Other Notable Deaths


March 12, 2007

RICHARD S. PRATHER, 85 Mystery novelist

Richard S. Prather, a novelist best known for his mysteries featuring private investigator Shell Scott, died Feb. 14 of complications from pulmonary disease at his home in Sedona, Ariz., author Linda Pendleton, a friend of Mr. Prather, said last week.

Mr. Prather's Shell Scott mysteries of the 1950s and 1960s featured a Marine-turned-private eye who kept his hair in a military buzz cut and was missing part of an ear shot off during World War II. He also wrote several novels under the pseudonyms David Knight and Douglas Ring.

Mr. Prather introduced Scott in his 1950 novel Case of the Vanishing Beauty. More than 30 others followed. Unlike stuffier heroes popular at the time, Scott had a wry sense of humor that got him through odd assignments.

Born Sept. 9, 1921, in Santa Ana, Calif., he served in the merchant marine from 1942 to 1945. After the war, he worked as a clerk at March Air Force Base in California, then took up writing full time in 1949. He was still writing a book a year into the late 1980s.

JEAN KENNEDY SCHMIDT, 88 One of the `Angels of Bataan'

Jean Kennedy Schmidt, one of the nurses dubbed the "Angels of Bataan" who were held prisoner in the Philippines during World War II, died March 3 at her home in La Canada Flintridge, Calif., of complications from a fall, her daughter said Friday.

Joining the Army after getting her nursing degree in 1941, Mrs. Schmidt was one of 99 Army and Navy nurses stationed in the Philippines. After Japan attacked in 1942, they found themselves treating casualties in open-air field hospitals on the Bataan Peninsula.

When the Philippines fell, they were sent to the rocky island fortress of Corregidor, working in an underground hospital.

Some nurses were able to leave before Corregidor fell in May 1942. The other 77 were held prisoner in Manila for nearly three years. While in the camp, they continued to treat other military and civilian prisoners, sometimes eating weeds to stave off starvation.

They were freed in 1945 when a U.S. tank crashed through the gates.

Mrs. Schmidt later married a fellow prisoner, Richard Schmidt, and they settled in California, where she continued her nursing career.

JEANNE LUCAS, 71 Pioneering N.C. politician

Jeanne Lucas, the first black woman to serve in the North Carolina Senate, died Friday night.

Senator Lucas, a Durham Democrat, had been absent regularly during the legislative session, which opened in late January. Breast cancer treatments in 2003 forced her to miss special sessions that year.

She was appointed to the Senate in 1993 after a career as a teacher and school administrator. She had been re-elected ever since, serving in recent years as majority whip.

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