Other Notable Deaths


November 06, 2005

William O. Baker, 90, a prominent scientist and a former head of Bell Laboratories who advised five presidents on scientific affairs, died of heart failure Monday in Chatham, N.J.

Trained as a physical chemist, he was president of Bell Labs from 1973 to 1979; he retired in 1980 as chairman of the board. Based in Murray Hill, N.J., Bell Labs is now the research and development arm of Lucent Technologies. During his tenure as president, Bell Labs scientists twice won the Nobel Prize in physics.

He was born in Chestertown and grew up on his family's 400-acre farm on the Eastern Shore. His mother raised turkeys and her adroit use of chemicals to combat parasites may have set her son on his professional course.

John Erlenborn, 78, a Republican who had represented the Chicago suburbs in Congress for 20 years and was a champion of pension plan law, died Oct. 30 at his Warrenton, Va., home from complications associated with Lewy body disease.

After serving eight years in the Illinois House, he decided to run for Congress, where he served from 1965 to 1985.

He became known as "Mr. ERISA" after he helped pass the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, which set standards for company pension plans, in the 1970s. He became the ranking Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee and helped establish the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. He also taught at Georgetown University law school.

R.C. Gorman, 74, a famed Navajo artist dubbed "the Picasso of American art" by The New York Times, died Thursday at a hospital in Albuquerque, N.M. He had been ill with a blood infection and pneumonia.

He was renowned for paintings and sculptures of graceful female figures, often depicted as generously sized.

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