Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

April 16, 2003

Michael Damas, 90, an Arab-American who grew up in a neighborhood called "Little Syria" and later became mayor of Toledo, Ohio, died there Sunday of congestive heart failure.

Born to parents who fled their village in Lebanon to avoid service in the military, Mr. Damas was involved in politics for about 50 years. He was a state legislator, city councilman, and school board member. A Democrat, he served three terms in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1948-1952. He was mayor from 1959 to 1961.

Lloyd L. Brown, 89, a novelist and journalist who helped write Paul Robeson's autobiography, Here I Stand, died April 1 at his home in New York City.

Mr. Brown had worked with Robeson, an actor and civil rights advocate, since 1950, helping him write a column for a Harlem newspaper Mr. Robeson founded. He then assisted Mr. Robeson with his autobiography, which was published in 1958.

Mr. Brown worked as a freelance journalist in Europe before serving in World War II with the Army Air Forces. He went on to become managing editor of New Masses, a leftist literary journal that published works by well-known authors such as Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes and Richard Wright.

In 1951, Mr. Brown drew on his experience as a trade union organizer in the Midwest to write a novel, Iron City. The book was reissued in 1994 by the Northeastern Library of Black Literature.

Glenn Savan, 49, an author whose novels included the 1987 best-seller White Palace, died Monday in Shrewbury, Mo.

White Palace was released as a movie in 1990 starring Susan Sarandon and James Spader, and Mr. Savan had a cameo in the movie. The novel and the movie were set in St. Louis, and the movie was filmed there.

Mr. Savan wrote another novel, Goldman's Anatomy, in 1993.

He had health problems dating to childhood, when he was incorrectly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. He later learned that he did not have that condition but a joint disease called ankylosing spondylitis.

Margaret Formby, 73, a longtime civic leader and impetus behind the creation of the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, died Thursday in Hereford, Texas, after apparently falling and hitting her head.

Mrs. Formby - the wife of broadcaster and former Associated Press board member Clint Formby - spent nearly two decades developing the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, which she established in 1975 in Hereford. It was moved in 1994 to Fort Worth for increased visibility.

Tom King, 39, a Hollywood columnist and senior staff writer for The Wall Street Journal, died Sunday while visiting friends on Long Island. An autopsy was being conducted to determine the cause of death.

Mr. King joined the newspaper in 1986 as a news assistant. He became a staff writer two years later, covering advertising agencies, and in 1991 began reporting on the entertainment business.

He wrote a biography of David Geffen, the co-founder of SKG DreamWorks. The book, titled The Operator: David Geffen Builds, Buys and Sells the New Hollywood, was published in 2000 by Random House.

Celes King III, 79, a civil rights activist who was the first California state chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, died Saturday in Los Angeles from various ailments, including gangrene and kidney failure.

From 1975 until 2002, he chaired the state CORE - loosely affiliated with the national group founded in 1942.

Mr. King's mother, Leontyne, was the city's first black library commissioner. His father, Celes King Jr., operated the famed Dunbar Hotel, where leading blacks such as Duke Ellington and Langston Hughes frequently stayed.

Mr. King served as an officer of the Tuskegee Airmen, an all-black unit of the Army Air Corps, during World War II. He later became a brigadier general in the California National Guard.

He was named to the Los Angeles Human Relations Commission in 1968, and later served as its president. He headed the Los Angeles Rumor Control and Information Center and the Los Angeles central branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People after the 1965 Watts riots, and was a key force in renaming a major south Los Angeles thoroughfare in honor of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

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