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Deaths Elsewhere


Dr. Jonathan Drummond-Webb,

45, a pediatric heart surgeon featured on national television for his transplants and other cardiac surgery on children, was found dead Sunday at his home in Little Rock, Ark.

Dr. Drummond-Webb committed suicide by taking an overdose of medication, according to Arkansas Children's Hospital, where he had been chief of pediatric and congenital cardiac surgery for the last three years.

Friends said the surgeon, who once described himself as "a bit of an extreme personality," suffered a sudden bout of depression. He had been diagnosed with a rare tissue cancer on his hip in 2001 but was successfully treated with surgery.

Dr. Drummond-Webb's accomplishments over 18 months in 2001 and early 2002 - 830 surgeries, with a 2 percent mortality rate - became the subject of a four-part ABC News documentary, "ICU: Arkansas Children's Hospital."

The doctor, who had no children, was extremely popular with those he saved and their families. He considered himself their advocate and protector as well as surgeon.

On Christmas Day, he telephoned Rick Marcus, 14, for whom he performed, in September, the first successful implant of a miniature heart pump, keeping the boy alive until the right donor heart became available. Dr. Drummond-Webb harvested the carefully selected heart in Houston last month and flew back with it to Little Rock for the operation.

When others doubted that the boy could return home for Christmas, Dr. Drummond-Webb worked to make sure he was able to leave the hospital two days before the holiday.

A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, Dr. Drummond-Webb was 8 years old on Dec. 3, 1967, when Dr. Christiaan Barnard made history by performing the world's first successful heart transplant in Cape Town.

Charles Biederman, 98, an early American Modernist artist whose later work attempted to capture the "structural processes" of nature, died Sunday in Red Wing, Minn.

Mr. Biederman found success in Chicago and New York, where his work was exhibited alongside such artists as Alexander Calder and Charles Shaw. He spent several months in Paris before returning to New York in 1937.

In 1941 he was back in Chicago, and a year later he and his wife, Mary, settled in Red Wing, where he had produced works for a medical clinic.

Along the way, Mr. Biederman turned away from painting in favor of three-dimensional work, which he thought better represented nature and the play of light. He continued working at his rural farmhouse studio until his eyesight began to fail in the mid-1990s, according to Neil Larsen, a family friend.

Metropolitan Anthony Gergiannakis, 69, spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox church in seven Western states, died Saturday in Sacramento, Calif., after battling a rare lymph node cancer, church officials said.

Metropolitan Anthony, who - like other church leaders - was called by his first name, was spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco. In that role, he presided over 70 Greek Orthodox parishes with 150,000 members in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii.

During the 25 years he led the Metropolis of San Francisco, he oversaw the construction of three monasteries and about two dozen parishes and missions, and renovations at existing churches.

He also established programs to evangelize abroad, sending teams of missionaries or money to Africa, Romania, Albania and states of the former Soviet Union.

He maintained a particular interest in youth programs and began a multimillion-dollar scholarship program to help seminarians and other students attend religious classes.

George Russell Barber, 90, one of the last surviving chaplains from the U.S. landing at Omaha Beach on D-Day during World War II, died Dec. 17 at a hospital in Whittier, Calif.

On June 6, 1944, Allied forces landed in Normandy, and Mr. Barber was one of four chaplains at Omaha Beach with the Army's 1st Infantry Division.

U.S. forces encountered the fiercest resistance of any Allied force on D-Day from German gun emplacements on the cliffs overlooking Omaha Beach. According to his son, Don Barber, Mr. Barber spent a bloody and chaotic day ministering to the wounded and dying. Then he dug a foxhole near the cliffs and bedded down for the night.

More than 1,500 soldiers had been killed. Mr. Barber spent much of next few days on European soil readying the dead for burial and helping to select the site for the U.S. cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach, his son said.

Mr. Barber continued with his combat ministry through much of the fiercest fighting in Europe, including the Battle of the Bulge and the collapse of the strategic bridge over the Rhine at Remagen, Germany.

Colleen "Koky" Dishon, 80, a former associate editor of the Chicago Tribune who was credited with redefining the role of features sections in newspapers, died Tuesday in South Bend, Ind., after a stroke.

Mrs. Dishon began her journalism career while in high school in Zanesville, Ohio. She covered the 1944 Republican convention in Chicago for the Zanesville News, then joined the Associated Press in Baltimore.

After World War II, she moved to the Dispatch in Columbus, Ohio, to edit church news, the women's page and the Sunday magazine. There she met reporter Bob Dishon, to whom she was married 54 years.

The Dishons left the Dispatch over its support of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's anti-communism campaign and moved to the Milwaukee Journal. When the Journal bought the Milwaukee Sentinel, Mrs. Dishon was assigned to reinvent the paper's features sections.

She moved to Chicago in 1966 to become women's editor of the Chicago Daily News and later became editor and president of a news and feature service she founded with her husband and Linda Witt.

She was hired by the Tribune in 1975 to retool its Tempo section into a general features section. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, she created new sections that are still in the paper, including Friday, WomanNews and KidNews.

Harry Ueno, 97, who took a stand against the corrupt operators of an internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II, died Dec. 14 of pneumonia in Mountain View, Calif.

While working in the mess hall at the Manzanar internment camp in California, he realized that camp operators were selling sugar intended for his fellow internees on the wartime black market. He confronted them and was arrested. Two young internees were fatally shot by guards in the uprising that ensued.

For more than three years, he was taken to jails around the West, spending a year in solitary confinement in Tule Lake, although he was never charged with a crime or given a hearing. After the war, he received $15 and a train ticket to San Jose. He began a new life there, raising strawberries and cherries.

Daniel Rudsten, 90, a professor, politician and playwright, died Dec. 12 in Beverly, Mass.

In 1939, his semiautobiographical play Quiet is the Night earned him a scholarship to the Group Theater School in New York. He went on to radio scriptwriting jobs, eventually landing in Hollywood where he sold stories to various studios. In 1941, he enlisted in the Marine Corps.

He served in the Massachusetts Legislature from 1948 to 1956. He then earned a master's degree in public administration at Harvard University and a doctorate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He taught at the former Boston State College for 20 years, retiring in 1978.

Faina Chiang, 88, the Russian-born wife of former Taiwanese President Chiang Ching-kuo, died Dec. 15 at Veterans' General Hospital in Taipei, where she was being treated for asthma.

She met her husband while he was in the Soviet Union in the 1930s. When she was 22, she joined her husband as he returned to China, which was ruled by his father, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and the Nationalist Party.

She fled to Taiwan when the Communists defeated the Nationalists in a civil war and took over the mainland. Her husband became president in 1978 and ended 38 years of martial law just months before he died in 1988. He also oversaw Taiwan's spectacular economic development in the 1980s.

E.E. "Bo" Edwards III, 61, a criminal defense lawyer who built a national reputation fighting government forfeiture laws, died Dec. 14 at a hospital in Nashville, Tenn.

Mr. Edwards, past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, believed the government abused its power by taking money and property from people on the mere suspicion that it was the product of criminal activity.

He testified before Congress on the issue and worked with Illinois Rep. Henry J. Hyde on the Civil Asset Reform Act of 2000. The law shifted the burden of proof to the government, making prosecutors show that they seized only items connected to criminal activity.

John LaWare, 76, a former banking executive and Federal Reserve governor, died Dec. 13 at a hospital in Brunswick, Ga.

He was appointed to the Federal Reserve board by President Reagan in 1988. He retired to Sea Island, Ga., after resigning in 1995. His banking career began in 1953 at Chemical Bank in New York. During 25 years there, he served as a senior lending officer before organizing the bank's holding company operations and marketing divisions.

He also was chairman, chief executive officer and a director of Shawmut Corp., a regional bank holding company, for eight years, and later was chairman of Shawmut National Corp., a bank holding company in Boston.

Joychan Roberson, 50, a Lancaster, Calif., woman who dedicated herself to helping others overcome morbid obesity after she lost 600 pounds, died of cancer Dec. 11.

She once weighed 900 pounds and had to be hospitalized because her lungs could no longer supply oxygen to her body. After being taken to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in a U-Haul truck, she was placed in an oversized bed. She told friends she realized she needed to lose weight after hearing doctors indicate there was little they could do to help her.

After 18 months, she weighed 720 pounds. She later joined a gym and began working with a professional trainer, dropping 200 pounds in a year through a regimen of walking, swimming and other exercises.

After slimming down, she and her trainer held workshops and seminars to help others struggling with morbid obesity. She started an organization, Life's Forgotten Angels, and appeared on Oprah Winfrey's talk show.

Dr. Alvin Howell, 96, a former Tufts University professor who led the first team to send an unmanned balloon around the world, died of heart failure Dec. 19 at his home in Arlington, Mass.

The 1957 around-the-world flight of the 400-foot balloon was a triumph, but Dr. Howell never got a chance to revel publicly in the achievement: It was a top-secret spy flight funded by the Air Force to gather intelligence on the former Soviet Union.

After the spy flights, he adapted his balloons to conduct a high-altitude spectrographic examination of the moon for NASA before the first moon landing, and to study the stars. After retiring from Tufts, Dr. Howell was a member of the board of directors of Doble Engineering Co. in Watertown, Mass., until his retirement earlier this year.

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