Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

September 15, 2004

James A. Westphal, 74, a California Institute of Technology scientist who helped devise geological and astronomical tools, including the Hubble Space Telescope's main camera, died Sept. 8 in Altadena, Calif., of complications from a neurological disorder possibly related to Alzheimer's disease.

A self-professed tinkerer, Mr. Westphal invented everything from a tiny camera inserted into the Old Faithful geyser to gauges measuring glaciers and volcanos and high-pressure aquariums used to acquire fish from great ocean depths.

His gift for innovation earned him a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" and led to a stint as director of Caltech's Palomar Observatory.

He became the head investigator for developing the Hubble's Wide-Field and Planetary Camera after he and a Caltech astronomer suggested it use the same kind of light detector built for the Galileo spacecraft's mission to Jupiter.

Jerome Chodorov, 93, a playwright and co-author of My Sister Eileen, which he later adapted as the musical Wonderful Town, died Sunday in Nyack, N.Y.

My Sister Eileen, which he co-wrote with Joseph A. Fields, was one of the playwright's biggest successes, opening on Broadway in 1940 and running for 865 performances. The story of two sisters from Ohio who come to conquer New York during the Depression starred Shirley Booth as the sardonic, would-be writer Ruth Sherwood.

Rosalind Russell played the role in the 1953 musical version for which Mr. Chodorov and Mr. Fields supplied the book and Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green wrote the score. A revival is currently on Broadway.

Mr. Chodorov and Mr. Fields also wrote Junior Miss. The 1941 show, based on Sally Benson's short stories, ran for 710 performances.

In the early 1950s, Mr. Chodorov was blacklisted for a time after having been named in testimony before the House Committee on Un-American Activities as having attending meetings of the Communist Party. As a Hollywood writer, he had worked on more than 50 films.

Reynaldo Garza, 89, a son of Mexican immigrants who became the country's first Hispanic federal judge when he was appointed by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, died yesterday in Brownsville, Texas.

His rise to the bench was an inspiration to many in the Rio Grande Valley. His portrait hangs in south Texas courthouses, and elementary schools have been named after him.

He was appointed to the federal judgeship in 1961 and to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by President Jimmy Carter. He had had senior status on the Court of Appeals since 1982.

Mr. Carter offered Judge Garza the Cabinet post of U.S. attorney general, but Judge Garza turned him down. The federal judge did not want to give up his lifetime appointment, or leave his beloved Brownsville.

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