Nathan S. Ancell, 90, co-founder of the Ethan Allen...

Deaths Elsewhere

June 04, 1999

Nathan S. Ancell, 90, co-founder of the Ethan Allen furniture company and pioneer of the concept of selling furniture in room-style settings, died Monday at his home in New Rochelle, N.Y. Mr. Ancell and his brother-in-law, Theodore Baumritter, started their company in the 1930s in Beecher Falls, Vt., out of a bankrupt furniture factory. Its headquarters eventually moved to Danbury, Conn.

Vaclav Benda, 52, a Czech senator, mathematician, philosopher and former anti-communist dissident, died yesterday in Prague, Czech Republic, the news agency CTK reported. Mr. Benda, a member of the Civic Democratic Party and a signatory of the Charter 77 human rights movement, spent four years in communist jails.

Dr. L. Joseph Butterfield, 72, known as the father of neonatology, died Tuesday at his home in Denver. He was known worldwide for his ideas about the care of newborn babies. His medical career and affiliation with the Children's Hospital in Denver spanned five decades.

Sir Christopher Cockerell, 88, inventor of the Hovercraft, died Tuesday in London. The first prototype, which could move across land or water on a cushion of air, crossed the English Channel in June 1959. The first commercial service began in Britain in 1962 and across the English Channel in 1966.

Charles Pierce, 73, an actor and female impersonator famous for characterizations of Hollywood stars including Bette Davis, Mae West and Joan Crawford, died Monday of cancer in Los Angeles.

Crocker Snow Sr., 94, a pioneering aviator and director of the Massachusetts Aeronautic Commission, died Tuesday in Ipswich, Mass. He was a founder of Skyways Aviation, the first commercial flight operation at Logan International Airport in Boston. Amelia Earhart was one of his students.

Frank Spencer, 58, an anthropologist who accused an English anatomist of masterminding the 1912 Piltdown Man fraud, died Sunday in New York of cancer. He had worked since the 1970s to solve the mystery of who was behind the counterfeit of human fossils.

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