Other Notable Deaths


December 24, 2005

Dr. Copeland, a World War II veteran, joined the Progressive Farmer/Southern Progress Corp. as an assistant editor and was editor of its spinoff, Southern Living, when it debuted in 1966. He became a company vice president and director of the Birmingham-based publishing firm in 1970. He ended a 25-year career with the company with his retirement in 1982.

Dr. Copeland earned a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Georgia, where he spent 12 years as the school's state agricultural extension service editor. He earned a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin in 1958. During his journalism career, he served as president of the Alabama Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Marvin A. Schwam, 63, who made it a year-round business to prepare for Christmas - and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa - as the founder of American Christmas Decorations Inc., died of bladder cancer Dec. 10 at his home in New York City.

Mr. Schwam, who started as a designer and decorator, founded his company in 1968 and built it into one of the country's biggest suppliers of holiday displays of all kinds. With headquarters in the Bronx, it has designed, made and installed what decks the halls and walls at places such as Radio City Music Hall and Saks Fifth Avenue.

It delivers elaborately dressed trees, ranging in size from modest to huge, along with wreaths, garlands, menorahs, poinsettias, animated figures and lights, and puts them up in hotel and apartment house lobbies, department stores, malls and theaters, and film and television studios. It lists Bloomingdale's and Lord & Taylor among its notable clients.

Under Mr. Schwam, the company began to operate through the calendar year, its staff waxing and waning with the season.

Donald Martino, 74, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer who headed the composition department at the New England Conservatory, died Dec. 8 of a heart attack after a diabetic episode on a Caribbean cruise.

Mr. Martino, who lived in Newton, Mass., led the composition department from 1969 to 1981.

He wrote Notturno, the now-classic chamber work for flutes, clarinets, violin/viola, cello, piano and percussion. The piece was honored with the 1974 Pulitzer and has since been recorded numerous times. He was working on a new concertino for violin and 14 instruments commissioned by the Tanglewood Music Center when he died.

Dr. Joseph E. Walther, 93, who used the proceeds from the sale of a hospital he founded to fund groundbreaking research on cancer, died Dec. 10 in Indianapolis.

He was the founder of the defunct Winona Memorial Hospital and the Walther Cancer Institute at the Indiana University Medical Center, both in Indianapolis.

Dr. Walther was regarded as a visionary, encouraging collaboration among researchers at different institutions and, for patients, regular physicals and attention to factors such as smoking and weight control - known today as wellness. The research breakthroughs the institute funded included treatment of testicular cancer and using umbilical cord blood to treat cancers that require bone marrow transplants.

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