Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

September 20, 2002

James Gregory, 90, a character actor who played Inspector Luger for eight seasons on the TV show Barney Miller in the 1970s and 1980s, died Monday in Sedona, Ariz.

Mr. Gregory appeared in 25 Broadway shows, including a stint as Biff in Death of a Salesman.

Among his 30 film credits were the Elvis Presley movie Clambake in 1967 and the 1965 western Sons of Katie Elder with John Wayne and Dean Martin. In 1962, Mr. Gregory played Sen. John Iselin in the acclaimed film The Manchurian Candidate.

Sidney Epstein, 81, who began an almost five-decade journalism career as a copy boy at one Washington paper and rose to editor of The Washington Star, died of pneumonia Sunday at the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington.

Mr. Epstein supervised coverage of many major stories, including the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

He broke into journalism as a copy boy at the old Washington Herald in 1937 after studying at George Washington University. After serving as a Marine Corps artillery officer in the Pacific during World War II, he returned to the paper, then called the Washington Times-Herald, and was its city editor in 1954 when it was sold to The Washington Post.

He joined the Star as an assistant city editor, steadily rising through positions including managing editor and executive editor before becoming associate publisher, editor and a member of the paper's board of directors before it ceased publication in 1981.

Donald L. Campbell, 98, the last of the four engineers who, as World War II began, invented a cheaper and more efficient process to "crack" large hydrocarbons into smaller molecules useful for things like fuel and plastics, died Saturday at a nursing home in Brick, N.J.

The engineers were working for the research unit of what is now ExxonMobil when they perfected the process. In it, a catalyst moving through raw petroleum is used to ensure a steady and continuous breaking of the large hydrocarbon molecules into smaller ones. The result is a greater share of premium products, including aviation fuel, gasoline and heating oil.

In the three years after the successful testing of the new system in 1942 -- a time when America needed fuel for the war effort -- the process allowed a 6,000 percent increase in the nation's output of aviation fuel. It also led to a big increase in the production of synthetic rubber from petroleum at a time when supplies of natural rubber in Southeast Asia were threatened.

The process is now used in refineries around the world, producing almost 500 million gallons of gasoline daily. The huge rise in postwar driving was fueled by the process, called fluid cat cracking by the oil industry, short for fluid catalytic cracking.

Mr. Campbell worked for Exxon for 41 years and won 30 patents. He and the others who developed the cracking process -- the late Homer Z. Martin, Eger V. Murphree and Charles W. Tyson -- became legendary among engineers as the "four horsemen."

Elizabeth Coblentz, 66, who wrote a syndicated column called The Amish Cook by the light of a kerosene lantern, died Tuesday after collapsing in her hotel room in Blue Springs, Mo.

The Independence Examiner reported that she is believed to have suffered an aortic aneurysm. She was in Blue Springs for a book signing that was to be sponsored by the newspaper.

Her weekly column offered a window into the Amish world for readers of about 100 papers across the country. She began writing the column in 1991, often rising before dawn at her farm in northern Indiana to write by hand, by the light of a kerosene lantern. She wrote about the trips she took by horse-drawn buggy, the clothes she sewed, the corn she canned. And, of course, she shared cooking tips and recipes.

Her home had no electricity, no plumbing and no phone.

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