Other Notable Deaths

OTHER NOTABLE DEATHS

May 21, 2006

Lawrence "Ramrod" Shurtliff, 61, a longtime crew member for the Grateful Dead, died Wednesday of lung cancer in Petaluma, Calif.

Mr. Shurtliff died at Petaluma Valley Hospital, hospital officials said. A lifelong cigarette smoker, he was diagnosed with lung cancer only a few weeks ago.

He got his nickname from Ken Kesey while he was traveling through Mexico with the author.

"I am Ramon Rodriguez Rodriguez, the famous Mexican guide," he boasted - and he was known from then on as Ramrod.

Mr. Shurtliff joined the Dead in 1967 as a truck driver and was named president of the Grateful Dead board of directors when the rock group incorporated in the 1970s. It was a position he held until the death of guitarist Jerry Garcia in 1995.

Like the rest of the band's few remaining staff, he was laid off last year.

Peter R. Viereck, 89, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who was considered an important figure in the development of modern conservatism before becoming disheartened by the movement, died last Saturday in South Hadley, Mass.

Dr. Viereck died after a long illness, according to Mount Holyoke College, where he was a professor.

He won the Pulitzer for poetry in 1949 for his first book of poems, Terror and Decorum: Poems 1940-1948.

Dr. Viereck was disappointed by the reaction to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, who gained notoriety for his Communist witch hunts in the 1950s, according to a New Yorker magazine profile in 2005. He was quoted as saying that Mr. McCarthy was a menace because "he corrupted the ethics of American conservatives, and that corruption leads to the situation we have now."

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