Other notable deaths

OTHER NOTABLE DEATHS

June 12, 2006

Leon Weil, 109, one of France's last surviving veterans of World War I and a member of the Resistance during World War II, died Tuesday at the Val-de-Grace military hospital in Paris.

The death of Mr. Weil, who fought on the Western Front in World War I and participated in bayonet charges, leaves France with six officially recognized surviving veterans of the Great War. He was mobilized in August 1916 at age 20.

In World War II, he was a member of an intelligence network for the Resistance against the Nazi occupation of France. He was decorated as a combatant in both wars and was awarded France's highest award, the Legion of Honor.

After 1945, he built a career in sales of women's fashion. He was a former boxer and avid swimmer, who swam until age 102.

Caleb D. Hammond Jr., 90, who was president of C.S. Hammond & Co., the map maker, from 1948 to 1974, died of complications from a stroke June 5 in Summit, N.J.

Mr. Hammond helped the company, founded by his grandfather in 1900, as it evolved from a time when dozens of cartographers sat at drafting tables and researchers called municipal officials around the country.

C.S. Hammond & Co. was second only to Rand McNally in Chicago in producing road maps and atlases pinpointing cities and towns, large and tiny, across the country and around the world. In 1999, the company was sold to Langenscheidt Publishers, a German company. Now known as the Hammond World Atlas Co., it is based in Springfield, N.J.

Carlene R. Lewis, 51, a Houston lawyer whose early suspicions about the safety of the pain reliever Vioxx put her in the forefront of what is now a wave of litigation against its maker, Merck, died from complications of ovarian cancer June 5 in Houston.

Mrs. Lewis first began looking into possible dangers of Vioxx in 2000, investigating claims that Vioxx increased the risk of heart attacks and strokes in long-term users. Five years later, in August 2005, she was part of a team of three lawyers that won a verdict of $253.5 million against Merck in a state court in Texas, one of the largest damage awards ever to a single plaintiff.

The Association of American Trial Lawyers said that before her death, Mrs. Lewis had been chosen to receive its annual award for public service for her efforts against Vioxx.

Robin M. Williams Jr., 91, a sociologist who over six decades contributed insights on human conflict ranging from war to racism, died June 3, in Irvine, Calif.

As an Army researcher during World War II, he interviewed soldiers -- sometimes on the front lines -- and concluded that, despite conventional wisdom, patriotism or hatred of the enemy were not the chief motivation for infantrymen to fight. Rather, it was to save their buddies -- a conclusion that eventually influenced infantry training.

He later did important work on relationships between blacks and whites in America, including a 1964 book called Strangers Next Door that was based on eight years of study and interviews of whites in several cities.

Ralph Paul Gernhardt, 72, a pioneering publisher who co-founded Gay Chicago magazine three decades ago, died of lung cancer June 4 in Chicago.

The modern gay rights movement was in its infancy in 1972 when he started a telephone hot line offering a recorded message about gay-friendly parties and clubs. The line's popularity convinced him that he had found an underserved niche, and he co-founded Gay Chicago in 1976.

Along with its rambunctious entertainment coverage, Gay Chicago had outspoken views on HIV/AIDS and discrimination, and promoted safe-sex practices and HIV testing. As a young man, he served in the Air Force, then worked as a radio broadcaster for 17 years in Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming.

Lula Mae Hardaway, 76, mother of singer Stevie Wonder, died May 31 in Los Angeles.

She is credited as a co-writer on several of Mr. Wonder's songs, including the hits "I Was Made to Love Her" and "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours."

She was born to a sharecropper in Eufaula, Ala. Her life was marked by poverty and abuse, according to interviews she gave for a 2002 biography, Blind Faith: The Miraculous Journey of Lula Hardaway, Stevie Wonder's Mother.

Robert Ross, 86, the president and CEO of the Muscular Dystrophy Association who recruited Jerry Lewis for the organization's annual Labor Day telethon, died June 5 of pneumonia in Tucson, Ariz., after being hospitalized with a broken hip.

Raised in New York, Mr. Ross worked as a publicist and radio writer. In 1942, he joined the U.S. Coordinator of Information for the Voice of America and the U.S. Department of State. He often wrote the English-language version of broadcasts on world affairs.

In 1955, he became a member of the Muscular Dystrophy Association. As the public information director, he played a role in persuading business leaders and celebrities to assist the association. Seven years later, he was promoted to CEO. In 1991, he oversaw the move of the group's national headquarters to Tucson.

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