Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

October 19, 2002

Grace Hamblin, 94, the trusted private secretary to Winston Churchill and his wife, Clementine, died Tuesday at her home in Westerham, southern England.

Nicknamed "Hambone" by the Churchill children, Miss Hamblin began working for Mr. Churchill and his wife part time at Chartwell Manor in 1932.

She later became a full-time employee whose tasks included typing manuscripts for Mr. Churchill.

When Churchill became prime minister in 1940, Miss Hamblin moved to London and took on the additional role of secretary to his wife, accompanying her on several trips abroad, including North Africa.

After the war, Miss Hamblin returned to Chartwell, which she continued to manage when Mr. Churchill regained power in 1951.

When he left office again in 1955, Miss Hamblin was made an Officer of the Order of British Empire.

Zara Nelsova, 84, a prominent cellist, died Oct. 10. She studied Ernest Bloch's cello works with him in 1949, and he dedicated two of his three suites for unaccompanied cello to her.

She performed as a soloist with conductors such as Leonard Bernstein, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, William Steinberg, Seiji Ozawa and Zubin Mehta.

Allen Walker Read, 96, an English language expert and a longtime professor at Columbia University, died Wednesday at age 96.

Dr. Read prospected through the English language, dispelling myths and solving such linguistic mysteries as the origins of the ubiquitous initials "O.K."

Dr. Read determined that they were first published in The Boston Morning Post on March 23, 1839: "o.k. -- all correct." The term appeared at a time when people used initials for misspelled words, such as "oll korrect."

His other linguistic pursuits included the study of the names that people from Connecticut have called themselves. The list contained such words as Connecticotians, Connecticutensians and Connecticuties, which was used for pretty girls.

He also traced the word Dixie to a minstrel show in New York City in 1850.

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