Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

May 17, 2004

Robert Morgan, 85, commander of the Memphis Belle, a B-17 bomber that flew combat missions over Europe during World War II, died Saturday in Asheville, N.C., of complications from injuries he suffered in a fall.

A native of Asheville, Mr. Morgan became famous as the pilot of the Memphis Belle, which flew 25 combat missions over Germany and France during World War II. Mr. Morgan co-authored a book about his experiences, The Man Who Flew the Memphis Belle, with Ron Powers.

The crew completed its 25th bombing mission on May 17, 1943. The Belle was the first heavy bomber in the European theater to last 25 missions, the magic number that meant the crew would be sent home. Twenty-five doesnt sound like much until you start flying them, Mr. Morgan later said.

The exploits of the Belle were brought to later generations by a 1990 film, Memphis Belle, that told a heavily fictionalized version of the bombers 25th and final mission.

David Reimer, 38, a Canadian who was born a boy but raised as a girl after a botched circumcision, committed suicide May 4 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

He gained fame in 2000 when details of his ordeal were published in the book As Nature Made Him: The Boy Who Was Raised as a Girl, by John Colapinto. The boys experiences prompted medical experts in recent years to rethink once-accepted wisdom about treating sexual identity cases.

When he was 8 months old, a routine circumcision at a Winnipeg hospital went wrong when a general practitioner filled in for the regular surgeon and seared the boys penis with an electric auterizing machine. Dr. John Money, a sex researcher at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, advocated removing the rest of the male genitalia and prescribing female hormones.

At 15, Mr. Reimer rejected further treatment as a girl and underwent surgery. He eventually married and led a quiet life working at low-paying jobs in Winnipeg.

John Whitehead, 55, a prominent R&B artist best known for the 1979 hit song Ain't No Stoppin Us Now, was fatally shot Tuesday outside his home in Philadelphia while working with another man on a vehicle. Police said the other man might have been the target of the shooting.

Mr. Whitehead and Gene McFadden formed a group called the Epsilons in their youth and were discovered by Otis Redding, touring with the legendary performer in the 1960s, according to the groups Web site.

The duo wrote several hit songs performed by others in the 1970s, including Back Stabbers, For the Love of Money, I'll Always Love My Mamma, Bad Luck, Wake Up Everybody, Where Are All My Friends, The More I Want and "Cold, Cold World." "Ain't No Stoppin Us Now" went to No. 1 on the R&B chart and reached No. 13 on the pop chart. The song became an unofficial anthem for the Phillies as they charged to a World Series championship in 1980 and the Eagles as they reached the Super Bowl in 1981.

Walter Stockmayer, 90, a retired Dartmouth College professor who was a winner of the nations highest award for science, died May 9 in Norwich, Vt.

In 1987, he received the Medal of Science from President Ronald Reagan, who called him one of the the heroes of the modern age and noted his fundamental contributions to the physical chemistry of high polymers.

The Rhodes scholar received his doctorate in chemistry in 1940. During World War II, he contributed to classified war research projects while at Columbia University. He joined the faculty at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1952 and moved to Dartmouth in 1961. Despite his official retirement in 1979, he continued to teach and advise Dartmouth undergraduate and graduate students through 2002.

Tommy Farrell, 82, an actor and comedian, died May 9 in Woodlawn Hills, Calif.

He was the last living B-Western sidekick from that golden era of westerns, said Boyd Magers, editor and publisher of Western Clippings, referring to the films Mr. Farrell made with actor Whip Wilson in the early 1950s.

He got his break he was cast in the 1950 Western Gunfire. He appeared in a number of other films, including Gunfighters of the Northwest, Elvis Presleys Kissin' Cousins and A Guide for the Married Man, with Walter Matthau.

He played Cpl. Thad Carson on TVs The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin and had roles in TV Westerns such as Gunsmoke and Rawhide. He received a Golden Boot Award last year for his work in the genre.

LeRoy Myers, 84, a dancer who was one of the last of the opasetics veteran tap ensemble, died April 26 in Manhattan.

Born in North Philadelphia, Mr. Myers began his professional career as a child, singing with Kiddies' Hour, a black amateur radio program on WPEN.

He learned to tap on the streets and formed his first act, Pops and LeRoy, at the age of 15.

He continued to dance into the late 1980s but became drawn into management after the death of Bill Robinson, the famous Bojangles, in 1949. A tap club was formed, called the Copasetics after Mr. Robinsons favorite term of approval: Everything is copasetic. He served as its president for the first two years. When opportunities for tap performing began to dwindle by the end of the 1950s, he worked as a theater master of ceremonies, a bartender and a postal worker.

He also served as the road manager for the original Supremes and managed B.B. King until the late 1970s before acquiring the Wonder Gardens, a nightclub in Atlantic City, which he sold in 2001.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.