Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

March 31, 2003

George E. Hamilton Jr., 87, a Maryland native who helped lead Smithfield Foods' transformation from a local pork-packing company into a national force, died Tuesday at a nursing home in Smithfield, Va.

Mr. Hamilton was president of the company's original subsidiary, Smithfield Packing Co., from 1970 to 1994. Under his leadership and that of Chief Executive Officer Joseph W. Luter III, Smithfield Foods made its first big purchase, buying out Gwaltney of Smithfield - at the time, its principal mid-Atlantic competitor.

Twenty-four years ago, Smithfield Packing named its Hamilton's EZ-Karv line of premium smoked products after the veteran food distributor.

Mr. Hamilton was born in Leonardtown and began his career in 1935 at 18 as an unloading clerk and errand boy for Swift and Co. in Richmond. After working at Gwaltney as vice president of sales for eight years, he became president and chief operating officer of Smithfield Packing Co.

Stanley Hirsh, 76, publisher since 1998 of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, the city's most widely read Jewish newspaper, died there March 22 of brain cancer. The owner of the Cooper Building in Los Angeles, Mr. Hirsh held leadership roles in the Jewish Federation Council of Los Angeles and the United Jewish Fund.

With his family, he established the Hirsh Family Early Childhood Development Center in Tel Aviv to promote more constructive interaction between Israeli Jews and Arabs.

Sue Knussen, 53, an award-winning producer of music programs for British television and former education director for the Los Angeles Philharmonic, died in London on March 23 of a fungal blood infection. Her documentary The Art of Conducting: Great Conductors of the Past, was so popular that it was picked up for U.S. broadcast on PBS.

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