Obituaries



  • Julius Chambers, a fighter for civil rights, dies at 76

    Julius L. Chambers, a civil rights lawyer who endured firebombings of his house, office and car in winning case after case against racial segregation, including one that led to a landmark Supreme Court decision allowing forced busing, died on Friday at his home in Charlotte, N.C. He was 76.Geraldine Sumter, a law partner, confirmed the death, saying Mr. Chambers had had a heart attack in April and had been in declining health.Mr. Chambers began championing civil rights well before he succeeded Thurgood Marshall and Jack Greenberg as president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in 1984. Two decades earlier, he had left an internship at the fund to open a one-man law practice in Charlotte specializing in civil rights, its office in a cold-water walk-up. It grew to become North Carolina’s first integrated law firm....



  • William Scranton, Former Pennsylvania Governor, Dies at 96

    William W. Scranton, the moderate Republican governor of Pennsylvania from 1963 to 1967, who lost a run for his party’s presidential nomination in 1964 and later served as the United States representative to the United Nations, died on Sunday in Montecito, Calif. He was 96.The cause was a cerebral hemorrhage, Micheal DeVanney, a family spokesman, said.A descendant of Mayflower colonists and the founders of Scranton, Pa., heir to a fortune in railroads and utilities, the soft-spoken Mr. Scranton was heralded as a “Kennedy Republican” in the early 1960s. His amiable patrician style, and his independence as a fiscal conservative who supported civil rights and other liberal programs, proved popular with voters. He seemed poised for a national political future....



  • Col. Bud Day, Heroic Pilot in Vietnam War, Dies at 88

    Col. Bud Day, an Air Force fighter pilot who was shot down in the Vietnam War, imprisoned with John McCain in the notorious “Hanoi Hilton” and defiantly endured more than five years of brutality without divulging sensitive information to his captors, earning him the Medal of Honor, died on Saturday in Shalimar, Fla. He was 88.His death was announced by his wife, Doris.Colonel Day was among America’s most highly decorated servicemen, having received nearly 70 medals and awards, more than 50 for combat exploits. In addition to the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, he was awarded the Air Force Cross, the highest combat award specifically for airmen.In a post on Twitter on Sunday, Senator McCain called Colonel Day “my friend, my leader, my inspiration.”...



  • Helen Thomas, blunt chronicler of presidents from Kennedy era to Obama

    WASHINGTON — Helen Thomas, whose keen curiosity, unquenchable drive and celebrated constancy made her a trailblazing White House correspondent in a press corps dominated by men and later the dean of the White House briefing room, died Saturday at home in Washington. She was 92.Her death was announced by the Gridiron Club, one of Washington’s leading news societies. Ms. Thomas was a past president of that organization.Ms. Thomas covered every president from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama for United Press International and, later, Hearst Newspapers. To her colleagues, she was the unofficial but undisputed head of the press corps — her status ratified by her signature line at the end of every White House news conference, “Thank you, Mr. President.”...



  • Austin Goodrich, Cold War CIA officer and CBS correspondent, dies at 87

    Austin Goodrich, an undercover CIA officer during the Cold War who also worked for several years as a CBS television correspondent before his identity was unmasked, died June 9 at his home in Port Washington, Wis. He was 87.He had Alzheimer’s disease, his daughter Kristina Goodrich said.Mr. Goodrich, a rugged onetime football lineman, fought in World War II and later studied in Sweden while he was attending the University of Michigan. He joined the relatively new Central Intelligence Agency soon after his graduation from Michigan in 1949.While stationed in Oslo and Stockholm early in his clandestine career, he sought a suitable occupation to cover his true profession. He assumed a dual identity as reporter and spy....



  • Gyula Horn, Helped Part Iron Curtain, Dies at 80

    Gyula Horn, a former leader of Hungary who in 1989 literally ripped a hole in the Iron Curtain, helping to set off months of tumultuous change in which Communist governments in Eastern Europe fell one after the other, died Wednesday in Budapest. He was 80.The Hungarian government announced the death. He had been hospitalized since 2007 with what was reported to be a brain malfunction.Mr. Horn’s life encompassed much of the history of 20th-century Hungary. His father, a Communist, was executed by the Nazis occupying Hungary in 1944. Gyula (pronounced JOO-la) also became a hard-line Communist, serving in militia units that hunted down government opponents during their revolt in 1956. The rebels lynched his brother, also a Communist.As foreign minister, as Moscow’s grip on Eastern Europe slipped, Mr. Horn proved nimble as a newly minted, nonideological, pragmatic reformer in helping to lead Hungary away from Communism. Elected prime minister as a Socialist in 1994, he angered Hungarians by cutting social programs to stanch raging inflation....



  • Edward Hotaling, 75, TV reporter who shed light on black history, is dead

    Edward Hotaling, a television reporter whose question about racial progress ended the career of the CBS sports commentator Jimmy (the Greek) Snyder in 1988, but who may have made a more lasting mark by documenting the use of slave labor in building the nation’s Capitol, died on June 3 on Staten Island. He was 75.The cause was a heart attack, his son Greg said. He had lived in a nursing home since suffering serious injuries in an auto accident in 2007.Mr. Hotaling (pronounced HO-tail-ing) was a television reporter at the NBC affiliate WRC-TV in Washington when he interviewed Mr. Snyder on Jan. 15, 1988, for a report commemorating the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. Bumping into Mr. Snyder in a restaurant, Mr. Hotaling asked him to assess racial progress in professional sports.Mr. Snyder’s reply careered into his theory that blacks were better athletes than whites because their slave ancestors had been “bred to be that way” and that soon “there’s not going to be anything left for the white people” in sports. The comment created a national stir and got him fired by CBS. He died in 1996....



  • Boruch Spiegel, Fighter in Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Dies at 93

    Boruch Spiegel, one of the last surviving fighters of the Warsaw ghetto uprising of 1943, in which a vastly outgunned band of 750 young Jews held off German soldiers for more than a month with crude arms and Molotov cocktails, died on May 9 in Montreal. He was 93.His death was confirmed by his son, Julius, a retired parks commissioner of Brooklyn. Mr. Spiegel lived in Montreal.The Warsaw ghetto uprising has been regarded as the signal episode of resistance to the Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum calls it the first armed urban rebellion in German-occupied Europe.As a young man, Mr. Spiegel was active in the leftist Jewish Labor Bund, and when it became clear that the Germans were not just deporting Jews but systematically killing them in death camps like Treblinka, Bundists joined with other left-wing groups to form the Jewish Combat Organization, known by its Polish acronym ZOB....



  • Ray Manzarek, keyboardist and founding member of The Doors, dies at 74

    Ray Manzarek, who studied economics in college but cherished music and met with Jim Morrison on a California beach one fateful day in 1965 to help create the Doors, died May 20 at a clinic in Rosenheim, Germany.Mr. Manzarek, 74, who had lived for years in California’s Napa County, had bile duct cancer.Led by the charismatic Morrison, with his mystical wildness and commanding physical presence, and driven by the power of Mr. Manzarek on the organ, the band worked its way into the soul of the 1960s counterculture.Much of what the Doors became known for was owed to Mr. Manzarek, with his penchant for blending musical streams and currents, old and new, from blues to classical, with spoken poetry and an overlay of the psychedelic....



  • Kenneth Waltz, international relations theory giant, dies at 88

    Kenneth N. Waltz, a pre-eminent thinker on international relations who was known for his contrarian, debate-provoking ideas, not least his view that stability in the Middle East might be better served if Iran had a nuclear weapon, died on May 12 in Manhattan. He was 88.The cause was complications from pneumonia, said Columbia University, where Mr. Waltz was a senior research scholar.Leslie H. Gelb, emeritus president of the Council on Foreign Relations, characterized Mr. Waltz as one of five “giants” who shaped the study of international relations as a discrete discipline, the others being Hans Morgenthau, Henry A. Kissinger, Samuel P. Huntington and Zbigniew Brzezinski.The field developed in the 1950s, when the experiences of two world wars and the beginning of the cold war drove scholars to try to explain more precisely how nations interacted. The goal was to build a conceptual framework on which international politics could be analyzed, something earlier courses on military and diplomatic history had not offered....



  • Gordon D. Gayle, WWII hero and Marine Corps brigadier general, dies at 95

    Gordon D. Gayle, a retired Marine Corps brigadier general who received the Navy Cross after a fierce World War II battle in the Pacific and who later directed an influential study of tactics and battlefield planning, died April 21 at an assisted-living facility in Farnham, Va. He was 95.He had an intracerebral hemorrhage, his son Mike Gayle said.In World War II, “Lucky” Gayle served in the 1st Marine Division. He took part in all the division’s campaigns from the struggle for Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in 1942-43, an epic chapter in Marine history, to the bloody capture of Peleliu in the Palau Islands in 1944....



  • 1 of postwar Italy’s most powerful men, 7-time Premier Giulio Andreotti, dies at 94

    ROME — Giulio Andreotti personified the nation he helped shape, the good and the bad.One of Italy’s most important postwar figures, he helped draft the country’s constitution after World War II, served seven times as premier and spent 60 years in Parliament.But the Christian Democrat who was friends with popes and cardinals was also a controversial figure who survived corruption scandals and allegations of aiding the Mafia: Andreotti was accused of exchanging a “kiss of honor” with the mob’s longtime No. 1 boss and was indicted in what was called “the trial of the century” in Palermo.He was eventually cleared, but his legacy was forever marred....



  • Henry A. Prunier, 91, U.S. Soldier Who Trained Vietnamese Troops, Dies

    Henry A. Prunier taught Vo Nguyen Giap, the Vietnamese general who withstood the armies of France and the United States, how to throw a grenade.The lesson came in July 1945, after Mr. Prunier and six other Americans had parachuted into a village 75 miles northwest of Hanoi on a clandestine mission to teach an elite force of 200 Viet Minh guerrillas how to use modern American weapons at their jungle camp.The Americans, members of the Office of Strategic Services, the United States’ intelligence agency in World War II, wanted the guerrillas’ help in fighting the Japanese, who were occupying Indochina. The Viet Minh welcomed the American arms in their struggle for Vietnamese independence....



  • Roger Ebert, legendary film critic, dies at 70

    Roger Ebert, the Chicago movie critic whose weekly TV show with crosstown rival Gene Siskel made him one of the most widely recognized and influential voices on film, died April 4 of cancer at a rehabilitation facility in Chicago. He was 70.His longtime newspaper, the Chicago Sun-Times, reported his death.When Mr. Ebert didn’t like a movie, he said so, sometimes sarcastically and always with passion. He and Siskel, a Chicago Tribune film critic, were accessible and entertaining, forgoing both celebrity flash and brain-busting film theory in favor of simplicity: two guys sitting in the balcony of a fake theater, talking about summer blockbusters and indie films with a passion that occasionally spilled over into personal insults....



  • Rabbi Herschel Schacter Is Dead at 95; Cried to the Jews of Buchenwald: ‘You Are Free’

    The smoke was still rising as Rabbi Herschel Schacter rode through the gates of Buchenwald.It was April 11, 1945, and Gen. George S. Patton’s Third Army had liberated the concentration camp scarcely an hour before. Rabbi Schacter, who was attached to the Third Army’s VIII Corps, was the first Jewish chaplain to enter in its wake.That morning, after learning that Patton’s forward tanks had arrived at the camp, Rabbi Schacter, who died in the Riverdale section of the Bronx on Thursday at 95 after a career as one of the most prominent Modern Orthodox rabbis in the United States, commandeered a jeep and driver. He left headquarters and sped toward Buchenwald....



  • George Lowe, last member of Everest conquering team, dies aged 89

    The last surviving member of the team which was the first to conquer Everest 60 years ago has died.George Lowe, 89, died at a nursing home in Ripley, Derbyshire on Wednesday after a long illness.The New Zealand-born mountaineer was part of the team which helped Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to become the first to reach the top of the world's highest peak on 29 May, 1953....



  • Cal Whipple, 94, Dies; Won 1943 Fight to Print Photo of War Dead

    A. B. C. Whipple held high posts in the Time-Life publishing empire and wrote extensively about the sea. But he counted among his proudest achievements the role of tenacious young intermediary in a fight by Life magazine against the military censorship of a single photograph during World War II — a fight that went all the way to the White House.Mr. Whipple died of pneumonia on March 17 in Greenwich, Conn., his son, Christopher, said. He was 94 and lived in Old Greenwich, Conn.The fight was over a picture taken in late 1942 or early 1943 by George Strock, a photographer for Life. It showed the bodies of three American soldiers who had been killed on Buna Beach in New Guinea. Though none of the men were recognizable, the photo was arresting in its stark depiction of the stillness of death, and then shocking when it became clear on second glance that maggots had claimed the body of one soldier, face down in the sand....



  • Anthony Lewis, Who Transformed Coverage of the Supreme Court, Dies at 85

    Anthony Lewis, a former New York Times reporter and columnist whose work won two Pulitzer Prizes and transformed American legal journalism, died on Monday at his home in Cambridge, Mass. He was 85.The cause was complications of renal and heart failure, said his wife, Margaret H. Marshall, a retired chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.Mr. Lewis brought passionate engagement to his two great themes: justice and the role of the press in a democracy. His column, called “At Home Abroad” or “Abroad at Home” depending on where he was writing from, appeared on the Op-Ed page of The Times from 1969 to 2001. His voice was liberal, learned, conversational and direct....



  • Erwin Harris, ad executive who seized Cuban assets, dies at 91

    Erwin Harris left behind a respectable record of achievement as an advertising executive, an estimable collection of Chinese antiquities (his lifelong hobby), a loving family and a remarkable if little-remembered role in the tortured history of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba in the early 1960s.Mr. Harris, a Yonkers-born World War II veteran who died in Miami on March 9 at 91, probably did not tip the scales of history. But from 1960 to 1961, armed with nothing more than a court order from a Florida judge and accompanied by local sheriff’s deputies, he scoured the East Coast confiscating Cuban government property — including the state airplane Fidel Castro parked in New York while on a visit.



  • A.B.C. ‘Cal’ Whipple, who helped get groundbreaking WWII photo published, dies in Connecticut

    GREENWICH, Conn. — A Connecticut man who helped get a groundbreaking photograph of dead American soldiers published during World War II, has died, his son said. He was 94.A.B.C. “Cal” Whipple of Greenwich died Sunday of pneumonia, said his son, Chris Whipple.Chris Whipple said his father was a Pentagon correspondent for Life magazine who tried to convince the military to allow the photo by George Strock of three dead soldiers on a landing beach to be published. Whipple went up the military ranks until he reached an assistant secretary of the Air corps who decided to send the issue to the White House, his son said....