* Kenneth E. Oberholtzer, 89, former president of the American Association of School Administrators who was nationally recognized for his modernization of public schools, died last Friday in Walnut Creek, Calif. Lauded for his work in updating the Denver public school system, he was featured on the cover of Time Magazine Feb. 20, 1950. Time described his teaching methods as somewhere between "fiery progressivism" and "suave conservatism." Born Dec. 22, 1903, in Carbon, Ind., he was educated at the University of Illinois and Columbia University. He served as superintendent of three school systems in Texas before moving to Long Beach, Calif., in 1937 where he headed the schools until 1947. During his tenure there, he took a leave of absence to serve in the Army as a lieutenant colonel during World War II. In 1947, he took over the Denver school system, as the highest paid public servant in Colorado earning $13,000 a year. He retired in 1967 and had spent his retirement in Danville, Calif.
* Harold E. Peterson, 93, a pioneer jazz musician and mentor to such younger artists as clarinetist Pete Fountain, died last Friday in New Orleans. He was a drummer who began working professionally when he was 12, playing jazz before the word for it was coined. He played saloons through the 1920s. In the 1930s, he began having success running music stores, and he advised many young musicians who came to visit his stores.
* Richard Dicker, 79, a former chief executive of Penn Central Corp., died Saturday at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan after a brief illness. The Scarsdale, N.Y., resident graduated from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University Law School, and started his career with the Reconstruction Finance Corp. in Washington. He joined the Equitable Life Assurance Society in 1953 and became a vice president and deputy general counsel. While there, he headed an institutional creditor group for the 1970's bankruptcy proceedings involving what had once been the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1978, when Penn Central emerged from bankruptcy after eight years of reorganization, he was elected board chairman and chief executive. As the chief officer, he negotiated a cash settlement in which the federal government paid $2.1 billion for railroad properties transferred to Conrail in 1976. Penn Central now is a holding company dealing in property and casualty insurance, based in Cincinnati. He retired as the company's chief officer in 1982 but remained a director until 1991.
* Arthur Cort Holden,Arthur Cort Holden, 103, an architect who also wrote extensively about housing and urban design, died Saturday at his home in Washington, Conn. He was born in New York City and held degrees from Princeton University and Columbia University. After Army service during World War I, he joined the firm of McKim, Mead & White before founding his own architecture firm, Holden, McLaughlin & Associates, in 1920. During the Depression years he worked on committees for the National Recovery Administration and the Work Progress Administration. He was the author of "Primer of Housing" (1927) and "Money in Motion" (1940) and also wrote and illustrated "Sonnets for My City" (1965).