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Obituaries in the News

December 10, 2002

PARSONS, Kan. (AP) _ Dick Combs, a former mayor and city manager of Parsons and majority owner of KLKC Radio, died Monday from complications of pneumonia. He was 73.

His father, Lester, moved the family to Parsons to become managing editor of the Parsons Sun. When Lester Combs died in 1954, his wife, Carol, bought KLKC.

In 1955, Dick Combs and his longtime partner, Gene Joslin, bought an interest in the station and began managing it.

He is survived by a daughter, a son, a brother and a sister.

Edward Crane

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Edward Crane, former president and chief executive of Ozark Air Lines, died Dec. 5 of complications from a stroke. He was 74.

Crane was the last of the St. Louis-based carrier’s presidents. He served 16 years as Ozark’s president before retiring in 1987. He then became a vice chairman of Trans World Airlines, which bought the carrier in 1986.

Ozark operated from 1950 to 1986 with a web of small-airport stops.

Crane rose up the ranks at Ozark, starting as an accounting clerk in 1951, later being promoted to comptroller, director of finance, vice president, executive vice president, treasurer and then company director.

John Dennis

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. (AP) _ John Dennis, a naturalist who wrote an influential book on feeding birds, died Dec. 1 at his home in Princess Anne, Md. He was 86.

His book ``A Complete Guide to Bird Feeding″ was published in 1975 and republished in updated form in 1994.

Dennis was born in Princess Anne and had degrees from the universities of Wisconsin and Florida. He was a sergeant in the Army Signal Corps in the China-Burma Theater in World War II.

After the war, he worked for the Massachusetts Audubon Society as a sanctuary director and oversaw the Nantucket Ornithological Station. Later, he worked as a field researcher for the Nature Conservancy.

Aileen Fisher

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) _ Aileen Fisher, an award-winning children’s poetry and book author, has died. She was 96.

She died Dec. 2 of natural causes, the Boulder Daily Camera reported.

Fisher wrote children’s poetry, plays, nature fiction and biographical novels, publishing more than 100 books since the 1930s.

Her first book, ``The Coffee Pot Face,″ was the 1932 choice of the Junior Literary Guild.

Among her awards was the 1940 silver medal for distinguished service to the education section of the Treasury Department, the 1968 Honor Book on the Hans Christian Anderson award list, and the 1976 National Council of Teachers of English award for excellence in poetry for children.

Adele Jergens

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Adele Jergens, a leading pinup model during World War II who starred in a string of B movies in the 1940s and 1950s, has died. She was 84.

Jergens, who died Nov. 22 at her home in Camarillo, Calif., appeared opposite such actors as Marilyn Monroe, Red Skelton and William Holden. Film historian Alan Rode said she developed a reputation as a femme fatale in a handful of film-noir movies such as ``Armored Car Robbery,″ ``Side Street″ and ``Try and Get Me.″

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Jergens was named the Fairest of the Fair at the New York World’s Fair in 1939.

Jergens worked as a Rockette and was named the No. 1 showgirl in New York at one point in the early 1940s. She got her break as an understudy for stripteaser Gypsy Rose Lee in the Broadway show ``Star and Garter.″

Joyce Milkie

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) _ Former newspaper columnist Joyce Milkie died Saturday from a stroke. She was 81.

For more than 30 years, Milkie was a fixture at The (Orangeburg) Times and Democrat, moving from writing women’s features in the 1960s to general assignments to a twice weekly column in the 1980s.

She was named Newspaper Woman of the Year for 1972-73 by the South Carolina Newspaper Association.

Born in Houlton, Maine, she trained as a nurse in the 1930s. She and her husband, Emil Milkie, moved to South Carolina in the early 1960s and she joined The Times and Democrat in 1966. She is survived by two sons.

John William Powers

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ John William Powers, a third-generation police officer known as ``The Patton of the LAPD″ who helped lead the department’s investigation into the Charles Manson family murders, has died. He was 90.

Powers, who spent 31 years with the Los Angeles Police Department, died Nov. 15 at his home near Sacramento.

An almost mythic figure within the department, Powers was immortalized in Joseph Wambaugh’s best-seller ``The Onion Field,″ a nonfiction book that recounted the 1963 murder of LAPD officer Ian Campbell.

Besides working on the Campbell murder case, Powers was a commander during the 1965 Watts riots and helped lead the investigation of the 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and six others by the Charles Manson family.

Powers also wrote for ``Dragnet,″ and in retirement penned an unpublished 1,600-page autobiography, ``Officer Survival.″

Harsen Smith

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) _ Harsen Smith, who helped build the family firm of Chris-Craft into one of the largest boat manufacturers in the world, died Saturday. He was 94.

Smith, the grandson of company founder Christopher Columbus Smith, chaired the company’s board until Chris-Craft was sold in 1960.

Smith was on the cover of Time Magazine in May 1959, described as ``the man who perhaps more than any other put the U.S. family afloat.″

Per Wrigstad

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ Per Wrigstad, a former editor in chief of the Swedish tabloid Expressen, died Sunday. He was 85.

Wrigstad was one of 36 journalists who founded Expressen in 1944.

Wrigstad was born in Karlskoga, about 125 miles west of Stockholm. He worked for a couple of local newspapers before moving to Stockholm. In 1960 he succeeded Ivar Harrie as editor in chief and held the post until he retired in 1977. Later, he wrote newspaper columns about wine.

He is survived by his wife and three children.

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