Other notable deaths

October 23, 2007

VINCENT DEDOMENICO, 92 Rice-a-Roni inventor

Vincent DeDomenico, co-inventor of Rice-A-Roni, whose catchy TV jingle paid homage to San Francisco and made the pasta dish famous, died Thursday in Napa, Calif., with his wife, Mildred, by his side, his family said. He had kept working until the day before his death.

Along with his brothers, Mr. DeDomenico, the son of Italian immigrants, created the packaged side dish of rice and pasta for their San Francisco-based family business. "The San Francisco treat" became known in the 1960s through TV commercials that featured the city's cable cars.

In the 1930s, he and his brothers were running their parents' pasta business in San Francisco's Mission District. They began experimenting in a test kitchen with recipes combining long-grain white rice, broken pieces of vermicelli and chicken broth. The dish evolved from a recipe that one of their wives had gotten from a landlady.

"It was a struggle," Mr. DeDomenico told the San Francisco Chronicle last year. "Times were hard, and I knew if we were going to make any money, we were going to have to come up with something else."

Rice-A-Roni, as it came to be known, became a national brand in the 1960s. The brothers sold Golden Grain Macaroni Co. to Quaker Oats in 1986 for $275 million. By then, the company also included such products as Ghirardelli Chocolate.

In later years, Mr. DeDomenico bought 21 miles of railroad track in Napa Valley and several vintage passenger cars, creating a tourist attraction called the Napa Valley Wine Train.

"He was a dreamer," said his wife, Mildred DeDomenico, 87. "He always had all these plans. He'd write them down on pieces of paper. He was a man who could never retire."

Born in San Francisco in 1915, one of six children, Mr. DeDomenico went to work for his father's pasta company as a salesman while taking night business classes at Golden Gate College.

PEG BRACKEN, 89 Cookbook author

Peg Bracken, author of The I Hate to Cook Book, which sold more than 3 million copies, died Saturday in Portland, Ore., family members said. No cause of death was immediately available.

The book, published in 1960, was intended for working women who decried the notion that their destiny was to stand by the stove and be the ideal wife. Ms. Bracken adored convenience foods such as mixes and canned foods, and discovered that a can of mushroom soup could cover many sins.

The book was followed by The I Hate to Housekeep Book and I Try to Behave Myself, a book on etiquette, and others.

She wrote columns for The Oregonian, the San Francisco Chronicle and Family Circle, and articles for publications including Atlantic Monthly. She also wrote humorous verse, her first love.

She was a guest on national television shows, including I've Got a Secret, and was in demand on the lecture circuit. She was a television spokeswoman for Birds Eye frozen foods in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

MAX MCGEE, 75 Green Bay Packers star

Max McGee, the unexpected hero of the first Super Bowl, died Saturday after falling from the roof of his home while blowing leaves, police said.

Police were called to the former Green Bay receiver's home in Deephaven, Minn., about 5:20 p.m., Sgt. Chris Whiteside said. Efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

Inserted into the Packers' lineup when Boyd Dowler was sidelined by a shoulder injury, McGee caught the first touchdown pass in Super Bowl history in Green Bay's 35-10 victory over Kansas City in January 1967. Still hung over from a night on the town, McGee caught seven passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns.

He was a running back at Tulane and the nation's top kick returner in 1953.

Selected by the Packers in the fifth round of the 1954 draft, he spent two years in the Air Force as a pilot after his rookie year before returning in 1957 to play 11 more seasons. He finished his career with 345 receptions for 6,346 yards - an 18.4-yard average - and scored 51 touchdowns and 306 points.

After retiring from football, he became a major partner in developing the popular Chi-Chi's chain of Mexican restaurants. In 1979, he became an announcer for the Packer Radio Network with Jim Irwin. He retired in 1998.

Mr. McGee and his wife, Denise, founded the Max McGee National Research Center for Juvenile Diabetes at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in 1999.

According to the center's Web site, Mr. McGee's brother had diabetes, as does his youngest son, Dallas.


Motor sports reporter

Shav Glick, who covered the Indianapolis 500 and other races during 37 years of writing about motor sports for the Los Angeles Times, died Saturday at his home in Pasadena, Calif., of complications from melanoma, the newspaper confirmed Sunday. He retired last year at age 85.

In 1994, Mr. Glick was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Novi, Mich., becoming the first writer for a general-circulation daily newspaper to be given that honor.

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