Deaths Elsewhere

James T. Whitehead, 67, whose only published novel, Joiner, a coming-of-age story about segregationist Mississippi, received critical acclaim, died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm Friday in Fayetteville, Ark.

In 1971, Mr. Whitehead, a poet and teacher, published the story of Sonny Joiner, an oversize former football player and man of excesses, intellectual and otherwise, passionate about history, theological discourse, painting, politics, quarreling, literature and sports. So was his creator.


Mr. Whitehead was born in St. Louis and grew up in Jackson, Miss. He stood 6 feet 5 inches by the time he went to Vanderbilt University on a football scholarship. There he met William Harrison, a budding writer who became his lifelong friend and associate.

Mr. Harrison remembered that as a student his friend had a keen intellect, a firm sense of justice on the race issue that was roiling the South at the time and a fully formed ferocity on a broad range of thought from the painting of Vermeer to the theology of St. Augustine.


Mr. Whitehead's hope of a professional football career was dashed by an injury in college. He left Vanderbilt with a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a master's in English. He graduated from the creative writing program at the University of Iowa, then joined Mr. Harrison to found a similar program at the University of Arkansas. They were shortly joined by their friend Miller Williams, the poet. The master of fine arts program that they established became one of the nation's most acclaimed.

Mr. Whitehead also produced four books of poetry, Domains, Local Men, Actual Size and Near at Hand, and was known as a skilled sonneteer.

Matt S. Meier, 86, who wrote more than a dozen books on Mexican-Americans and other Hispanics in the United States, died Aug. 11 in Santa Clara, Calif., of complications from leukemia.

Dr. Meier was professor emeritus of history at the University of Santa Clara. His best-known works include The Chicanos: A History of Mexican Americans, written with Feliciano Rivera, Mexican American Biographies: A Historical Dictionary and Bibliography of Mexican American History.

A native of Covington, Ky., Dr. Meier served in the Army during World War II before earning a bachelor's degree at the University of Miami. He later earned a master's at Mexico City College and a doctorate at University of California at Berkeley. He joined the University of Santa Clara in 1963.

James F. Romano, 56, a longtime curator at the Brooklyn Museum of Art who recently finished the reinstallation of the museum's famed Egyptian collection, died Monday in Lynbrook, N.Y., when the car he was driving veered off a road and hit a metal fence.

A scholar in the field of Egyptology, Dr. Romano joined the museum's department of Egyptian, classical and Middle Eastern art in 1976 and was appointed curator in 1988. Earlier this year, he completed the second and final stage of the reinstallation, an ambitious undertaking that was more than a decade in the planning.

One of his most recent publications was "In the Fullness of Time: Masterpieces of Egyptian Art from American Collections" (2002), a catalog accompanying a show at the Hallie Ford Museum of Willamette University in Salem, Ore. He was also the author or co-author of articles in scholarly journals.