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Obituaries in the News

December 11, 1998

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) _ Craig C. Black, who for 12 years directed the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and was credited with boosting its attendance, died Dec. 5 of complications following chemotherapy for lymphoma. He was 66.

Black’s museum career began as an associate curator at Pittsburgh’s natural history museum in 1960. He became its director in 1975.

He moved to Los Angeles in 1982 to direct the Natural History Museum. He worked to boost donations, increase attendance and improve the museum’s image.

Black also oversaw the building of the Petersen Automotive Museum, part of the Natural History Museum’s holdings.

The last few years of his tenure were marred by budget cuts and questions about the museum’s finances, including a $49,000 luxury sedan purchased by the museum foundation for Black’s use. Black was cleared of serious wrong doing.

He later retired to New Mexico.

Robert Marasco

NEW YORK (AP) _ Robert Marasco, a playwright and novelist known for such hair-raising works as ``Child’s Play,″ died of lung cancer Sunday. He was 62.

``Child’s Play″ a spooky melodrama about evil occurrences in a Roman Catholic boys’ school, opened to acclaim on Broadway in 1970. It later became a movie directed by Sidney Lumet and starring James Mason and Robert Preston.

Marasco published his first novel, ``Burnt Offerings,″ in 1973. Three years later, the book, about a family that rents a stately haunted house, was turned into a film starring Bette Davis.

He also wrote the novel ``Parlor Games″ and had finished a new play, ``Our Sally,″ before he died.

Wallace Sprague

SALEM, Ore. (AP) _ Wallace Sprague, former managing editor of Parade magazine and former publisher of the Oregon Statesman, died Monday of complications from diabetes. He was 80.

Sprague took over as publisher of the predecessor to the Statesman Journal after the death of his father, editor and publisher Charles Sprague, also a former governor of Oregon. The younger Sprague was publisher from 1969-72.

After World War II, Sprague joined the editorial staff of Parade magazine in New York, became managing editor in 1949 and later assistant publisher.

He was executive vice president of This Week magazine from 1960-63 and president of the Bowater Paper Co. in New York from 1965-67. He returned to the literary world for Whitney Communications Corp. in New York City until 1971. He also operated two weekly newspapers in New Jersey with his wife, Mary Louise.

Survivors include his wife, two sons, a sister and three grandchildren.

Charles Tarbi

EVERETT, Mass. (AP) _ Charles Tarbi, a retired reporter for The Boston Globe and founder and former co-owner of The East Boston Times, died Wednesday of cancer. He was 84.

Tarbi became a reporter for the Globe in 1942 and covered the East Boston section, Everett and Winthrop. He retired in 1978.

Tarbi founded The East Boston Times in 1938. He and his brother, Frank, and two partners owned and operated it for about 40 years.

Tarbi also had published The Winthrop Times, The Somerville Chronicle, The Cambridge Tribune and The Dover (N.H.) Times.

Tarbi is survived by his brother, and nieces and nephews.