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Harold M. Agnew, last major figure from birth of nuclear age, dies at 92

Harold M. Agnew, 92, the last surviving major figure to have been present at the birth of the nuclear age — who helped build the world's first reactor and atomic bombs, flew on the first atomic strike against Japan, filmed the mushroom cloud, helped perfect the hydrogen bomb and led the Los Alamos National Laboratory at the height of the Cold War — died Sept. 29 in Solana Beach, Calif.

Albert "Bud" Wheelon, 84, one of the nation's central figures in the development of the first spy satellite and later the commercial communications satellite industry, died on Sept. 27 in Montecito, Calif. Under his guidance as the first science and technology director of the CIA, the United States invented the photo reconnaissance satellite during the early 1960s.

James B. Vaught, 86, the Army general who commanded the Carter administration's disastrous April 1980 mission aimed at freeing more than 50 American hostages held in Iran, died Sept. 20 in Conway, S.C.

Mario Montez, 78, whose glamour and poise as a drag performer elevated him to the heights of avant-garde theater and cinema in the 1960s and made him a fixture in films by Andy Warhol, died of complications of a stroke Sept. 26 in Key West.

Elvin R. Heiberg III, 81, a general who rose to the top of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the 1980s and decades later expressed regret for failing to fight hard enough to build floodgates that he believed might have protected New Orleans from Hurricane Katrina, died of cancer Sept. 27 in Arlington, Va.

Patricia Blair, 80, an actor who played resourceful women in 1960s television Westerns like Daniel Boone and The Rifleman, died of breast cancer Sept. 9 in North Wildwood, N.J.

Abraham Nemeth, 94, the blind designer of the internationally recognized Nemeth Braille Math Code that simplified symbols for easier use in advanced math and science, died of congestive heart failure Wednesday in Southfield, Mich.

Leonard J. Kerpelman, 88, a Baltimore lawyer and gadfly who successfully argued a landmark Supreme Court case in 1963 that led to a ban on state-supported prayer in public schools, died of complications of a tumor Sept. 26 in Baltimore.

Bill Eppridge, 75, an award-winning photojournalist who made his most enduring mark with a historic image of a mortally wounded Sen. Robert F. Kennedy lying on the floor of a Los Angeles hotel in June 1968, died of septic infection Thursday in Danbury, Conn. He also photographed Latin American revolutions, the Woodstock music festival, the civil rights movement, the Beatles when they first visited the United States.

Harold M. Agnew, last major figure from birth of nuclear age, dies at 92 10/05/13 [Last modified: Saturday, October 5, 2013 7:14pm]
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