David E. Henderson, 62, an executive with Outlet Communications Inc. for 18 years who began his career as an announcer and director at WBAL-TV in Baltimore, died yesterday after suffering a heart attack at his East Greenwich, R.I., home. He has been chairman, president and chief executive officer at Outlet Communications since 1989, when he replaced the retiring Bruce G. Sundlun, now Rhode Island's governor-elect. Outlet is the parent company of WJAR-TV in Providence and WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio. Mr. Henderson spent 42 years in the broadcasting industry, much of it with Group W Productions, a subsidiary of Westinghouse Broadcasting Co. While at Group W, he held executive sales and managerial positions at WBX-TV in Boston, KYW-TV in Philadelphia and WJX-TV in Baltimore. He produced the "Mike Douglas Show" and David Frost programs while at Group W.
William F. O'Hara, 82, who survived 88 days on an icecap in Greenland after a bomber crash during World War II, died Monday at Mercy Hospital in Scranton, Pa. He was the navigator and one of nine crewmen on a B-17 Flying Fortress that crashed Nov. 9, 1942, while searching for a missing aircraft. Two crew members and three rescuers died before the survivors were saved Feb. 5, 1943. Mr. O'Hara had both legs amputated below the knee as a result of the ordeal, which was the subject of Col. Bernt Balchen's book "War Below Zero." After military service, Mr. O'Hara was register of wills in Lackawanna County for 12 years and held a seat on the state Public Utility Commission for 11 years.
Henry Steeger III, 87, a publisher and a past president of the National Urban League, died of bone cancer Tuesday at his home in Manhattan. Mr. Steeger led the Urban League from 1960 to 1964; previously, he was senior vice president. In 1961, he warned the organization's convention in Dayton, Ohio, that a social explosion was probable unless something was done to give blacks equal rights and equal opportunities. He was a co-founder and president of Popular Publications Inc., which published popular detective and western story magazines like Argosy, Black Mask, Adventure, Dime Detective and Star Western. It also published the Spider, a comic that inspired Batman and Spiderman. Popular Publications
was acquired by another company in 1972 and went out of business in 1979.
Iri A. Daffin, 88, an industrialist who developed labor-saving machines for the farming and construction industries, died Tuesday at his home in Lititz, Pa. In the early 1940s, Mr. Daffin and associates turned farmer-inventor Edwin Nolt's idea for a hay baler into a moneymaking product. They bought control of New Holland Machine Co. and turned the baler into the cornerstone of what is now Ford New Holland Inc., a major manufacturer of agricultural implements. Mr. Daffin also developed a mobile feed mill and in his 70s founded a charter airplane company bearing his name.
Umberto Tirelli, 62, a costume-maker for movies such as "Amadeus" and "Once Upon a Time in America," died yesterday in Rome. Mr. Tirelli was born in Gualtieri in the Reggio Emilia region of Italy. He worked as an errand boy in a fabric shop in Milan before going into the costume business. His work on "Amadeus" won recognition when the film received the Oscar for best costumes. He also made costumes for the movie "The Name of the Rose" and operas, including Luchino Visconti's production of "Norma," with Maria Callas. Mr. Tirelli first worked for the Safa workshop, then founded his own shop in 1964.
James T. Henry, 80, a former Xenia, Ohio, City Commission president and Ohio's third black mayor, died Saturday. Mr. Henry was elected to the commission in 1952 and was named commission president in 1963. He became the state's third black mayor -- after Robert Henry of Springfield and Carl Stokes of Cleveland -- when Xenia commissioners elected him in 1969. Mr. Henry also was a retired chairman of the earth science department at Central State University, where he taught geology and geography.
Thomas M. Erwin, 97, a California assemblyman for 16 years who sponsored a statute creating the state's Department of Fish and Game after World War II, died Dec. 21 in Sacramento. Mr. Erwin, a Republican, represented Whittier, La Puente and West Covina, east of Los Angeles. Mr. Erwin's legislative accomplishments included establishing the veterinary medicine school at the University of California at Davis.