Victoria Buckley,51, Colorado's secretary of state, who...

Deaths Elsewhere

July 16, 1999

Victoria Buckley,51, Colorado's secretary of state, who rose from the welfare rolls to become the nation's highest-ranking black female Republican in a statewide office, died Wednesday in Denver of cardiac arrest.

She was a deputy in the secretary of state's elections division for 20 years before taking the top post in 1994, becoming the first black woman in Colorado to hold a statewide office. At the time, she was a single mother on welfare.

Her two terms were not without controversy. She won re-election in November after a bitter battle over complaints that her office was in disarray because of ballot disputes.

Paul Novak,76, Mae West's companion of 26 years and the acknowledged love of her life, died Wednesday in Santa Monica, Calif., while undergoing treatment for advanced prostate cancer.

Born Chester Ribonsky in Baltimore, Mr. Novak changed his name legally in New Orleans to Charles Krauser, thinking it was a good name for a professional wrestler, according to friends. As Charles Krauser, he served during World War II as a Navy gunner, saw duty in Korea and Vietnam with the merchant marine, and tried his hand as a wrestler, circus roustabout and Muscle Beach denizen.

He took the name Paul Novak after becoming one of the musclemen in the chorus line of West's fabled 1950s nightclub act that played Las Vegas and toured the country over five years. He soon fell in love with West, who was nearly 30 years his senior. She died in 1980 at age 87.

Aaron "Bunny" Lapin,85, who put whipped cream in a spray can a half-century ago and called it Reddi-wip, died Saturday in Los Angeles of heart failure. Last year Time magazine listed Reddi-wip as one of the century's 100 great inventions for consumers, with the pop-top can and Spam.

Sherley Ann Williams,54, an author who used her experience as a migrant farm worker to write a critically acclaimed novel about black slavery, died July 8 of cancer in San Diego. She had been working on a novel and a sequel to her 1986 historical novel, "Dessa Rose," a story about a privileged Charleston, S.C., bride and a young pregnant slave. Her first book of verse, "The Peacock Poems," was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award in 1975. Her second book of verse, "Some One Sweet Angel Chile," was another National Book Award nominee, and a television production based on the book won an Emmy Award.

Obituaries

Because of limited space and the large number of requests for obituaries, The Sun regrets that it cannot publish all the obituaries it receives. Because The Sun regards obituaries as news, we give preference to those submitted within 48 hours of a person's death. It is also our intention to run obituaries no later than seven days after death.

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