Paul Johnson

Longtime L.A. traffic reporter

Paul Johnson, 75, a longtime Los Angeles traffic reporter who worked at KNBC-TV Channel 4 for 22 years and was known for his signature phrase "Buckle up, be careful out there," died Tuesday at his home in Orange Park Acres, the TV station announced.

Johnson had not appeared on the "Today in L.A." morning show since undergoing surgery for a brain tumor in January.

Johnson's baritone voice delivered reports on traffic snarls, and the popular reporter always finished with "Buckle up, be careful out there." He worked for Burbank's NBC4 since August 1988 as both a weather and traffic reporter.

A native of Litchfield, Minn., Johnson's broadcast career included positions at Los Angeles radio stations KZLA, KFAC, KUTE and KIIS.

John R. 'Jack' Beckett

Former head of Transamerica Corp.

John R. "Jack" Beckett, 92, the former chief executive of Transamerica Corp. who commissioned the landmark pyramid-shaped corporate building in San Francisco's financial district, died June 17 at his home in Atherton, Calif. The cause was not given.

Beckett became president of Transamerica in 1960, rising to chairman and CEO before retiring in 1983. During that time he led the company's transition from a holding company for Bank of America into a diversified financial services firm.

Beckett hired Los Angeles architect William Pereira to build the distinctive 853-foot pyramid office tower in downtown San Francisco. Construction began in 1969, and for years critics complained about the unusual shape of the corporate skyscraper. In time it became a celebrated civic landmark.

Born Feb. 26, 1918, in San Francisco, Beckett grew up in Marin County. He received bachelor's and master's degrees in economics from Stanford University.

Bill Wagner

He helped revitalize N.Y. wine industry

Bill Wagner, 83, a winery owner who played a major role in revitalizing the Finger Lakes wine industry in west-central New York beginning in the 1970s, died Saturday at his home in Lodi, N.Y., said his son John. The cause was not disclosed.

Wagner grew grapes on his family's farm for more than three decades before producing his first wines for sale in 1979 as founder of Wagner Vineyards on the eastern shore of Seneca Lake. He quickly earned renown for growing European-American hybrid grapes.

Best known for its Rieslings, the winery produces 35 wines from 20 grape varieties grown on 250 acres of vineyards.

A third-generation farmer, Stanley A. "Bill" Wagner was born in Elmira, N.Y., in 1927. He dropped out of high school to join the Navy in World War II, then returned to the farm where his parents' crops included grapes, cherries and peaches.

Wagner bought a few acres of land and grew grapes for local New York winemakers before focusing on growing grapes for his own winery.