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In Passing

Sun., Aug. 27, 2006


Robert K. Hoffman, Lampoon founder

Robert K. Hoffman, one of three founders of the irreverent National Lampoon magazine, has died. He was 59.

Hoffman, a noted Dallas philanthropist, died Aug. 20 at a Dallas-area hospital. He had been suffering from leukemia.

He was a co-founder and managing editor of the humorous National Lampoon, spawned from the Harvard Lampoon, created while he was a student at the university. Hoffman graduated cum laude in 1970 and received an MBA from Harvard Business School.

The magazine spun off successful films, the best known being “Animal House.”

“National Lampoon never would have happened, and none of the things that came out of it would have happened, without Robert,” said Henry Beard, one of the other co-founders of the magazine. “He had an exceptional pair of talents – he was extremely smart and utterly fearless.”

The third founder, Doug Kenney, died in the early 1980s. Hoffman and his partners sold their interest in National Lampoon in 1975.

Newport, R.I.

A. C. Cushing, skiing pioneer

Alexander C. Cushing, the founder of the Squaw Valley ski resort in California whose odds-defying landing of the 1960 Winter Olympics helped spur the popularity of skiing in the United States and put the Lake Tahoe region on the map as a world-class destination for winter sports, has died. He was 92.

Cushing, the chairman of Squaw Valley Ski Corp., died Aug. 19 of pneumonia at his summer home in Newport, R.I.

Cushing was a Harvard- educated, World War II Navy veteran and Wall Street lawyer in 1946 when he first laid eyes on Squaw Valley during a ski vacation to the Sierra Nevada.

Cushing was so taken with Squaw Valley and its possibilities as a ski resort that he went into partnership to develop it with the man who first showed it to him, airline pilot Wayne Poulsen, a former champion skier who had purchased much of the valley’s land.

Bloomington, Minn.

William C. Norris, computer leader

William C. Norris, 95, the maverick founder of the once-giant mainframe computer firm Control Data Corp. who tried to use the power of business to engineer social change, died Monday at a nursing home in Bloomington, Minn. He had Parkinson’s disease.

Norris built the company into the fourth-largest data processing business in the world, worth $5 billion in 1984. His company introduced the CDC 6600, the first commercial supercomputer, 10 times faster than anything on the market in 1964. He manufactured peripheral computer equipment, successfully sued IBM on antitrust grounds and launched the career of the legendary computer engineer Seymour Cray.

Norris was best known for immersing his company in projects such as building factories in slums after the mid-1960s urban riots, starting agricultural projects in Alaska and funding experimental wind farms. Control Data was one of the first businesses to offer on-site day care for employees’ children. The company eventually split into two businesses, and Control Data Corp. no longer exists.


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