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Obituaries in the News

May 13, 2003

Byron Godbersen

IDA GROVE, Iowa (AP) _ Byron Godbersen, an inventor who created the hydraulic hoist for farm wagons, died Sunday from several health problems. He was 78.

Godbersen, founder and CEO of Midwest Industries, Inc. and Byron Originals, Inc., was born on Jan. 19, 1925 on a farm outside of Mapleton in western Iowa. After dealing with the tough work of unloading big yields of corn, he developed the Bolster Hoist, a hydraulic hoist for farm wagons.

The hoist was the first to harness hydraulic systems in tractors to raise loaded farm wagons. It would benefit many grain farmers in the Midwest in the 1950′s and 1960′s.

Godbersen was awarded Iowa’s Small Businessman of the Year award and the National Small Businessman of the Year in 1973.

By the time of his death, he had more than 50 patents _ more than anyone else in Iowa. He was inducted into the Iowa Inventors’ Hall of Fame and named Inventor of the Year in Iowa in 1996.

Terry Thaddeus

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ Terry Thaddeus, a Malaysian rock guitarist once acclaimed by the British music press as the ``Jimi Hendrix of the East,″ died Monday after a four-month battle with intestinal cancer. He was 55.

Born on Oct. 15, 1947, Thaddeus launched his musical career as an adolescent by founding the Teenage Hunters, one of the first Malaysian rock bands to stage shows in neighboring countries such as Thailand.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Thaddeus earned his stripes as a spirited guitarist in several foreign bands, including the London-based Pitiful Souls, Japanese outfit the Strollers, and Singapore’s X-Periments.

In a 1973 cover story, British music magazine Marshall World lavished praise on him as the ``East’s top guitar″ and the ``Jimi Hendrix of the East,″ a comparison to the legendary American musician considered by many people to be the greatest rock guitarist of all time.

Thaddeus returned to his home country in the 1980s, producing albums for local rock bands and writing commercial jingles, some of which won industry awards in this predominantly Muslim Southeast Asian country.

Last year, Thaddeus teamed up with the Malaysian band Winds of Change, making a comeback to major live performances for the first time in more than a decade, his wife Frances told The Associated Press.

Lawson Weekes

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (AP) _ Former House of Assembly Speaker Lawson Weekes died Sunday following a six-year battle with prostate cancer. He was 69.

Weekes, a pharmacist who had turned 69 on April 29, represented a district in northwestern Barbados between 1981 and 1996, the year he retired from active politics. He was elected speaker in 1986.

Weekes was involved in several charities and also operated a medical dispensary.