Rene Firino Martell, 68, who engineered the $850 million sale of his family's cognac company to Seagram Co. in 1988, died of a heart attack Tuesday in Nice, France. He lived in Cognac, the small southwestern town that his family has dominated for almost three centuries. He became chairman in 1977 and was an eighth-generation descendant of Jean Martell, the wine merchant from the Isle of Jersey who founded the cognac company in 1715. By 1987, Martell, the second-largest cognac brand after Hennesey, was a household name around the world.
Dr. Bernard Berman, 71, an allergy specialist and immunologist, died Friday of cancer in Brookline, Mass. He headed the pediatric allergy section at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center and was an associate professor of pediatrics at Tufts School of Medicine.
Vivienne Malone-Mayes, 63, who became the first black professor at Baylor University five years after being denied enrollment there as a graduate student, died in Waco, Texas, Friday of a heart attack. She was chairwoman of the mathematics department at Paul Quinn College for seven years and at Bishop College for one year before she applied to Baylor's graduate school in 1961.
Dr. Herman R. Branson, 80, who had been president of two universities and a professor of physics at a third, died Wednesday of heart ailments in Washington. He taught physics at Howard University from 1941 to 1968, when he was named president of Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. In 1971, he took over the presidency of Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, serving until 1985.