Raymond Oliver, one of the greatest French chefs of the century and author of 26 books on cooking, died at 81 in Paris yesterday after a long illness. Born at Langon in the celebrated Bordeaux food region, he was the son and grandson of cooks. His maternal grandmother gave him cooking lessons at an early age and he began his apprenticeship under his father at age 15. In 1948, he purchased one of the great Parisian restaurants, Le Grand Vefour, and turned it into an exclusive dining spot for celebrities, including writer-politician Andre Malraux, actor Jean Cocteau and writer Colette. He detested the light nouvelle cuisine popular in recent years. His specialty was perfecting the rich cuisine of his Bordeaux youth: foie gras, Sauterne, dove and caviar.
Sir David Stirling, founder of Britain's elite Special Air Service (SAS) and dubbed the "Phantom Major" by Hitler's troops in World War II, died in London Sunday. He was 74. Sir David served in the Scots Guards at the outbreak of the war before going to the Middle East with the newly formed Brigade of Guards commando unit. In Cairo, Egypt, the young major convinced his superiors of the need for "an army within an army" to make swift raids against the enemy. He persuaded senior officers to give him six officers and 60 non-commissioned officers and formed the Long-Range Desert Patrol Group to raid deep behind Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's lines in North Africa. He earned the "Phantom Major" tag from Rommel's Afrika Korps for the seeming ease with which he struck at airfields and ammunition dumps before disappearing into the desert. Decorated for bravery in 1942, he was captured in Tunisia in 1943. He escaped, was recaptured and spent the rest of the war in Germany's notorious Colditz Castle.
Frederick J. Cummings, an art historian, art dealer and former director of the Detroit Institute of Arts, died at age 57 Friday in Isleboro, Maine, in what a son said was a boating accident. He was best known for his 20 years at the Detroit Institute. He began there as curator of European art in 1964 and became the museum's executive director in 1967. He was appointed director in 1973. He organized a number of widely acclaimed exhibitions, including "Romantic Art in Britain, 1760-1860," "The Golden Age of Naples" and "French Painting 1774-1830: The Age of Revolution." Under his directorship, the museum's annual budget grew to $26 million from $2 million and its staff to 310 from 103. He established a fund for African art, a curatorship in Asian art and a Friends of Polish Art organization. After leaving the museum, he moved to New York and became a private dealer of 18th- and 19th-century drawings, particularly French. At the time of his death, he was preparing a "catalogue raisonne" on the late 18th- and early 19th-century French painter Anne-Louis Girodet-Trioson.
Kenan T. Erim, a noted archaeologist and professor of classics at New York University who for 30 years led excavations of the ancient Roman city of Aphrodisias in southwestern Turkey, died Friday of a heart attack while visiting the British Embassy in Ankara. He was 61. He lived in Princeton, N.J. Since 1961, the native of Turkey had supervised the digging in the all-marble city, which contains a bounty of late Greco-Roman art.
William Howard Beasley, the former chairman and chief executive of Lone Star Technologies Inc. who was known for making successes of troubled companies, died at 44 Thursday of lymphoma-related pneumonia at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. He was regarded as one of the nation's best young managers and was featured in several business magazines. He retired from Lone Star last year when his health began to fail. During the 1970s, he was Republican staff director of the Senate Banking Committee and was a special assistant to former Treasury secretaries John B. Connally, George P. Shultz and William E. Simon.
The Rt. Rev. Lyman Cunningham Ogilby, retired bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania, died Saturday in Spokane, Wash. He was 68 and suffered from a heart condition. From 1974 to 1987, Bishop Ogilby oversaw a diocese of 74,000 Episcopalians in 170 parishes and missions that included Philadelphia and Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties.
Maj. Gen. Franciszek Szlachcic, a former interior minister and member of the Communist Party Politburo in Poland, died at 70 in Warsaw Saturday. A cause of death was not given. A member of the Communist People's Army during the Nazi occupation, he joined the Soviet-backed Communists as they consolidated power in Poland after World War II. He joined the Communist Party when it was founded in 1948 and rose through the ranks, reaching the Politburo during the early 1970s. He was interior minister in 1971 and deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers until his retirement in 1976. In recent years, he served as president of the Polish Committee for Standardization, Measures and Quality Control.