Notable Deaths

OTHER NOTABLE DEATHS

January 25, 2009

JUANITA SMALLWOOD OSBORNE, 88

Early kidney transplant donor

Juanita Smallwood Osborne, who became one of the first living organ donors when she gave a kidney to her ailing son in the mid-1960s, died Thursday in Ashland, Ky., of complications from aspiration pneumonia, said her son, Burl Osborne, a former managing editor and chairman of the Associated Press and publisher emeritus of The Dallas Morning News.

Mrs. Osborne donated her kidney in 1966, when most successful organ transplants had been performed primarily between identical twins, her son said. The risks of unsuccessful surgery were high, but he was in end-stage renal disease.

"I know that it was early enough that the odds were not high," Mr. Osborne told The Dallas Morning News. "The greatest fear I had was that something would happen to her remaining kidney."

However, Mrs. Osborne's kidney continued to function until her death, he said.

VICTOR VACQUIER SR., 101

Geophysicist bolstered theory of plate tectonics

Victor Vacquier Sr., a geophysicist who developed key instruments for mapping the Earth's magnetic fields and whose research provided an experimental foundation for the now widely accepted theory of plate tectonics, died of pneumonia Jan. 11 in La Jolla, Calif.

Vacquier joined the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, in 1957 to direct its geomagnetics program, in which magnetometers are towed behind ships to measure the magnetic fields imprinted on the sea floor. His biggest discovery was the recognition that the distinctive magnetic pattern of the sea floor across a broad section of the Pacific Ocean was offset by 776 miles across a fracture zone. That finding proved to be a major factor in the rapid acceptance in the 1960s of the theory of plate tectonics, which says that major plates of the Earth's surface are moving with respect to each other.

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