Joe Cruzan, 62, whose four-year battle to...


Joe Cruzan, 62, whose four-year battle to stop life support for his daughter, Nancy, sparked a national right-to-die debate, was found dead Saturday in Carterville, Mo., in an apparent suicide, police and family said. He was found hanged in his home by his wife, Joyce.

Nancy Cruzan suffered permanent brain damage in a 1983 accident, leaving her in a vegetative state. Doctors said she could have lived 30 or 40 years.

More than four years after the accident, Mr. Cruzan, a sheet-metal worker, and his wife went to court to get permission to remove their daughter's feeding tube, even as opponents sought to keep the lifeline connected.

The case led to a landmark Supreme Court decision in 1990 that patients such as Nancy could be allowed to die if there was "clear and convincing" evidence that was their wish. Courts concluded that the Cruzan family did have such evidence, and Nancy Cruzan was allowed to die in late 1990, at age 33.

E. Digby Baltzell, 80, a sociologist who was one of America's foremost authorities on the ruling elite, died at a Boston hospital Saturday of a heart attack. He was stricken at his summer home in Wellfleet, Mass.

He was thinking about saving space when he squeezed the abbreviation "WASP" into the tables of his 1964 book. In so doing, the University of Pennsylvania sociologist coined a term that became a permanent addition to the nation's lexicon.

Baltzell's ideas, including the belief that democracy is best served when its upper class adheres to the highest moral values, were considered both groundbreaking and conservative.

Himself a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant, he studied the history of leadership in the United States, focusing largely on WASP communities in Philadelphia and Boston.

Tsutakiyokomatsu Asaji, 102, Japan's oldest active geisha, died of kidney failure Sunday in Tokyo after more than 80 years entertaining Tokyo business and political elite, her family said. Famous for her mastery of a wide range of traditional singing and storytelling methods, she was considered one of the last authentic Tokyo geisha.

Miles Goodman, 47, a noted jazz record producer who also composed or orchestrated for films such as "La Bamba" and "Being There," died after suffering a heart attack Friday in Los Angeles.

James F. Fleming, 81, who helped start the "Today" show on NBC and produced many award-winning documentaries, died Aug. 10 in Princeton, N.J.

Joseph DiLauro, 88, a pianist who accompanied Cab Calloway, the Ink Spots and other performers, died Thursday in Akron, Ohio. During the Depression, he also conducted the Akron Civic Concert Orchestra.

Catherine S. East, 80, a retired federal worker who was instrumental in formation of the National Organization for Women, died Saturday of congestive heart failure in Ithaca, N.Y.

Pub Date: 8/20/96

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