obituaries

Alistair MacLeod, 77, Canadian short story author

Alistair MacLeod, the award-winning Canadian author who was best known for his short story collections and novel “No Great Mischief,” has died. He was 77. Mr. MacLeod’s former publisher, Doug Gibson, said Mr. MacLeod had been in a Windsor, Ontario, hospital ever since suffering a …

Former Cook County Sheriff Richard J. Elrod dies at 80

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Former Cook County Sheriff Richard J. Elrod served four consecutive terms in office in the ’70s and ’80s, after suffering spinal damage while trying to detain a protester during the violent “Days of Rage” anti-war protests in 1969. Mr. Elrod was a 35-year-old lawyer for …

Win Tin, 85, Myanmar’s longest-serving political prisoner

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YANGON, Myanmar — Win Tin, a prominent journalist who became Myanmar’s longest-serving political prisoner after challenging military rule by co-founding the National League for Democracy, died Monday, He was 85.

He had been hospitalized with respiratory problems since March 12 and died at Yangon General …

Kevin Sharp, 43, country singer who inspired with cancer battle

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FAIR OAKS, Calif. — Kevin Sharp, a country music singer who recorded multiple chart-topping songs and survived a well-publicized battle with cancer, has died. He was 43. His sister Mary Huston says Mr. Sharp died in Fair Oaks, Calif., at 10:49 p.m. Saturday of complications …

John C. Houbolt, 95, engineer helped lead U.S. to moon landing

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SCARBOROUGH, Maine — John C. Houbolt, an engineer whose contributions to the U.S. space program were vital to NASA’s successful moon landing in 1969, has died. He was 95. Mr. Houbolt died Tuesday at a nursing home in Scarborough, Maine, of complications from Parkinson’s disease, …

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Walter Clifford, detective who nabbed burglars in stakeouts, dies at 85

When Detective Walter Clifford realized that wily burglars were breaking into homes while mourners were at wakes and funerals, he had an idea. Sitting in his living room, reading the death notices, he decided to place phony death notices in newspapers to smoke them out. He arranged for police stakeouts at the homes of real and made-up mourners, and even established lookout posts at neighbors’ houses. Then Mr. Clifford and other officers waited inside one of the “bait’’ homes for the fish to bite.

One of world’s top Syria historians

BEIRUT — Patrick Seale, a veteran journalist and author on Middle Eastern affairs as well as one of the world’s leading historians on Syria, has died in London after a battle with cancer, according to family and friends. He was 83. An accomplished reporter, writer …

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Tony-winning deaf actress

Phyllis Frelich, a Tony Award-winning deaf actress who starred in the Broadway version of “Children of a Lesser God,” has died. She was 70. Her husband, Robert Steinberg, said Ms. Frelich died Thursday at their home in Temple City, Calif. She suffered from a rare …

Edward Claussen, who moved pickles to groceries’ refrigerated aisle, dead at 85

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Edward Claussen, a former Claussen Pickles chief executive, is dead at 85. He shifted the key product of the business that his great-grandfather started from store shelves to the refrigerated aisle, a move that strengthened the company’s market share.

Margaret Herguth, journalist and author, dies at 79

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Margaret Herguth was a mother, journalist and longtime resident of Wilmette whose life, in many ways, revolved around the written word.

As a grandmother, she authored “How Do You Hug a Giraffe?” a children’s book that she wrote and her daughter, Jeni, illustrated.

Years earlier, …

One of the last Native American code talkers

OKLAHOMA CITY — Edmond Harjo, one of the last surviving members of a group of American Indians who used their Native languages to outmaneuver the enemy during World Wars I and II, died last week in Oklahoma. He was 96. Mr. Harjo died March 31 …

Father of Mich. sextuplets

HOLLAND, Mich. — The 39-year-old father of Michigan’s first surviving set of sextuplets suffered a heart attack and died after setting up a trampoline for his children, a relative said. Ben Van Houten died Wednesday night, said Sue Herweyer of Dykstra Life Story Funeral Homes …

8-year-old girl befriended by hoops star dies

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DETROIT — When Michigan State was fighting to stay afloat despite a succession of injuries to key players, Lacey Holsworth was there. When the team rebounded to win the Big Ten tournament, the 8-year-old from St. Johns, Mich., was there. And as the cold-shooting Spartans …

Glenbrook South teacher Jeff Yordy, dead at 55, led award-winning horticulture teams

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At a north suburban high school known for academics, Jeff Yordy made his mark teaching horticulture. Mr. Yordy, who died March 29 at age 55 following heart surgery, started teaching at Glenbrook South High School in Glenview in 1984, and the school horticulture team he coached won the state championship for an astounding 22 years of his tenure there.

As a director at WMAQ-Channel 5 news, Alison Ebert was calm voice in ears of anchors, reporters

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Ms. Ebert won multiple Emmys during the 30 years she worked at WMAQ-Channel 5, rising to become director of the noon and 5 p.m. newscasts. Part of the directing team for major events including the Chicago Marathon and Chicago Auto Show, she was also an unflappable presence on high-pressure election nights, when she always wore an American flag pin.

Comic appeared in final episode of ‘Seinfeld’

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PITTSBURGH — John Pinette, the chubby stand-up comedian who portrayed a hapless carjacking victim in the final episode of “Seinfeld,” has died. He was 50. Mr. Pinette died of natural causes Saturday at a hotel in Pittsburgh, the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office said Sunday …