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Obituaries in the News

July 3, 1998

NEW YORK (AP) _ Anthony Avena, whose shoeshine shop was a Queens fixture for 75 years, died on June 22 of bladder cancer. He was 83.

The 200-square-foot shop, which sits directly below the elevated tracks of the Long Island Rail Road in downtown Flushing, Queens, consisted of Avena’s shoeshine stand and the flower and key-duplicating stands he added later.

Two years ago the Metropolitan Transit Authority announced that it was raising the rent on his shop from $750 a month to more than $6,000.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani joined Avena’s cause to lower the rent.

Avena ran his shoeshine shop until last year when he became ill. His family continues to run the floral and key-duplicating shops.

Theodore Beaubrun

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Theodore Beaubrun, Haiti’s most famous comic actor and playwright, died Tuesday of Parkinson’s disease. He was 79.

Beaubrun, who was known by his stage name Languichatte Debordus, had a career that spanned more than 50 years. He was especially remembered in Haiti for his television series ``Languichatte in the 20th Century,″ in which he gently mocked social-climbing pretentiousness.

He also was a standup comedian.

His son, Theodore Beaubrun Jr., is the leader of Haiti’s most famous roots music group, Boukman Eksperyans.

Haji Mohammad Alam Channa

NEW YORK (AP) _ Haji Mohammad Alam Channa, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s tallest man, died Thursday of complications from kidney disease. He was 42.

Channa, a farmer from the Pakistani village of Shawan, had been sick for two years and hospitalized for the last month.

He was listed at 7 feet, 7.25 inches tall.

Robert George

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Robert George, the official Santa Claus to six presidents who spent decades entertaining thousands of children with his year-round Yuletide display at his home, died Wednesday of heart disease and diabetes. He was 74.

George, who had 38 Santa suits, was recognized as Santa in 1956 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower invited him to the white house.

But it was the year-round Christmas display at his home and the jolly ho-ho-ho welcome mat for disadvantaged and disabled kids that endeared him to Los Angeles area residents.

The annual bumper-to-bumper procession of holiday sightseers got him in trouble in suburban Glendale, where the city declared his house a public nuisance and finally pressured him in November 1987 to end his all-seasons display. Critics rapped it as a gaudy eyesore. He moved to the eastern San Fernando Valley and decorated his new home for the kids.

Jesse R. Long

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) _ Jesse R. Long retired executive vice president of the University of Toledo and a professor emeritus of journalism, died Tuesday of complications from cancer. He was 91.

Long retired on June 30, 1973, but continued to teach journalism and worked as special executive assistant to the university president until 1978.

He was an administrator for most of his tenure at Toledo, where he began in 1941 teaching political science, English and journalism. Through the years, he was an assistant and adviser to three presidents.

He was director of publicity from 1944-53, chaired the journalism department 1953-61, and served as provost from 1962 to 1964, when he became executive vice president.

Long worked part-time and summers at various newspapers in the area, including The Blade, where he was a copy reader for the Sunday newspaper from 1948-56.

Survivors include his wife, Clarice; three sons, two stepsons, one stepdaughter, a sister, two brothers, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

Beatrice Mandelman

TAOS, N.M. (AP) _ Beatrice ``Bea″ Mandelman, an artist who explored new creative ground with bold colors, died June 24 of cancer. She was 85.

Mandelman and her husband, Louis Ribak, founded the Taos Valley Art School and helped found the Taos Art Association and the Stables Gallery in the early 1950s.

Her works have been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., among other places.

Virginia Guynes

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) _ Virginia Guynes, mother of actress Demi Moore, died of a brain tumor and cancer Thursday. She was 54.

Moore has been in Farmington with her mother for the past three months.

Last month, it was announced that Moore’s decade-long marriage to actor Bruce Willis was ending.

William L. Snyder

LIVINGSTON, N.Y. (AP) _ William L. Snyder, an Oscar-winning animator of children’s books, died June 3. He was 80.

Snyder founded Rembrandt Films in 1949 as an importer of films, making him one of the first Americans to do business in postwar Eastern Europe.

Rembrandt Films adapted Ludwig Bemelmans’s ``Madeline″ series, James Thurber’s ``Many Moons″ and Eve Titus’s ``Anatole,″ as well as ``Tom and Jerry″ cartoons for MGM-United Artists and ``Popeye″ cartoons for King Features.

Two years later, the company brought to the United States ``The Emperor’s Nightingale,″ a puppet-animation feature based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale. With a new English narration by Boris Karloff, the film was released in the United States.

In 1959 Snyder began producing cartoons in Prague with former UPA Studios executive Gene Deitch, earning five Academy Award nominations.

They won an Oscar for the best animated short subject in 1960 for ``Munro,″ cartoonist Jules Feiffer’s eight-minute film about a 4-year-old boy mistakenly drafted into the Army.

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