Rufino Tamayo, the last of an extraordinary group of painters who defined modern Mexican art for the world, died yesterday morning of pneumonia in Mexico City. He was 91. Mr. Tamayo was a prolific painter whose works spanned more than seven decades. His early paintings bear some of the trademarks shared by muralists Diego Rivera, Jose Orozco and David Siqueiros, whose lavish works combined Mexico's indigenous roots with modern techniques. Mr. Tamayo, whose work frequently drew on pre-Hispanic themes, has been called "a pre-Columbian painter of the Paris School." His later work, often featuring fiery colors schemes and abstract figures, was a complete departure from the themes and style of the muralists.
Paul Ecke Sr., a German immigrant who turned the poinsettia into a traditional Christmas plant, died Friday of natural causes at his home in Encinitas, Calif. He was 96. Mr. Ecke was nicknamed "Mr. Poinsettia" for developing varieties of the plant that could be grown during Christmastime and promoting its yuletide merits. In the pre-greenhouse 1920s, florists had little to sell for the Christmas season. Mr. Ecke, working in an inherited poinsettia business in San Diego, began cultivating sturdier varieties of the fragile poinsettia that could be grown during cool months. Most of more than 40 million poinsettias sold annually in the United States can be traced back to Mr. Ecke's ranch, where he developed 30 strains grown across the nation. He won many awards, including admission to the Society of American Florists' Floriculture Hall of Fame.
G. Warfield Hobbs III, a chairman of the National Committee on the Aging in the 1950s, died Saturday of cancer of the liver in Longwood, Fla. He was 85. Under his leadership, the Committee on Aging provided information and counseling in areas like health, employment, retirement, and social welfare. Mr. Hobbs was born and grew up in Baltimore. He earned a bachelor's degree at Johns Hopkins University in 1928 and then joined the First National City Bank of New York, now Citibank, where he eaded the pension trust division from 1938 until he retired in 1965 as a New York-based vice president. He served in the Army Air Forces in World War II.
Leo Koury, an alleged killer on the FBI's 10 Most-Wanted List since 1979, died June 17 in San Diego of a brain hemorrhage caused by high blood pressure. He was 56. FBI investigators Friday had not determined what Mr. Koury, hospitalized under an alias, William Franklin Biddle, was doing in San Diego or how long he had been there. Listed longest on the FBI fugitive roster, Mr. Koury was charged with two 1978 murders in Richmond, Va., and other crimes authorities said stemmed from the bar owner's alleged attempts to control the competition. He was charged with killing a bouncer at one bar and with sending a gunman to another, where one person was killed.
Joseph J. Jaksy, a urologist who saved Jews in his native Czechoslovakia during World War II, died June 18 of cardiac arrest at his home in New York City. He was 91. During the war, Mr. Jaksy protected more than two dozen Jews from the Nazis.