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Obituaries in the News

January 8, 1999 GMT

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) _ Bob Bruner, a broadcaster who ushered in color television at WMT-TV, died Wednesday at 81.

Bruner’s first job was with a 100-watt Florida station in 1940. In 1953, he came to WMT Radio, and four years later began doing television news.

In a 1967 evening newscast, he presided over WMT-TV’s switching from black and white to color. Bruner also anchored the station’s first midday newscast. He retired from WMT in 1982.

Survivors include a son, a grandchild and two great-grandchildren.

David Dennis

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) _ Former U.S. Rep. David Dennis, whose vote against impeaching President Nixon cost him his seat in Congress, died of pneumonia Wednesday. He was 86.

The three-term Republican congressman supported Nixon’s position during the impeachment hearings in the Judiciary Committee and voted in the House Judiciary Committee against the articles of impeachment. The articles were approved, and Dennis lost his re-election bid in 1974.

James Hammerstein

NEW YORK (AP) _ James Hammerstein, theater director, producer and son of legendary lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, died Thursday of a heart attack. He was 67.

Hammerstein was associated with many of his father’s musicals, directing or producing various revivals of such Rodgers and Hammerstein shows as ``The King and I,″ ``The Sound of Music,″ ``Carousel,″ ``South Pacific″ and ``Oklahoma!″

He co-produced the current off-Broadway musical revue ``I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change″ and the comedy ``Over the River and Through the Woods.″

Hammerstein also co-directed the stage version of ``State Fair,″ the 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein film musical. It had a three-month run on Broadway in 1996.

James W. Kirkman

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) _ James W. Kirkman, former publisher of The North Platte Telegraph and the town’s former mayor, died Thursday at age 88.

Kirkman worked for the Telegraph for 50 years, the last eight as publisher. He retired at 65 in 1976 and later served as mayor of North Platte from 1984 to 1992.

Kirkman became a sports editor in 1926, when he was a junior in high school, and went on to work full time as a sports editor and advertising manager in 1928. His ``Dots and Dashes″ sports column was followed around the region for decades.


He received the Nebraska Press Association’s top honor, ``Master Editor-Publisher″ in 1976.

Kirkman is survived by his wife and two sons.

R. Stanford Manning

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (AP) _ R. Stanford Manning, publisher of the San Clemente Daily Sun/Post for 20 years, died Wednesday while awaiting heart bypass surgery. He was 79.

Manning was one of few journalists invited to meet President Nixon at the western White House helicopter pad after Nixon resigned in 1974.

Manning and his wife, Pat, owned the weekly Carlsbad Journal until they sold it in late 1970s and bought an interest in the Sun/Post.

He published the Sun/Post until The Orange County Register bought the paper in 1993. Manning became publisher emeritus and continued to write a column.

Manning is survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter and three grandchildren.

Ntsu Mokhehle

MASERU, Lesotho (AP) _ Former Prime Minister Ntsu Mokhehle, considered the most influential politician in modern Lesotho, died Wednesday. He was 80.

Mokhehle, prime minister from 1993 until his retirement last year, founded the Basotholand African Congress party in 1952 and championed the cause of independence from Britain. Lesotho, encircled by South Africa, gained independence in 1966.

Mokhehle led the party, which later changed its name to the Basotholand Congress Party, until June 1997 when he broke away with a large following to establish the Lesotho Congress for Democracy. Mokhehle’s new party has governed Lesotho since its establishment.

Allen D. Sapp Jr.

CINCINNATI (AP) _ Allen D. Sapp Jr., a composer and music professor whose works were performed by major orchestras, died Monday of heart failure. He was 76.

Sapp’s compositions were performed by such groups as the New York Philharmonic, French Radio Orchestra and Boston Fine Arts Chamber Orchestra. He was the first chairman of the board of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra.

Sapp retired in 1993 as professor of composition at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He also taught at Harvard, Wellesley College and the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Sapp was active in national arts groups, and was director of Arts/Worth, a project funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Don Saxon

NEW YORK (AP) _ Don Saxon, who played vaudeville houses as part of a comedy team early in his career and went on to produce Broadway plays, died Tuesday. He was 82.

In the 1930s and ’40s, Saxon sang with a number of big bands, including the Ben Bernie Orchestra. He also performed on Broadway in ``The Great Waltz″ and ``Street Scene.″

He and comedian Tim Herbert later formed the comedy team Saxon and Herbert, playing vaudeville houses around the country, headlining at the Paramount Theater in New York, and appearing on ``The Ed Sullivan Show.″

Saxon began producing on Broadway in 1969 with ``Jimmy.″ He also produced ``The Boy Friend″ in 1970, ``Bully″ in 1976, and ``Diary of Anne Frank″ in 1980.

Gladys D. Seaton

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) _ Gladys D. Seaton, a member of a family that operates newspapers and television stations in five states, died Tuesday. She was 88.

Mrs. Seaton and her late husband, Fred A. Seaton, bought the Hastings Tribune with his father and brother and became its publisher. The family eventually owned several newspapers, a television station and radio stations in the region.

She was vice president and a board member of family companies that operated the Alliance Times-Herald, the Lead (S.D.) Daily Call-Pioneer Times, the Manhattan (Kan.) Mercury, the Sheridan (Wyo.) Press and the Winfield (Kan.) Courier.

She also served as president of Nebraska Television Corp. in Hastings, operator of KHAS-TV, and as a director of the Seaton Publishing Co. (Tribune) and Nebraska Broadcasting Co. (KHAS Radio).

Survivors include two sons, two daughters, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Louis Jolyon West

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Dr. Louis Jolyon West, a psychiatrist and cult expert who conducted examinations of Jack Ruby and Patricia Hearst, died Jan. 2 of cancer. He was 74.

West headed the psychiatry department and the Neuropsychiatric Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles for 20 years. He retired in 1989.

West frequently served as a court-appointed expert. He testified that Ruby, killer of President Kennedy’s assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, suffered from ``major mental illness apparently precipitated by the stress of his trial and its aftermath.″ That opinion helped avoid a death sentence for Ruby, who died of cancer in prison.

West was also one of four psychiatrists who examined Hearst, the kidnapping victim turned bank robber, before her 1976 trial. The panel found she was sane and able to stand trial but recommended she should be treated before the trial, a recommendation ignored by the court.

West was the first white psychiatrist to go to South Africa to testify on behalf of black prisoners during the effort to end apartheid. He was a member of the White House Conference on Civil Rights in 1966, and he worked for years to abolish the death penalty.

Goro Yamaguchi

TOKYO (AP) _ Goro Yamaguchi, a master of shakuhachi, or bamboo flute, who is credited with introducing traditional Japanese music to the world, died Sunday of a heart attack. He was 65.

Designated a ``living national treasure″ in Japan for his exceptional musical talents, Yamaguchi was also known in the United States. In 1977, a recording of Yamaguchi’s playing was included in a selection of music sent into outer space on NASA’s Voyager 2 probe.

Until his death, he taught music at Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku, a respected school of the arts.

Yamaguchi began learning shakuhachi at age 11 from his father. Shakuhachi playing has been closely linked to the practice of Zen Buddhism throughout its history in Japan.

Dr. Paul M. Zoll

NEWTON, Mass. (AP) _ Dr. Paul M. Zoll, a heart specialist whose research led to the pacemaker and the defibrillator devices that have helped millions of patients, died Tuesday of respiratory arrest. He was 87.

More than 45 years ago, Zoll was credited with showing for the first time that electrical stimulation can restart human hearts. His research aided the development of the electrocardiogram and open-heart surgery, said Dr. Seigo Izumo, director of cardiovascular research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

In 1973, Zoll won the Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award, considered a leading scientific prize in the United States. The citation noted his work led to the development of the closed-chest defibrillator, which shocks the heart to restore a normal rhythm, and cardiac monitors as well as the pacemaker.

Zoll was a clinical professor at Harvard Medical School and a physician at Beth Israel Hospital. He also wrote many articles for professional journals and in 1956 was named associate editor of the medical journal Circulation.

In the early 1980s, he founded Zoll Medical Corp., which manufactured defibrillators.