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James I. Loeb, 83, a former ambassador...


James I. Loeb, 83, a former ambassador to Peru and Guinea and the first national executive secretary of Americans for Democratic Action, died of pneumonia on Jan. 10 in Lebanon, N.H. He had been suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Long active in politics, he was the Kennedy administration's ambassador in Peru from 1961 until he was recalled to Washington in July 1962 as a gesture of disapproval against a military junta that seized control in Peru earlier that month. From 1963 to 1965, he was ambassador to Guinea, in West Africa. In 1941, he had helped found the Union for Democratic Action, which became Americans for Democratic Action in 1947. He was executive secretary of the union and then of its successor from 1947 to 1953.

Lord Rootes, 74, who produced some of Britain's best-known cars before his company was taken over by Chrysler Corp., died in London Thursday. William Geoffrey Rootes inherited the title as the second Lord Rootes when his father died in 1964. His grandfather began the family business before World War I. By 1939, the company had acquired vehicle makers Humber, Hillman, Karrier, Sunbeam, Talbot, British Light Steel Pressings and Singer and had 15 percent of the British car market, making 50,000 vehicles a year. The group was renamed Chrysler United Kingdom Ltd. in 1970, and in 1973 Chrysler Corp. took it over as a wholly owned subsidiary.

Hugh Meade Alcorn Jr., 84, who was Republican National chairman during the Eisenhower administration, died Monday at his home in Hartford, Conn. He had been a Connecticut state representative in the 1930s and 1940s, and was state's attorney in Hartford from 1942 to 1949.

Walt Morey, 84, author of "Gentle Ben" and 14 other children's books, died Sunday after suffering a heart attack at his home in Wilsonville, Ore., south of Portland. He had held a variety of jobs -- including professional boxer -- before he started his writing career in the late 1920s. He sold short stories to pulp magazines and wrote two books for adults. "Gentle Ben," his story of a 13-foot, 2,200-pound Kodiak bear, appeared in 1965 and sold nearly 3 million copies. It was turned into a movie and television series.

Dr. Laura Ayres, 69, coordinator of Portugal's campaign against AIDS, died in Lisbon Thursday from a brain hemorrhage. She was head of the National Commission for the Fight against AIDS, director of the virus laboratory at Portugal's National Health Institute and president of the European Community's Health Service Research Committee.

William Bunney Sr., 89, a biochemist who helped develop a single-shot vaccine for diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus, died Jan. 8 in Orange, Calif. He joined drug maker E. R. Squibb and Sons in 1938 as director of biological products and became vice president of worldwide manufacturing 14 years later. He retired in 1965. During World War II, he received an award on behalf of Squibb from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who cited the company's role in developing methods for large-scale production of penicillin. Years later, President John F. Kennedy asked him to head one of the first scientific exchange missions to the Soviet Union.

Jimmy Grippo, 93, a magician and hypnotist who performed for presidents and kings, died Wednesday in Las Vegas. He had been resident magician at Caesars Palace since the resort opened in 1966 and was billed as the world's oldest working magician. He said he once picked the pocket of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, much to the amusement of then President Roosevelt, who was watching.

Nellie Snyder Yost Lydic, 86, who wrote about the American West and early ranching life, died Thursday of pneumonia in North Platte, Neb. Most of her books were written under the name Nellie Snyder Yost. Her first book, "Pinnacle Jake," was a recounting of her father's stories about the West and other books included "The Call of the Range," "Medicine Lodge," "The West That Was," "Boss Cowman," "Evil Obsession: The Annie Cook Story" and "Buffalo Bill: His Family, Friends, Fame, Failures and Fortunes."

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