Roger Awsumb, 74, who starred as Casey Jones in a...

Deaths Elsewhere

July 17, 2002

Roger Awsumb,

74, who starred as Casey Jones in a series of children's shows on Twin Cities television from the 1950s into the early '70s, died Monday in Brainerd, Minn.

Mr. Awsumb had been in poor health and was recently diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus.

At his peak, Mr. Awsumb was doing three shows a day as train engineer Casey Jones, presenting jokes, skits, cartoons and guests such as police officers and zoo animals. His sidekick was Roundhouse Rodney, played by Lynn Dwyer, who died in 1976. The shows ran for 19 years.

Lunch with Casey went on the air in 1953. Later, he added Wake Up with Casey and Roundhouse and an afternoon show, Casey and Roundhouse at Grandma Lumpit's Boardinghouse.

Mr. Awsumb did more than 8,000 shows. In 1960, WTCN tried to drop Casey to make room for a network show. The station rehired him four days later after children and parents sent in 10,000 protest letters.

The station pulled the plug on Casey for good 12 years later.

Mr. Awsumb went back on television in 1982 with Breakfast with Casey, but the revival lasted only about a year and a half.

Mr. Awsumb was inducted into the Minnesota Museum of Broadcasting Hall of Fame last year.

Cortney Naisbitt,

44, one of two victims to survive the 1974 Hi-Fi Shop robbery in Ogden, Utah, in which three people - including his mother - were killed, died June 4 in Seattle of a undisclosed illness.

Mr. Naisbitt had been plagued by disabilities that stemmed from being tortured, shot in the head and left for dead.

On April 22, 1974, the 16- year-old high school student had just completed his first solo flight as a pilot and was heading home.

He stopped by the Hi-Fi Shop, where Pierre Dale Selby and William Andrews, airmen from Hill Air Force Base, were robbing the store.

Selby and Andrews took the young Naisbitt, Stanley Walker, 20, and Michelle Ansley hostage. Later, when Naisbitt's mother, Carol Naisbitt, and Walker's father, Orren Walker, came to look for their sons, they too were held at gunpoint in the store basement.

The robbers forced the five to drink drain opener. Selby raped 18-year-old Ansley and later shot each hostage in the head.

Orren Walker and Cortney Naisbitt survived. Naisbitt was badly brain damaged and never remembered the events of that day.

Walker was the key witness in the trial. Selby was executed by lethal injection in 1987. Andrews was executed in 1992.

Tim McLaurin,

48, a snake-handling ex-Marine who joined the Peace Corps before becoming a novelist, died July 11 of cancer in Hillsborough, N.C.

Mr. McLaurin wrote seven books that earned him a devoted following, including the novel Woodrow's Trumpet and the memoir Keeper of the Moon. His novel Cured by Fire won the 1995 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for fiction.

Raised on a farm outside Fayetteville, N.C., Mr. McLaurin spent a couple of years in the Marines, then studied at different schools, eventually earning a journalism degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. This was after two years in the Peace Corps in Tunisia and a stint making money as a carnival snake handler. He struggled with alcoholism for much of his adult life and battled cancer several times.

Dorle Jarmel Soria,

101, a writer and co-founder of the music label Angel Records, died July 7 in New York.

Mrs. Soria and her husband, Dario Soria, together founded Angel Records, which distributed some of the labels of EMI, a British company. The label released some 500 recordings, including the work of singer Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, pianist Walter Gieseking and conductor Herbert von Karajan.

The company was eventually sold by EMI, and the Sorias went on to help found Gian Carlo Menotti's Festival of Two Worlds in Italy. Before founding Angel, Mrs. Soria had a career in journalism and worked for Arthur Judson, who was a concert manager for the New York Philharmonic.

She wrote regularly for several music magazines, and had a weekly column for the Carnegie Hall program in the 1960s. She also published a book about the history of the Metropolitan Opera.

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