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Obituaries in the News

May 11, 2002

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Bernice Brown

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Ramblin’ Rod, the popular host of a Portland children’s television show, died Friday. Ramblin’ Rod, whose real name was Rod Anders, was 69.

He had appeared on KPTV’s morning cartoon show for 33 years before retiring in 1997.

Thousands of Portland parents have videotapes of their children appearing on Anders’ show and saying their names into his microphone. He would typically invite about 40 children, ages 3 to 12, to his show.

Between cartoons, he would pin their buttons on his sweater, promote their clubs and organizations and award prizes for their smiles.

Anders started using the name Ramblin’ Rod as a disc jockey on a Hillsboro radio station, where he’d sometimes play his guitar and sing songs on the air. The name stuck after he auditioned for and won a job hosting Channel 12′s ``Popeye’s Pier 12,″ which evolved into his children’s show.

Bernice Brown

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Bernice Brown, wife to one California governor and mom to another, died at her home. She was 93.

The widow of Gov. Edmund G. ``Pat″ Brown and mother of Gov. Edmund G. ``Jerry″ Brown died Thursday of natural causes, said Jodie Evans, a longtime political aide and friend of Brown’s son, who is now mayor of Oakland. He also ran unsuccessfully for president.

Brown worked alongside her husband in all three of his campaigns for governor, as well as his successful bids for San Francisco district attorney and California attorney general. Her husband served as governor from 1959 to 1967.

The Browns were the last first family to live in the historic governor’s mansion, now a museum, and Bernice Brown decorated much of the mansion, including a sitting room she converted into an office for herself.

Waltah Clarke

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (AP) _ Waltah Clarke, once the nation’s largest retailers of Hawaiian-style fashions, has died. He was 89.

Clarke died of heart failure on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

A Los Angeles native, Clarke moved to Hawaii in 1938 and later changed the spelling of his name from Walter to Waltah, reflecting the way it was pronounced by local beachgoers.

In 1952, Clarke opened a store in Palm Springs that offered Hawaiian shirts, swimwear and dresses. His wife Gretchen designed many of the prints for store fashions.

The Waltah Clarke Hawaiian Shops chain eventually totaled 31 stores in California, Chicago and Hawaii. After he retired, Clarke remained chairman of the board and his wife became president. They sold their last store, in Palm Desert, last year.

Buck Jones

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ The Rev. Buck Jones, who spent more than 30 years championing civil rights and fighting for affordable housing, died Friday. He was 62.

After founding Project HOPE, or Helping Other People Emerge, in East St. Louis, Ill. in 1970, Jones spent the next three decades directing the group’s efforts to help people in Missouri and Illinois.

Born in Hernando, Fla., Jones earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in theology from Yale University Divinity School and a doctorate in divinity from Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves.

In 1966, Jones and his wife, Ethel, moved to St. Louis, where he would earn a national reputation for his ministry of social justice for the urban poor and elderly.

He is credited with founding Habitat for Humanity in East St. Louis and working with tenants of Cochran Gardens, a public housing complex north of downtown St. Louis. He helped lead a rent strike in 1969 that led to a law limiting the amount of rent housing authorities can charge.

Austen Kark

LONDON (AP) _ Austen Kark, the former head of the British Broadcasting Corp.’s World Service, was killed in a train crash near London Friday. He was 75.

Seven people died and more than 70 were injured when a high speed express train derailed at Potters Bar station, north of London.

Kark was on the train with his wife, Nina, 77, who was being treated in a hospital for a fractured collarbone and ankle, his family said.

Kark was managing director of the BBC’s External Broadcasting Service, now the World Service, from 1985-86.

A trainee journalist with the Belfast Telegraph, he later became a free-lance reporter and broadcaster in London and New York.

He joined the BBC in 1954 as a scriptwriter and became head of the corporation’s south European service in 1964.

By 1973 he was appointed editor of the External Broadcasting Service and six years later chaired an inquiry into the future of radio and television in Zimbabwe for Robert Mugabe, who was then prime minister.

He was made a Commander of the Order of British Empire, or CBE, in 1987.

On retirement from the BBC, he turned to novel writing and his first book ``The Forwarding Agent″ was published in 1999. He was also the author of ``Attic in Greece.″

He married Nina in 1954 after the end of his marriage to his first wife Margaret Solomon.

Kark is survived by two daughters from his first marriage and a daughter and stepson from his second.

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