Francis J. Kelly, 78, one of the founders of the Army's...


December 30, 1997

Francis J. Kelly, 78, one of the founders of the Army's Green Berets, died Friday in Denver of complications from Alzheimer's disease.

His wife, Elizabeth Baum Shwayder, said he was believed to be the most decorated combat colonel in the Vietnam War. John Wayne met with Mr. Kelly in Vietnam while preparing for the role of Col. Mike Kirby, a composite figure, in the 1968 movie "The Green Berets."

Sidney Harshman, 67, an internationally respected microbiologist, died Thursday in Nashville, Tenn., of complications from diabetes. His career as a professor of microbiology and immunology at Vanderbilt University began in 1959.

Elizabeth Keller, 79, a biochemist who made it easier to understand a basic principle of life because she had the insight to see a cloverleaf where others saw only an infinitesimally small strand of the genetic material called RNA, died Saturday at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. She lived in Ithaca, N.Y.

The cause was complications from acute leukemia, said a sister, Sandy Socolar.

Mrs. Keller's cloverleaf model, still used in textbooks, describes transfer RNA, which helps control how the genetic information in DNA is translated into the building of proteins.

George L. Wessel, 74, a lifelong political activist who led the largest labor union in Buffalo, N.Y., for 27 years, died Saturday. He had suffered from heart ailments in recent months and had been in a hospital for two weeks.

William D. Mundell, 84, the second person to be recognized as Vermont's poet laureate, died of a heart attack Wednesday in South Newfane, Vt., at the farmhouse where he was born.

He was the author of five volumes of poetry and was an accomplished artist and acclaimed photographer. The 125-member Poetry Society of Vermont unanimously elected him poet laureate in 1989, 26 years after the death of Robert Frost, Vermont's first poet laureate.

J. Martin "Marty" Emerson, 85, a former president of the American Federation of Musicians, died Wednesday after a heart attack. The resident of Vienna, Va., died in a Martinsville, W.Va., hospital.

He was president of the union from 1987 to 1991 after serving for 10 years as its secretary. He began his labor career in 1950 as secretary of a local musicians union in Washington. Earlier he played trombone on tour with several band leaders, including Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa and Paul Tremaine.

Bert Ferguson, 82, who co-founded a station that had the nation's first radio format for black listeners and gave blues legend B. B. King his nickname, died Thursday in Memphis, Tenn.

Kenneth S. Pitzer, 83, a renowned chemist and an early researcher of nuclear physics who later headed Rice and Stanford universities, died Friday of heart failure.

He died at a hospital in Berkeley, Calif., after an illness, said his son Russell Pitzer.

During World War II, Mr. Pitzer was technical director of the Maryland Research Laboratory. He was director of research for the Atomic Energy Commission from 1949 to 1951, according to a Rice University biography.

Ruth G. Weintraub, 92, a former dean at Hunter College who was the first woman to head the political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha, died Wednesday in New York.

Pub Date: 12/30/97

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