was 75.

City spokesman John Cabrales said officials believe the former mayor died of natural causes.

In 1989, Castleberry won the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes. He was elected mayor in 1990 and served through the spring of 1996.

For years, Castleberry had considered running for mayor _ a nonpaying job _ but finances held him back. Winning the sweepstakes changed all that. Castleberry announced his bid for mayor, then quit his sales job.

Denton is about 35 miles northwest of Dallas.

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Anthony Hecht

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Anthony Hecht, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, died Wednesday after suffering from lymphoma. He was 81.

Hecht won the Pulitzer in 1968 for his work ``The Hard Hours.″ He received numerous other prizes including the Bollingen Prize, the Ruth Lilly Prize, and the Los Angeles Book Prize.

Deborah Garrison, his editor for the last few years at Alfred A. Knopf, said Hecht was a formal poet who wrote about war and corruption, and took ``on society in the largest sense″ by dealing with other serious issues. But he also wrote humorous, witty and playful pieces demonstrating his ``wonderful dark humor,″ she said.

Garrison said that Hecht continued to write poetry until the end, noting that he had a piece in The New Yorker Magazine a few weeks ago.

He received several fellowships, including from The Academy of American Poets, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation. He was also Chancellor Emeritus of the Academy of American Poets. Some of his other works include ``Flight Among the Tombs″ and ``The Darkness and the Light.″

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Jack Nutt

LINCOLN, Ill. (AP) _ Jack Nutt, the longtime president of Lincoln College who revived the slumping school, died Tuesday after a long illness, school officials said. He was 66.

Nutt stepped down as the school’s president in January 2003 for health reasons. During his more than 20 years as president, the college grew from about 275 students to more than 1,200 and more than 20 new buildings were constructed between the college’s two campuses at Lincoln and Normal.

Nutt also launched a campaign to raise $8.5 million to build a gymnasium and museum at the private school. The campaign has raised about $4.3 million so far, Phillips said.

Nutt had been president of Highland Community College in Kansas for seven years before coming to Lincoln.

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Julia Scott Reed

DALLAS (AP) _ Julia Scott Reed, one of the first blacks to work in the newsroom of a major daily newspaper in the South, died Tuesday at her home of complications from surgery in June, The Dallas Morning News reported. She was 87.

Reed was the first black hired full-time by a Dallas newspaper.

Reed wrote a column called The Open Line for The Dallas Morning News for 11 years beginning in 1967.

Reed started her career as Texas correspondent for a Kansas City, Mo., newspaper. She honed her skills at the weekly Dallas Express, covering the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. She was present when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald on Nov. 24, 1963.

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