* Roy E. LaGrone, 72, a retired art director and...


December 16, 1993

* Roy E. LaGrone, 72, a retired art director and illustrator who flew with the Tuskegee airmen in World War II, died of a heart attack Dec. 8 at his home in Somerset, N.J. He discovered his love for flying as a teen-ager when he paid 50 cents to have a barnstorming stunt pilot take him up in a Ford Trimotor airplane in Pine Bluff, Ark., where he was born. "As soon as I got up there, I knew absolutely that this was what I wanted to do," he recalled. In the war, he was a member of the 332nd Fighter Group, one of four all-black fighter and bomber squadrons that fought in Europe. In the segregated armed forces, they were known as the Tuskegee airmen because they trained at Tuskegee Army Air Corps Field in Alabama. He became an Air Force artist who recorded flying missions on canvas. He retired in 1991 as the art director of the Rutgers University Medical School, in Livingston, N.J.

* Steve Nelson, 90, the defendant in a case that led to a Supreme Court ruling in 1956 that invalidated state sedition laws, died Dec. 11 at Presbyterian Hospital in New York City of complications after aorta surgery. He lived in Truro, Mass. He was a member of the Communist Party at the time of the ruling and quit the Communist Party in 1957 while he was a member of the U.S. Communist Party's national committee and after Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet leader, denounced the horrors under Stalin's rule. He served on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War in 1937 and in later years became prominent in activities of American veterans of the war. In 1956, the Supreme Court ruled that he had been wrongfully convicted under a Pennsylvania subversion law. The court held that the federal legislation, the Smith Act of 1940, which made it a crime to advocate the overthrow of the government by violence, had invalidated all similar state laws. The ruling in the case of Pennsylvania vs. Nelson was important because until then there had been a substantial number of state prosecutions of Communists and other radicals under state laws.

* Adm. Joseph Fowler, 99, a retired rear admiral who built the largest aircraft carriers of World War II and two Walt Disney theme parks, died Dec. 3 in Orlando, Fla. After overseeing the construction of 29 warships, he headed the 1954 construction of Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. He later oversaw the building of Walt Disney World in Orlando. President Truman appointed him civilian director of the Federal Supply Management Agency in 1952.

* Paul R. Jervay Sr., 87, who ran the crusading black newspaper The Carolinian for more than 50 years, died Dec. 11 in Raleigh, N.C. He worked for several newspapers, including The Cape Fear Journal of Wilmington, N.C., The Norfolk Journal and Guide in Virginia and The Chicago Defender, before moving to Raleigh. He worked for The Carolina Tribune before taking it over in 1940 and renaming it The Carolinian. He relinquished control of the newspaper to his daughter, Prentice Monroe, last year.

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