Deaths Elsewhere

December 27, 2003

Dennis A. Powers,

65, a former director of Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station, died Dec. 8 after a long illness in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

Dr. Powers headed the Pacific Grove, Calif.-based facility from 1988 to 2000 and was the Harold A. Miller Professor of Biological Sciences at Stanford.

"Dennis Powers was a creative force who was instrumental in catalyzing the development of the fields of integrative biology and adaptational biochemistry," Stanford biological sciences Professor George N. Somero, director of Hopkins Marine Station since 2000, said in a statement released by Hopkins.

Dr. Powers, who was born in Dearborn, Mich., served in the Marine Corps before earning his bachelor's degree from Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kan., in 1963. He completed his doctorate at the University of Kansas in 1970. He conducted postdoctoral research at State University of New York-Stony Brook and at the Marine Biology Laboratory at Woods Hole, Mass., from 1970 to 1972.

Before joining the Hopkins Marine Station, Dr. Powers was a member of the Johns Hopkins University faculty from 1972 to 1988, where he served as chairman of the biology department, director of the McCollum-Pratt Institute for Biochemistry and acting director of the Chesapeake Bay Institute.

"During his tenure as director, Hopkins became one of the world's leading centers for the study of molecular marine biology," Dr. Somero said.

While at the Pacific Grove marine facility, Dr. Powers worked with colleagues at the neighboring Monterey Bay Aquarium and helped launch the Tuna Research and Conservation Center - the only facility in North America where tuna can be studied in captivity.

Dr. Powers also served on the editorial boards of two journals - Physiological and Biochemical Zoology and Biological Oceanography - and was founding editor of the journal Marine Molecular Biology and Biotechnology.

Robert Ross,

85, a former advertising executive who helped create the concept for the Pillsbury Doughboy, died Thursday in Hendersonville, N.C.

Mr. Ross, who worked for the Leo Burnett Company in Chicago, was one of the people who worked on the idea for Poppin' Fresh, the character featured in Pillsbury advertisements.

He also worked at D'Arcy McManus Masius, becoming senior vice president and creative director for the company's Chicago offices in 1969. He retired in 1971. Burnett and D'Arcy later became conglomerates.

Mr. Ross also wrote mystery novels, including The Medici Guns, The Medici Emerald and The French Finish, which in 1978 won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for the best first mystery by a new writer.

In 1980, he moved to Hendersonville where he wrote a weekly column for the area's daily newspaper, The Times-News.

Henry Cuesta,

71, a highly regarded clarinetist best known as a featured musician with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra, died of cancer Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles.

Mr. Cuesta performed with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra on television and in concerts from 1972 to 1982, when Mr. Welk's weekly program ended after 27 years on ABC-TV and in syndication. Mr. Welk died at 89 in 1992.

Mr. Cuesta later appeared on five tribute specials on PBS that used archival segments of the original shows, including "A Champagne Toast to the Big Bands." He also served as host of two of the weekly Welk show rebroadcasts on PBS, which feature new 10- to 12-minute segments wrapped around the old programs.

In recent years, Mr. Cuesta was one of the most popular of the featured performers at the Welk Resorts in Branson, Mo., and San Diego, and for the past few years he toured with "The Live Lawrence Welk Show."

Mr. Cuesta originally joined Mr. Welk's orchestra on a tip from big-band trumpeter Bobby Hackett that the bandleader was in the market for a new clarinetist.

Mr. Cuesta was playing in Toronto when Mr. Welk called and invited him to appear with his band in Lake Tahoe, on the California-Nevada border.

"I thought I was set," Mr. Cuesta said in a 1992 interview, "but after the performance, he asked the audience, `How do you like this man?' They applauded, and he turned to me and said, `OK, Henry, get yourself a haircut and you have yourself a job."

Mr. Welk was a demanding bandleader, Mr. Cuesta said in another interview.

"He expected a lot of his musicians, and the clarinet chair was a hot seat because Welk loved the instrument and featured it a lot," Mr. Cuesta said.

Over the years, Mr. Cuesta appeared as a soloist with Mel Torme, Bobby Vinton and Bob Crosby. He also performed and conducted in jazz festivals and pop symphony concerts, conducted the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra on tour and played at President Bill Clinton's inaugural balls.

Dr. August "Gus" Swanson,

78, a former chief of neurology and acting dean of University of Washington medical school, died Dec. 19 in Seattle of a cerebral hemorrhage.

Dr. Swanson left the university to spend two decades as director of academic affairs of the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington, D.C.

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