June 26, 2005 in Nation/World

In passing

The Spokesman-Review
 

Charles David Keeling, 77, pioneered climate change

San Diego

Charles David Keeling, the climate scientist whose precise, meticulous measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for nearly half a century warned humans that we are changing the composition of the global atmosphere, has died.

Keeling, 77, suffered a heart attack Monday while hiking with one of his sons near the family’s summer home in Montana, according to a spokesman for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, where he spent virtually his entire professional career.

Keeling’s studies showed that the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide – a so-called greenhouse gas that traps energy from sunlight and prevents it from radiating back into space – has been rising steadily since the onset of the industrial age, and he linked that growth conclusively to the increased consumption of fossil fuels, which release carbon dioxide when they are burned.

The graph showing that increase, widely known as the Keeling curve, is one of the best-known anywhere.Even President Bush, who has repeatedly discounted the possibility of global warming, recognized the importance of Keeling’s work by awarding him the National Medal of Science in 2002. In April, Keeling received the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, the most prestigious award for environmental research.

Keeling’s records of carbon dioxide concentrations “are the single most important environmental data set taken in the 20th century,” said Charles F. Kennel, the director of Scripps. “Dave Keeling was living proof that a scientist could, by sticking close to his laboratory bench, change the world.”

Keeling was born in Scranton, Pa., on April 20, 1928. He studied chemistry at the University of Illinois and continued with the discipline as a graduate student at Northwestern University. He was an accomplished pianist who very nearly chose a career in music over science. Keeling is survived by Louise Barthold Keeling, his wife of 50 years; sons Andrew, Ralph, Eric and Paul, as well as daughter Emily and six grandchildren.

Shana Alexander, 79, liberal voice of ‘Point/Counterpoint’

Hermosa Beach, Calif. Shana Alexander, who broke ground as the first woman staff writer and columnist at Life magazine and gained pop-culture status on television in the 1970s as the liberal voice on the “Point/Counterpoint” segment on “60 Minutes,” died Thursday. She was 79.

Alexander died of cancer in an assisted living facility in Hermosa Beach, Calif., said her sister, Laurel Bentley, of neighboring Manhattan Beach. Alexander had for many years lived in the Hamptons on Long Island, N.Y.

A 1945 graduate of Vassar College, Alexander worked as a freelance writer for Junior Bazaar and Mademoiselle magazines and had a stint as entertainment editor at Flair magazine before going to work at Life as a $65-a-week researcher in 1951.

After becoming Life’s first female staff writer, she wrote the magazine’s award-winning column “The Feminine Eye” in the 1960s.

She was a columnist for Newsweek magazine in 1975 when she was teamed with James J. Kilpatrick, the conservative Washington Star columnist, on the “Point/Counterpoint” segment on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

Over the next four years, the duo debated the topics of the day and famously traded barbs and phrases such as “Oh, come on, Jack” and “Now see here, Shana.”

Alexander was twice married and twice divorced. Her 25-year-old daughter, Kathy Alexander, died in 1987 when she jumped from Alexander’s Park Avenue high-rise.

Ventriloquist Paul Winchell, 82, was Tigger in ‘Winnie the Pooh’

Moorpark, Calif.

Paul Winchell, the voice of Tigger in “Winnie the Pooh” features for more than three decades and a versatile ventriloquist who became a fixture in early children’s television along with his dummies Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff, has died. He was 82.

Winchell died early Friday in his sleep at his home in Moorpark, Calif., Burt Du Brow, a television producer and close family friend, said Saturday.

He became the lovable Tigger in 1968 for Disney’s “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day,” which earned an Academy Award for best animated short film. Winchell earned a Grammy in 1974 for the best children’s recording with “The Most Wonderful Things About Tiggers” from the feature “Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too.”

Winchell is survived by his wife of 31 years, the former Jean Freeman; five children and three grandchildren.

From news wires


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