Obituaries in the News

Monday, August 28, 2006

By The Associated Press

Luciano Mendes de Almeida

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) _ Luciano Mendes de Almeida, a Roman Catholic archbishop and an avid human rights defender, died Sunday. He was 75.

Almeida died of liver cancer, officials said. He had been hospitalized since July 17.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Almeida"played a relevant role in the country's fight for re-democratization and dedicated his life for Brazil's poor."

Almeida worked closely with the government to try to promote projects defending the rights of the country's poor.

He also wrote a weekly column for the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, Brazil's largest, focusing largely on human rights.

Almeida became the archbishop of Mariana, in Minas Gerais state, in 1976.

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Maria Esther de Capovilla

QUITO, Ecuador (AP) _ Maria Esther de Capovilla, the woman that Guinness World Records considered the oldest person on Earth, died Sunday, her granddaughter said Monday. She was 116.

Capovilla died in a hospital in the coastal city of Guayaquil, two days after coming down with pneumonia, said Catherine Capovilla.

Born on Sept. 14, 1889, the same year as Charlie Chaplin and Adolf Hitler, she was married the year the United States entered World War I _ 1917 _ and widowed in 1949.

Capovilla was confirmed as the oldest living person on Dec. 9, 2005, after her family sent details of her birth and marriage certificates to the British-based publisher.

Three of Capovilla's five children _ Irma, Hilda, and son Anibal _ are still alive, along with 12 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren, Catherine Capovilla said.

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Norman Hitchcock

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Norman Hitchcock, a former national billiards champion who once described himself as a"pool hustler,"died Thursday. He was 77.

His death was confirmed by his sister, Hazel Windle.

In 1973, Hitchcock won the national championship for nine ball and was second-best for one pocket and second-best all-around in competition at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas.

Hitchcock didn't attain the fame of contemporary pool stars like Larry Lassiter, Mike Sigel, Rudolph Wanderone _ also known as Minnesota Fats _ or Willie Mosconi. But Eddie Carver, another pool star from Oklahoma City, said Hitchcock likely was the best player to come from the Sooner State.

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Chuck Jones

NEW YORK (AP) _ Chuck Jones, an actor and vocal coach who worked with the likes of Edie Falco, William Hurt and Stanley Tucci, died Aug. 14. He was 65.

Jones died at his home in Kingston, N.Y., said publicist Linda Swenson, a friend. She said he died unexpectedly of heart failure.

Born Charles Albertson Jones in June 1941, Jones spent more than a decade acting in theater, television and film. He appeared in more than 40 productions on stages in New York and London between 1963 and 1974.

He started working as a vocal coach in 1975, and taught in both professional settings, like the Circle Repertory Theatre, as well as in the academic world, in such places as the California Institute of Arts and the State University of New York at Purchase.

Among the other artists who worked with him were Kathleen Chalfant, Carla Gugino and Marisa Tomei.

He was the author of"Make Your Voice Heard."

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Robert F. McDermott

SAN ANTONIO (AP) _ Retired Brig. Gen. Robert F. McDermott, a former Air Force Academy dean who went on to become chairman of the insurance giant USAA and a leading advocate for auto safety, died Monday. He was 86.

McDermott, who also led a group that owned the San Antonio Spurs for a time in the 1990s, died at Brooke Army Medical Center after a stroke two weeks ago, family spokesman Paul Ringenbach said.

He moved to San Antonio in 1968 when he retired from the Air Force and joined USAA, United Services Automobile Association, founded in the 1920s as an insurance company for military officers.

As president and chairman, McDermott oversaw its growth from a company with 2,600 employees into a multibillion-dollar corporation with more than 16,000 employees that offered a range of financial services to current and former military service members and their families.

He argued that safety measures would reduce insurance costs and advocated the use of air bags years before they became commonplace.

McDermott stepped down as head of USAA in 1993.

President Eisenhower appointed him to serve as dean of the then-new Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., a post he held from 1956 to 1968.

He was credited with helping modernize military education by such steps as requiring students to select a major course of study. The school's main cadet library bears his name.

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David Nicholson

LONDON (AP) _ David Nicholson, a two-time champion trainer after a successful career as a jockey, died Sunday, his nephew said Monday. He was 67.

There was no immediate detail on the cause of death, but nephew James Fanshawe said Nicholson had been having chest pains and died on the way back from the hospital.

Nicholson received his training license in 1968 and retired in 1999. He was champion trainer in 1993-94 and again the following year.

Nicknamed"The Duke,"he had winners as a trainer in Charter Party in the 1988 Cheltenham Gold Cup and Barton Bank at the King George VI Chase in 1993. Another horse, Moorcroft Boy, won the Scottish National in 1996 after breaking three neck vertebrae two years earlier.

As a rider, Nicholson rode more than 600 winners in a 20-year career starting in 1951. He won the 1967 Whitbread Gold Cup on Mill House.

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Margaret Rose Knight Sanford

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ Margaret Rose Knight Sanford, the former North Carolina first lady who also was Terry Sanford's partner as he served as a U.S. senator and president of Duke University, died Saturday. She was 88.

Sanford, who lived at a retirement community in Durham, died at Duke University Hospital in Durham, the school announced Monday. She had been hospitalized for about a week, during which her health declined rapidly, said Laurie Sanford, her daughter-in-law.

Her husband, Terry Sanford, was governor from 1961 to 1965, Duke's president from 1970 to 1985 and a U.S. senator from 1987 to 1993. He also made two unsuccessful runs for president, in 1972 and 1976. Sanford was known for his progressive policies on race relations, poverty and education.

Margaret Rose Sanford, a former schoolteacher, didn't have a great interest in politics, but she often was a sounding board for the ambitions that her husband shared, said Marion Ellis, who co-wrote a book about Terry Sanford in 1999.

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Vladimir Tretchikoff

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) _ Vladimir Tretchikoff, a painter whose popular prints earned him the nickname"the king of kitsch,"died Saturday, his daughter said Monday. He was 93.

Tretchikoff died at a nursing home in Cape Town after being in frail health for years, said his daughter, Mimi Mercorio.

His most famous work,"The Chinese Girl"_ a portrait of a woman in Chinese dress notable for the bluish hue to her skin _ sold more than half a million copies and is believed to be one of the best-selling prints of all time.

His daughter said the print, which achieved iconic status, wasn't even the original"Chinese Girl."The first copy was slashed after thieves broke into the artist's studio in South Africa. Later, on a visit to San Francisco, Tretchikoff spotted the daughter of a local restaurant owner and asked whether he could paint her, and she became the famous"Chinese Girl,"Mercorio recalled.

His works were exhibited around the world, and Tretchikoff had large followings in the United States and Britain.

Even though he enjoyed huge popular appeal at the zenith of his success in the 1960s and 1970s, he often was called the"king of kitsch"by critics.

Tretchikoff was often described as South Africa's most popular artist. But the National Gallery in Cape Town always refused to display his works because he was not South African.

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