Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

December 15, 2003

Geidar Aliev, 80, a former president of Azerbaijan, died Friday at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, where he was being treated for congestive heart failure.

The former KGB general and Communist Party chief brought stability to a nation beset by insurgency but was criticized for stifling dissent, censoring news media and enforcing a blockade on rival Armenia. He was widely popular in Azerbaijan, where he cultivated the image of a wise grandfather who was not to be crossed, and decorated the streets with his portraits and slogans.

He served as president from 1993 until October, when he was succeeded by his son in what many claimed was the first dynastic handover of power in a former Soviet country. From 1969 to 1982, he was the republic's Communist Party leader.

He became a member of the national party's Politburo in 1976 and a full member in 1982, reaching the pinnacle of Soviet power. Mikhail Gorbachev ousted him in 1987 on allegations of cronyism, nepotism and high living at party expense.

Fadwa Toukan, 86, praised as the "poet of Palestine" for her depictions of life under Israeli rule, died Friday. She also was an avid promoter of woman's rights and through her poetry, reflected the hardships faced by women in the male-dominated Arab world. She became a household name among Palestinians and a favorite of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Born in Nablus to a wealthy Palestinian family, she was forced to quit school by her eldest brother when a rumor spread that a young admirer gave her a flower. She was in the fifth grade. At the age of 45, she attended Oxford University in England, where she studied English language and literature.

Much of her early writings focused on Palestinian women's lack of educational and cultural opportunities. But after Israel's invasion of the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 Middle East war, her poetry shifted to focus on the day-to-day hardships of life under occupation.

Carl F.H. Henry, 90, a theologian who helped move evangelical Christianity from the sidelines to a central place in American religion, died Dec. 7 in Watertown, Wis.

In more than 40 books he wrote or edited, Dr. Henry laid out an intellectual defense both for a literal understanding of Scripture and for the imperative of spreading the faith. He was founding editor of Christianity Today , a journal started by the Rev. Billy Graham as a conservative counterpoint to the more liberal magazine Christian Century.

In addition to Christianity Today, which he edited from 1956 to 1968, he helped start several other institutional pillars of the evangelical movement: Fuller Theological Seminary, where he was the first acting dean, and the National Association of Evangelicals.

He came to prominence in 1947 with his book The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism. He argued that Christians needed to assert themselves, not withdraw, and to inspire others to turn to Christ not by coercion but by example.

Bill O'Donnell, 73, a Roman Catholic priest and activist who was arrested more than 200 times during a life of social protest, died Thursday in Berkeley, Calif., of a heart attack.

Father O'Donnell, who was known as "Wild Bill," gained a reputation for his fearless confrontations with police during anti-war, labor and civil rights protests. His friends included the late Cesar Chavez, founder of the United Farm Workers union, and actor Martin Sheen.

In 1973, he became pastor of St. Joseph the Worker, a Berkeley parish renowned for its social concern and activism. He gave up his duties there eight years ago. Two weeks before his death, he staged a sit-in at the San Francisco federal building to protest the war in Iraq.

Joseph A. Ferrario, 77, the first American Roman Catholic bishop accused of sexually abusing a minor, died Friday at a Honolulu hospital after experiencing chest pains.

His male accuser maintained anonymity at a 1989 news conference, then went public and filed a 1991 lawsuit that was dismissed as too late. The bishop always denied the charge and retired early in 1993 after quintuple heart bypass surgery.

A native of Pennsylvania, he was ordained in 1951 and came to Hawaii in 1957 to teach at St. Stephen Seminary in Kaneohe. He was named bishop of Honolulu in 1982. After his retirement, he helped raise scholarship funds for Catholic schoolchildren as vice president and chief executive of the Augustine Educational Foundation, which he had established.

David P. Weikart, 72, who did important studies of early childhood education that are widely noted as evidence that programs such as Head Start can have long-term benefits, died of leukemia Tuesday at a hospital in Saline, Mich.

A study by the foundation Mr. Weikart founded, High/Scope Educational Research Foundation in Ypsilanti, Mich., has played a large role in debates about Head Start and other early childhood programs for a generation. It concluded that the benefits of preschool can be measured in dollars as a child ages.

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