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Werner Aspenstrom

January 26, 1997

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ Swedish poet Werner Aspenstrom, who resigned from the academy that chooses the Nobel Literature prize-winner amid a controversy over Salman Rushdie, has died at 78, a Swedish news agency reported Saturday.

TT news agency gave no details of the death, including when he died or of what cause.

In 1989, Aspenstrom was one of three members to resign from the Swedish Academy, whose members are appointed for life.

His two colleagues said they quit in protest of what they considered the academy’s weak response to the death order that Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued against Rushdie. Khomeini called Rushdie’s novel, ``The Satanic Verses,″ blasphemous to Islam.

The academy’s statement did not refer specifically to Rushdie and only condemned censorship in general.

Aspenstrom did not reveal his reasons for resigning but indicated support for a stronger statement on the Rushdie case.

Aspenstrom began his literary career as an editor of the magazine ``40-tal″ (``The ’40s″) and was a contributor to many publications, including the nationally distributed newspaper Aftonbladet.

As a poet, he first gained a wide public following with his third book, 1949′s ``Snolegend″ (``Snow Legend″). His last book of poems was ``Varelser″ (``Persons″) in 1989.

Rodney O. Felder

NEW YORK (AP) _ Rodney O. Felder, the former president of New York’s Finch College and Upsala College in East Orange, N.J., died Jan. 19 of Alzheimer’s disease and emphysema. He was 69.

Felder headed both private colleges at times when they were struggling to survive. Neither did, with Finch closing in 1975 and Upsala closing in 1995.

He graduated from the State University of New York, Albany, and earned his doctorate at Teachers College, Columbia University.

As a Columbia student, he began teaching at Finch, the exclusive Manhattan women’s college. By 1970, he was its president.

Finch’s alumnae included Tricia Nixon, Arlene Francis and Suzanne Pleshette. After the demise of Finch, Felder took over Upsala College in 1977. But, like Finch, its student pool was evaporating and expenses were exploding.

Felder retired in 1986.

Robert L. Jones

THE WOODLANDS, Texas (AP) _ Robert L. Jones, co-developer of the space helmet used by Apollo astronauts during the late 1960s and 1970s, died Wednesday in a car accident. He was 62.

Jones worked for NASA in the human factors engineering department during the early Apollo space missions. He headed the team of engineers who designed the space suits worn by astronauts during the race to land a man on the moon.

Ida Rittenberg Kohlmeyer

NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Ida Rittenberg Kohlmeyer, a nationally known painter and sculptor whose work includes some of New Orleans’ most prominent public monuments, died of a heart attack Friday. She was 84.

Her work appeared in more than 200 group and solo exhibitions since 1957 and was collected by nearly 40 museums, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Smithsonian Institution.

In New Orleans, her most visible works include stylized renderings of sealife on columns outside the Aquarium of the Americas and ``Krewe of Poydras,″ a group of monumental staffs topped with bright abstract forms.

Mrs. Kohlmeyer filled her work with hot, discordant colors like those found on Carnival floats and shotgun houses in some neighborhoods of New Orleans, where she was born and spent her life.

She deployed those colors in shimmering fields, rows of emblems and scribbled marks that resemble a private alphabet, a painterly language designed to communicate emotions directly. Her approach was akin to that of the Abstract Expressionist artists who came to prominence in the 1950s, but her signature was distinct.

Beginning in the 1980s, she brought her jazzy, improvisational style to monumental sculpture, such as ``Krewe of Poydras.″

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