GEN. JAMES H. POLK, 80, who spearheaded Gen. George Patton's drive across Europe in World War II, died Tuesday. A retired Army officer, Polk had suffered recently from cancer and pneumonia, and had been hospitalized several weeks. "He was a wonderful officer and an American and a patriot," said retired Army Maj. Gen. George S. Patton, Patton's son. Polk headed the 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment, which led the 3rd Army's advances through France, Germany and into Czechoslovakia.
DR. MERRICK SMITH, 106, identified by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as the nation's oldest veteran, died Saturday at Albuquerque VA Medical Center's Nursing Home Care Unit, a spokesman for the VA said. He served with public health in Michigan, and then for 18 months served as an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist in Panama during World War I. Before 1935 he was in private practice at several locations around the country and after moving to Albuquerque he worked for the the Indian Health Service in New Mexico until he retired in 1955.
EDNA GARDNER WHYTE, 89, an aviation pioneer and friend of flying legend Amelia Earhart, died Saturday of natural causes. Whyte had dinner with Earhart the night before the fateful around-the-world flight in 1937. Earhart's plane disappeared in the Pacific Ocean on the final part of the trip. Most recently in 1985, Whyte was the oldest competitor in the Great Southern Air Race that covered 1,100 miles in two and a half days. She started flying in 1926 and spent the next 60 years as a pilot and teacher. Whyte's honors included the Charles Lindberg Lifetime Achievement Award and she was the first woman to be elected an honorary member of the Daedalians, a worldwide fraternity of military pilots.
DR. HACIB AOUN, 36, a cardiologist, and former Johns Hopkins Hospital doctor, died Sunday at his home in suburban Glen Arm, Md., of complications from AIDS, his family said. Dr. Aoun became infected with AIDS from a patient's blood and later sued the hospital for trying to avoid responsibility for his illness. He contracted the AIDS virus in February 1983 when a tube holding a blood specimen shattered, cutting his finger. His infection was diagnosed more than three years later and his contract was not renewed. He began lecturing and writing on AIDS discrimination after leaving Johns Hopkins.
THE REV. JAMIE BUCKINGHAM, 59, founder and senior pastor of the non-denominational Tabernacle Church in Melbourne and a popular religion columnist, died Monday while undergoing treatment for kidney cancer. He was a major figure in the Pentecostal church and a close associate of the Rev. Pat Robertson, the television evangelist and conservative presidential candidate of 1988. In 1967 he founded the charismatic Tabernacle Church, which has a congregation of 2,000 during the winter season. His column in Charisma magazine, "Last Word," won several awards from the secular and Christian press. The author of 40 books, he helped to write Mission, the account of the space shuttle flight made by then-U.S. Rep. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.
LES TRAUTMANN, 73, a reporter and editor at the Staten Island Advance for 27 years and editorial page editor of the St. Petersburg Times in 1954, died Monday in New York City. He was born, reared and educated on Staten Island, New York City's smallest borough, and spent all but a few of his 54 years in journalism at the Advance. He was named city editor in 1962 and editor in 1965.
DONALD "RED DOG" ETTINGER, 70, a former All-Pro football linebacker once traded for 11 players, died Feb. 12 in Cookeville, Tenn. Mr. Ettinger was an aggressive player who, in his phrase, liked to "dog the quarterback." That led to the term "red-dogging." He was a rookie sensation in 1948 with the National Football League's New York Giants. After three years with the Giants, he was traded to the Canadian Football League in exchange for 11 players. He later became a defensive line coach for the NFL's Houston Oilers.
HELEN VELA, 45, one of the Philippines' most popular television hosts, died Friday in Rochester, Minn., after colon surgery, according to GMA Radio-Television, her employer. Ms. Vela, of Manila, died from complications of cancer, a Mayo Clinic spokesman said. She was best remembered for the long-running television series Lovingly Yours, Helen, which featured dramatizations of family problems submitted by viewers.
IRV KINTISCH, 69, a national college shot put champion in 1947, died Friday in Miami. He won the AAU shot put title while at New York University with a toss of 52 feet, 6\ inches.
ANGELA CARTER, 51, a writer whose novels included The Magic Toyshop, The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman and Wise Children, died Sunday in London of cancer. Her short story The Company of Wolves was the basis for a film of the same name in 1984. Her second novel, The Magic Toyshop, published in 1967, was translated to film in 1986.
STELLA ROMAN, 87, who performed 13 roles in 126 performances during 10 seasons with the Metropolitan Opera Company, died Feb. 12 in New York City of respiratory failure. Miss Roman, a soprano, made her debut in 1932 and became a member of the Rome Opera four years later.
MEADE ROBERTS, 61, a screenwriter, playwright and actor who specialized in adaptations of Tennessee Williams' works, died Feb. 10 in New York City of a heart attack.
WALTER J. SCHOB, 88, a founder and former president of Serta Inc., died Feb. 11 in Philadelphia of complications from a heart condition. In 1928 he started working at the mattress manufacturer HonorBilt Products, now Serta Mattress Co. The next year he helped found Serta Inc., which sold mattresses worldwide.