Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

August 25, 2004

Frank Sanache, 86, the last of the "code talkers" from the Meskwaki Indian tribe, died Saturday in Tama, Iowa.

Mr. Sanache was among the "Elite Eight," a group of Meskwakis trained to use their language as a secret code during World War II. The Meskwaki were among 18 tribes that contributed code talkers during the war. Their achievements went largely unnoticed because the code was classified until 1968.

Twenty-nine original Navajo code talkers were presented with the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bush in 2001. The Meskwakis never received that recognition, although Sens. Charles E. Grassley and Tom Harkin of Iowa pushed for it.

Senator Harkin awarded Mr. Sanache, the last surviving member, medals in 2002.

Maria Antonieta Pons, 82, a Cuban-born actress who helped define the 1940s tropical dancer movie genre known as "rumbera" films, died Friday in a Mexico City hospital.

She was one of a half-dozen stars whose extravagant costumes and dance numbers earned them the nickname "Tropical Queens" and created a style that lasted into the 1950s.

The genre was pegged on heartbreak stories about seductive, fallen women, punctuated by wild musical and dance scenes in the nightclubs they haunted.

She made about 30 films, including Noche de Ronda (1942) and Mujer del Puerto(1949). She outlived two husbands.

Ota Sik, 84, a survivor of Nazi concentration camps who became the architect of economic liberalization during Czechoslovakia's ill-fated 1968 "Prague Spring," died Sunday at a hospital in St. Gallen, Switzerland. He taught economics at the University of St. Gallen after Soviet troops ousted the reformist Czech government in 1968.

Czechoslovakia's communist government adopted Mr. Sik's economic ideas in 1965 to kick-start stagnant industrial growth. His "new economic model" called for limited reforms of the Soviet system, including less central planning and a freer market economy - promoted as a "third way" between communism and capitalism.

Head of the economics institute at the Academy of Science, Mr. Sik was appointed vice premier and economics minister in April 1968 as part of Premier Alexander Dubcek's reform campaign to create "socialism with a human face."

Warsaw Pact troops invaded Aug. 20, 1968, to crush the effort, but Mr. Sik was on vacation in Yugoslavia and escaped the crackdown. That October he moved to Switzerland, where his family joined him several years later.

Tom Pawel, 78, a San Antonio-based oilman who donated a large piece of land to the city's health-care industry, died of a brain hemorrhage Saturday.

The German native provided 1,500 acres on the city's fringe in 1986 for what became the Texas Research Park, home to more than a dozen bioscience companies and a research campus of the University of Texas Health Sciences Center.

He founded and was president of Concord Oil Co., and was majority owner of Mission Oil Co. and Land Resources Inc., a real estate firm.

Mr. Pawel also acted as Germany's honorary consul in San Antonio for more than a decade, and remained a competitive swimmer and distance runner until recently.

Born in Leipzig, Germany, he emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1937. He served in the Army during World War II and earned degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Business School.

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