Other Notable Deaths

August 27, 2007

ROBERT H. JOHNSON, 84 Associated Press executive

Robert H. Johnson, a champion for open government and a former Associated Press executive who during a 42-year career wrote AP's first bulletin on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, died Saturday in New Mexico.

After retiring from the news cooperative in 1988, Mr. Johnson helped start the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government and made a new career out of fighting for public access to government meetings and records.

Mr. Johnson suffered a stroke Saturday morning as he prepared to go to work at the foundation, where he served as executive director. He died later that evening.

A native of Colorado City, Texas, Mr. Johnson joined the Associated Press in Dallas in 1946 after serving as a Marine lieutenant in World War II. He was recalled to active duty as a captain in the Korean War.

He worked every news job in the Dallas bureau, where he became news editor in 1953. The next year, he was named bureau chief in Salt Lake City, managing the Utah and Idaho operations. He was assigned as Indianapolis bureau chief in 1959, then returned to Dallas as Texas bureau chief in 1963.

Mr. Johnson moved to New York in 1969 to become the Associated Press' sports editor and in 1972 managed coverage of the massacre of Israeli athletes by Palestinian guerrillas at the Munich Olympics.

He became managing editor the next year and then moved up to assistant general manager and assistant to the president from 1977 to 1984.

Mr. Johnson moved to Albuquerque as bureau chief in 1984,

GASTON THORN, 78 Luxembourg prime minister

Gaston Thorn, former Luxembourg prime minister and ex-president of the European Commission, died yesterday, a government official said. No cause of death was immediately provided. It was also not clear whether he had died at home or at a hospital, according to a spokeswoman for Luxembourg's government press service, who spoke on condition of anonymity because a statement had yet to be released.

The longtime politician and businessman, who led the government in the tiny Duchy of Luxembourg between 1974 and 1979, was known as a strong advocate of European integration.

Mr. Thorn took part in the resistance against Nazi occupation during World War II and spent several months in prison for his opposition to Adolf Hitler's invasion of his country, shaping his views promoting European unity as a way to prevent future conflict on the continent.

After the war, Mr. Thorn studied law in France before entering politics in Luxembourg. He steadily rose through Liberal Democrat Party ranks and was appointed deputy mayor of Luxembourg city before entering his nation's national parliament.

He was appointed chairman of the Commission of the European Economic Community, forerunner of the now 27-nation EU, between 1981 and 1985, after which he returned to business life.

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