Allan BloomWrote a best-sellerAllan Bloom, whose 1987 best...


October 09, 1992

Allan Bloom

Wrote a best-seller

Allan Bloom, whose 1987 best seller "The Closing of the American Mind" attacked academic faddism on American college campuses and shaped the debate over political correctness in the classroom, has died at 62.

The University of Chicago professor of political philosophy died Wednesday of peptic ulcer bleeding complicated by liver failure.

His book, subtitled "How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today's Students," challenged universities to return to a more traditional curriculum based on the classics of Western literature.

Mr. Bloom dated the decline of American universities to the 1960s, when students began asking rude questions, called ancient verities mere opinions and placed Mick Jagger and his ilk above Plato and Aristotle as popular icons.

The book grew out of an article Mr. Bloom wrote for The National Review, the conservative magazine. It has sold more than 1 million copies in the United States.

"It's fun being No. 1 on the best-seller list," Mr. Bloom once said. "It's like being declared Cary Grant, or a rock star."

The National Endowment for the Humanities awarded Mr. Bloom the Charles Frankel Prize this year in recognition of his work, noting that his best seller "continues to shape public and academic discussion."

Mr. Bloom was a professor in the University of Chicago's interdisciplinary Committee on Social Thought. His critical translation of Plato's "Republic," published in 1968, has become a widely used work in college courses.

Born in Indianapolis in 1930, he held a Ph.D. in social thought from Chicago, where he also earned his bachelor's and master's degrees.

He also taught at Yale and Cornell universities and at the University of Toronto.

Survivors include his mother, stepfather and a sister.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete yesterday.

Russell B. Houghton, a retired electrical engineer and a businessman, died Sept. 30 at Franklin Square Hospital after a stroke. He was 84.

Graveside services for Mr. Houghton, who lived for 34 years on Leeanne Road in Essex, were held Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery.

He retired nearly 30 years ago as an electrical engineer for what is now the Martin Marietta Corp., but he continued to operate several mail-order sales businesses from his home and also worked as a tax preparer for H&R Block. He had also operated other businesses, including a shoe repair shop.

Born in Guthrie, Okla., he was a graduate of the University of Oklahoma.

He served in the Army during World War II as an officer in the Signal Corps. He made the landings on the Normandy beachhead and later served with units that sometimes slipped behind German lines.

He was a self-taught computer technician who, as a volunteer, taught courses on computers at Essex and Orems elementary schools.

His survivors include a sister, Marjorie H. Bates of Longview, Wash.; and a brother, Gordon Houghton of Fort Worth, Texas.

W. L. McKercher Jr.

Korean War veteran

William L. McKercher Jr., manager of the fuel oil department of Hein Brothers Inc., died Monday at North Arundel Hospital of a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Services for Mr. McKercher, who was 58 and lived in Glen Burnie, were to be conducted at 11 a.m. today at the Singleton Funeral Home, 1 Second Ave. S.W., Glen Burnie.

He worked for Hein Brothers for 31 years and had served in the Air Force during the Korean War.

Born in Severn, he was a graduate of Arundel High School.

He is survived by his wife of 33 years, the former Jenny L. Orbany; a son, William L. McKercher III of Glen Burnie; his mother, Elva McKercher of Crofton; two brothers, Ronald McKercher of Odenton and Gary McKercher of White Hall; a sister, Laura E. Chance of Crofton; and a grandson.

Mark Wartow

Band leader, salesman

Mark Wartow, a retired band leader and salesman of instruments and records, died Wednesday of leukemia at Baltimore County General Hospital.

Services for Mr. Wartow, who was 81 and lived on Old Court Road in Pikesville, were to be conducted at 10 a.m. today at Sol Levinson & Bros., 6010 Reisterstown Road.

A drummer for many years, he had his own band, Mark Wartow and His Music, which played at social events in the Baltimore area in the 1960s and 1970s.

Since coming to Baltimore in the late 1930s, Mr. Wartow had played in house bands at nightclubs and at the Famous Ballroom and had taught music.

Before then, he worked out of New York City, playing in bands throughout the country and aboard cruise ships, and working as a music copier.

He was a life member of the Musicians Association of Metropolitan Baltimore, a local of the American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.

A native of Worcester, Mass., he retired about 12 years ago as a salesman in Maryland and nearby areas for National Wholesale Music Inc., a distributor of musical instruments. He had also worked as a salesman for London Records and Columbia Records.

He was fond of playing golf and was a volunteer at Sinai Hospital after his retirement.

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