Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

January 21, 2004

John W. Hechinger Sr., whose family created a home-improvement store empire after World War II and who served as chairman of the first District of Columbia City Council, died of respiratory failure at his Washington home Sunday -- his 84th birthday.

Mr. Hechinger led the family business, Hechinger Co., from 1958 to 1996. During his tenure, the company grew to a multibillion-dollar enterprise with more than 100 stores in the East and the Midwest.

The company filed for bankruptcy in 1999, unable to compete with discount home industry giants like Home Depot and Lowe's.

Mr. Hechinger was a committed supporter of District of Columbia home rule. In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson replaced the three-man board of district commissioners with a new mayor-council style of government and appointed Mr. Hechinger chairman of the first council, a post he held for two years.

Noble Willingham, 72, who worked steadily as a supporting actor over the past 30 years and left his role as a saloon owner on the series Walker, Texas Ranger to run for Congress, died Saturday at his home in Palm Springs, Calif.

He played barkeep C.D. Parker on Walker, Texas Ranger from 1993 to 1999. His character was a former Texas Ranger who provided advice on cases to Ranger Cord Walker, played by series star Chuck Norris.

Mr. Willingham was the 2000 Republican nominee for a congressional seat in eastern Texas.

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