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Obituaries in the News

February 14, 2002

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) _ Salome Hansen Breck, one of Denver’s radio and television pioneers, died Wednesday. She was 95.

She spent eight years in local radio, seven on television and 26 years as editor of the Colorado Episcopalian, a diocesan newspaper.

After retiring from the Colorado paper, she edited the Journal of Women Ministries, a publication of the national Episcopal Church in New York City. Breck won 30 awards for her writing and photography in religious journalism.

Her first job in Denver was with KOA radio, where she was co-host with her husband, Mark Hansen, of the ``Ned and Nancy Show.″

Later, Breck was co-host of a cooking show five days a week on what was then KOA-TV. It was the first women’s program on local television.

She was teaching high school drama in Beaver City, Neb., when she met and married lawyer David Simmons in 1928. After his death, she married Hansen, a Denver journalist.

After Hansen’s death, she married Allen Breck, a history professor at the University of Denver. He died in October 2000.

Breck is survived by five children; 18 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her son David Simmons.

Harry Harris

NEW YORK (AP) _ Harry Harris, a celebrated Associated Press photographer who captured images of the U.S. First Army marching across Europe in World War II, President John F. Kennedy lying in state, and Hank Aaron hitting his record-breaking 715th home run, has died. He was 88.

Harris, who worked for the AP for nearly a half century until his retirement in 1978, died Tuesday at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital on Long Island after a brief illness, said his granddaughter, Michelle Abramson.

CBS newsman Andy Rooney recalled that during World War II, Harris ``was always quite popular with the guys.″ He remembered a brawl between Ernest Hemingway and another reporter that Harris broke up inside a hotel room in Rambouillet, France.

Harris, who won numerous awards from the New York Press Photographers Association, was given the Randolph Hearst Award as ``Photographer of the Year″ in 1965.

He is survived by his wife, Lynn, a son, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Waylon Jennings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Waylon Jennings, whose rebellious songs and brash attitude defined the outlaw movement in country music, died peacefully Wednesday at his Arizona home after a long battle with diabetes-related health problems, said spokeswoman Schatzie Hageman. He was 64.

Jennings’ list of hits spans four decades and includes country music standards like ``Good-Hearted Woman″ and ``Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,″ both duets with Willie Nelson.

Jennings made 60 albums and had 16 country singles that reached No. 1. His ``Greatest Hits″ album in 1979 sold 4 million _ a rare accomplishment in country music for that era.

Jennings won two Grammy awards and four Country Music Association awards. Other hits include ``I’m a Ramblin’ Man,″ ``Amanda,″ ``Lucille,″ ``I’ve Always Been Crazy″ and ``Rose in Paradise.″

Jennings’ deep, sonorous voice narrated the popular TV show ``The Dukes of Hazzard″ and sang its theme song, which was a million seller.

Jennings had been plagued with health problems in recent years that made it difficult for him to walk. In December, his left foot was amputated.

He traditionally wore a black cowboy hat and ebony attire that accented his black beard and mustache. Often reclusive when not on stage, he played earthy music with a spirited, hard edge.

Some of Jennings’ album titles nourished his brash persona: ``Lonesome, On’ry and Mean,″ ``I’ve Always Been Crazy,″ ``Nashville Rebel,″ ``Ladies Love Outlaws″ and ``Wanted: The Outlaws.″

He often refused to attend music awards shows on the grounds that performers shouldn’t compete against each other. He didn’t show up at his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame last year.

He made occasional forays into TV movies, including ``Stagecoach″ and ``Oklahoma City Dolls,″ plus the Sesame Street movie ``Follow That Bird″ and the B-movie ``Nashville Rebel.″

Traudl Junge

MUNICH, Germany (AP) _ Traudl Junge, who was one of Adolf Hitler’s secretaries and took his last will and testament, died of cancer overnight Sunday, just hours after a documentary on her life premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. She was 81.

Junge was born Gertraud Humps in Munich in 1920, the daughter of Max Humps, an early Nazi devotee who tried to help Hitler gain power in an abortive 1923 Munich coup, 10 years before he was elected.

She applied for a secretarial job in the Reich Chancellery in 1942, and became one of the Nazi dictator’s personal secretaries that December _ just as World War II was turning against Germany.

In 1943, she married Hitler aide Hans Junge, who was killed a year later when a British plane strafed his company in Normandy, France.

Junge joined Hitler and his staff when they moved into an underground bunker in Berlin in January 1945. As the end neared in April 1945, Junge remembers increasingly ghostly scenes in the bunker.

That period is a focus of ``Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary,″ a 90-minute documentary that its Austrian director, Andre Heller, billed as the most in-depth interview on film with Junge.

On April 28, 1945, two days before Hitler and his longtime mistress Eva Braun committed suicide, the Fuehrer summoned Junge and dictated his will.

After the war, Junge was taken into custody by the Red Army, then the Americans. After being interrogated she was eventually released. She continued to work in Germany as a secretary, and later as an editor and journalist.

Jim Spencer

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ Jim Spencer, who played on the 1978 World Series champion New York Yankees, died Sunday of a heart attack. He was 54.

Spencer, whose winter home was in Sarasota, died Sunday in Fort Lauderdale.

Spencer, a native of Maryland, was a first-round pick of the California Angels in 1965. He played in the 1973 All-Star Game and won Gold Gloves at first base in 1970 and 1977.

He joined the Yankees in 1978 and helped New York win the World Series.

Spencer also played for the Texas Rangers, Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics in his 15-year career.

Spencer stayed active in baseball after retiring, serving as an advance scout for the Yankees and an assistant coach at the Naval Academy.

He also worked in promotions for the Yankees and appeared at charity events, most recently playing first base Saturday night in benefit game for the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood.

Vernon A. Walters

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Retired Lt. Gen. Vernon A. Walters, an aide to seven presidents who also served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and Germany, has died. He was 85.

Walters died Sunday of undisclosed causes at Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach.

The internationally decorated Army veteran had a long career in public service. He helped shape the Marshall Plan after World War II, served as deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency during Watergate, briefed Henry Kissinger on the North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War and became a member of the NATO Standing Group.

Longtime friend Gen. Alexander Haig called him ``a man of towering integrity″ and ``one of the most remarkable public servants I have ever known.″

Born in New York City, Walters’ family moved to Europe when he was 6. There he learned in French, Spanish, Italian and German. Later he became fluent in Portuguese, Chinese and Russian.

Walters’ linguistic skills and photographic memory opened doors for him during his 35-year military career and later diplomatic work.

Walters worked for President Eisenhower as a staff assistant, arranged trips abroad for President Kennedy and served President Reagan as a diplomatic troubleshooter.

As an aide to President Truman, he was the note-taker when the president fired Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War.

He was in Tehran in 1953 when the CIA staged a coup in support of the shah of Iran and in Brazil when a group of generals staged a coup in 1964.

During secret negotiations between the United States and North Vietnam, he had the task of smuggling Kissinger, then President Nixon’s national security adviser, into Paris.

He was deputy director of the CIA from 1972 to 1976 and acting director for a period in 1973.

From 1981 to 1985, Walters was ambassador at large in the Reagan administration, visiting more than 100 countries. He was ambassador to the United Nations from 1985 to 1988 and then ambassador to Germany until 1991.

Walters, who never married, is to be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery early next month.

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