Julie Diaz Tyler, 32, office manager, volunteerJulie...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Julie Diaz Tyler, 32, office manager, volunteer

Julie Diaz Tyler, a former school office manager and a cancer-patient volunteer, died Thursday of cardiac arrest at St. Joseph's Hospital after a four-year battle with Hodgkin's disease. She was 32 and lived in Towson.

A Baltimore native, she was a 1987 graduate of Roland Park Country School and earned a degree in psychology at Dickinson College in 1991. She studied for a semester of her junior year at the University of York, England, where she met her husband, Philip Tyler, who survives her.

Mrs. Tyler had worked briefly for Gilman School and for several years at Odyssey School as an office manager and administrative assistant, which enabled her to combine her love of children with her organizational skills. She was employed as an office manager at KLNB Inc. until last year, when she retired because of her illness.

Mrs. Tyler was a Sunday school teacher at Divine Life Church on Falls Road, and she and her husband were volunteers at the Wellness Community in Towson, working with cancer patients and their families.

Services are being planned.

In addition to her husband of nine years, she is survived by her parents, Beverly and Jerry Diaz of Ruxton; and two sisters, Tiana Diaz and Melanie Diaz, both of Baltimore.

Her family suggests contributions to the Wellness Community, 901 Dulaney Valley Road, Towson 21204.

Rollie D. Gilliss Jr., 78, vice president for insurer

Rollie Downing Gilliss Jr., a retired vice president of the Fidelity & Deposit Co. of Maryland, died Tuesday of complications from pneumonia at Greater Baltimore Medical Center after a prolonged illness. He was 78 and lived at Blakehurst Life Care Community in Towson.

Born in Salisbury, he graduated from Wicomico High School at age 16, attended the Choate School in Connecticut for one year, then entered Princeton University as an economics major, participating in the Key and Seal Club and managing the baseball team.

During World War II, Mr. Gilliss was a corporal in an Army anti-aircraft artillery battalion, Battery B, 557th, from 1943 to December 1945, earning battle stars for service in northern France, the Ardennes, the Rhineland and central Europe.

He resumed his studies at Princeton, and after graduation joined Fidelity, where he spent his professional career until retiring in 1985 as a vice president of its fidelity department.

Mr. Gilliss was a member and served on several boards of Northwood Appold United Methodist Church and of Towson United Methodist Church, where he served on the child care board. He was a stamp collector and an avid baseball fan.

He was married in 1950 to Ethel M. Rankin, who survives him.

Services were held Friday at Towson United Methodist Church, with graveside services held yesterday in Salisbury.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Lynne Degen of Abingdon; two sons, Edward Gilliss and David Gilliss, both of Towson; and seven grandchildren.

The family suggested memorial contributions to the Methodist Board of Child Care, 3300 Gaither Road, Baltimore 21244.

Francis Grayson Ford Sr., 70, insurance agent

Francis Grayson Ford Sr., an independent insurance agent, died Tuesday of cancer at the Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. He was 70.

Mr. Ford worked as an insurance agent in the Towson and Timonium area for about 35 years. His wife, Charlotte A. Ford, said that he excelled as an insurance agent and that he had been told he was a born salesman.

Born in Myersville, Mr. Ford left the area to join the Air Force in 1951. He served as a morning report clerk and in other capacities during the Korean War.

He and his wife were married in March 1957.

Before becoming a father, Mr. Ford attended night school at the University of Baltimore for two years.

A Mason, Mr. Ford was a member of Ionic Lodge 145. He also was a Shriner.

Mr. Ford enjoyed traveling, and sometimes took his family on spur-of-the-moment camping trips to such places as Atlantic City and California, Mrs. Ford said.

Services were held Friday at Ruck-Towson Funeral Home. He was buried at Druid Ridge Cemetery Park in Pikesville.

Mr. Ford is also survived by a son, Glenn B. Ford of White Marsh; his mother, Naomi E. Ford of Baltimore; two sisters, Margaret J. Gentle of Hyattsville and Cheryl L. Favazza of Sparks; a brother, Farrell J. Ford of Helena, Mont.; two grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

A son, Francis Ford Jr., died in June 2000.

Elsewhere

Harold Russell, 88, who received two Academy Awards for his sensitive portrayal of a wounded veteran in The Best Years of Our Lives after losing his hands during World War II, died of a heart attack Tuesday at a nursing home in Needham, Mass.

Mr. Russell joined the U.S. Army on Dec. 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, as an instructor in the parachute corps. He was working as an explosives expert in 1944 when a defective fuse exploded a charge of TNT he was holding while he instructed a demolition squad at Camp Mackall, N.C. Both his hands were amputated.

Mr. Russell, who had hooks to replace his hands, was featured in an Army documentary, Diary of a Sergeant, about the rehabilitation of an amputee. Although Mr. Russell didn't say a word during the film, producer Sam Goldwyn saw it and wanted him to play Homer Parrish in The Best Years of Our Lives. The film depicts veterans coping during the aftermath of World War II and with their return to changed families and community.

Ira Waldbaum, 74, who dropped out of college to help run his family's six small grocery stores in Brooklyn and built what was at one time the nation's 12th-largest supermarket chain, died Wednesday at a hospital in Boca Raton, Fla.

Mr. Waldbaum was known for shrewd management and strong balance sheets. He tried to give customers cleanliness, variety and inexpensive merchandise - the same things his parents offered in the butter-and-egg store on DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn where Waldbaum's began.

When Waldbaum's was sold to the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Co. in 1986, Waldbaum's employed 7,500 people and had sales of $2 billion at its 140 stores in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Francis S. Gabreski, 83, the leading American air ace in Europe during World War II who later headed the troubled Long Island Rail Road, died Thursday at Huntington Hospital on Long Island. The cause was a heart attack, his family said.

Flying single-engine P-47 Thunderbolt fighters, Mr. Gabreski downed 28 Messerschmitts and Focke-Wulfs over France and Germany between Aug. 24, 1943, and July 5, 1944, and destroyed three more German aircraft on the ground. He was captured in July 1944 after crash-landing near Koblenz, Germany, on what was to have been his last mission, and he spent 10 months as a prisoner of war.

Almost three decades later, Mr. Gabreski faced a challenge he could not surmount when he tried to run the Long Island Rail Road, the nation's busiest commuter line. He became its president in August 1978, but he resigned under pressure in February 1981.

Hildegard Knef, 76, the actress whose career emerged from the dark realism of German filmmaking that followed Hitler's defeat and then grew to encompass Broadway appearances, recordings and a best-selling memoir, died Friday in Berlin.

Miss Knef, whose name was often anglicized as Neff in cast lists for films and plays, died of a lung infection. She had suffered from emphysema and, earlier, from breast cancer.

In her heyday, Miss Knef often was described by entertainment columnists as the "willowy blonde" with the "dusky voice." She made at least 30 films in the United States and Europe, but had a singular triumph in New York in 1954 as Don Ameche's co-star in the Cole Porter hit Silk Stockings.

Inge Morath, 78, a photographer whose artistry elevated portraits of the famous, died Wednesday of lymphomic cancer at a New York hospital. She was one of the first women admitted to the international photo agency Magnum.

Best known as a portraitist whose works hang in the permanent collections of many museums, Miss Morath photographed notables as diverse as Jean Cocteau, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Eleanor Roosevelt and Marilyn Monroe.

Robert D. West, 82, who was among 32 men rescued from the bottom of the capsized battleship USS Oklahoma in Pearl Harbor at the start of the U.S. involvement in World War II and who was aboard the battleship USS Massachusetts in Tokyo Bay when the peace treaty with Japan was signed, has died.

Mr. West, who for many years owned West Interiors, a carpet and drapery business in West Covina, Calif., east of Los Angeles, died Jan. 14 at his home in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. He suffered from emphysema and died of probable lung cancer, his family said.

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