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In passing: Charlotte Winters, WWI veteran

Sun., April 1, 2007, midnight

The last known surviving American female World War I veteran, a refined Civil War buff who met face-to-face with the secretary of the Navy to fight for women in the military, has died. She was 109.

Charlotte Winters died Tuesday at a nursing home near Boonsboro in northwest Maryland, the U.S. Naval District in Washington said in a statement. Her death leaves just five known surviving American World War I veterans.

In 1916, Winters met with Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels to persuade him to allow women in the service, said Kelly Auber, who grew up on South Mountain, where Winters and her husband, John Winters, settled.

When the Navy opened support roles to women, Winters and her sister, Sophie, joined immediately in 1917, Auber said. By December 1918, the Naval District said more than 11,000 women had enlisted and were serving in support positions.

Winters served as a secretary and retired in 1953 with the rank of yeoman in the U.S. Naval Reserve.


Maria Hernandez, rights activist

Renowned human rights activist Maria Julia Hernandez, who aided victims of El Salvador’s civil war, died Friday of a heart attack, friends and colleagues said. She was 68.

Hernandez was best known as director of the Roman Catholic Church-sponsored group Legal Protection, which aids impoverished victims of El Salvador’s 12-year civil war, and had formerly worked alongside the late Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero.

“She was and will forever be a mother to victims, a fighter for the truth,” said Benjamin Cuellar of the Central American University’s Human Rights Institute. “She gave us dignity, hope, sacrifice.”

Hernandez had been hospitalized since March 9 for heart problems, and suffered a heart attack Wednesday night in addition to the fatal one on Friday.


Tony Scott, jazz musician

Jazz musician Tony Scott, a clarinetist, composer and arranger who worked with such greats as Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker, has died, the House of Jazz said Saturday. He was 85.

Scott died Wednesday in Rome, where he had lived for decades, according to a statement from the Italian center for the promotion of jazz.

“His death fills jazz audiences all over the world with sadness,” the statement said.

Scott, who also played the saxophone, worked with many of the greatest jazz musicians over a career that spanned decades and continents, playing with Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and Sarah Vaughan.

“I think a clarinet can be played as strongly as a saxophone or a trumpet,” Scott wrote, according to his Web site. “It can be a delicate instrument, but it can be robust, can be played with the vitality that some guys have on the other horns.”

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Ransom Myers, marine scientist

Ransom Myers, a Canadian scientist renowned for his groundbreaking research and blunt warnings about the extinction of marine species, has died. He was 54.

Myers died Tuesday in Halifax after an illness linked to an inoperable brain tumor, according to colleagues at Dalhousie University.

Myers, a marine biologist who was a vocal critic of Ottawa’s management of Canadian fisheries, was admitted to the hospital last November after being diagnosed with brain cancer.

In a study published in 2003, he found that global industrial fishing had cut populations of large fish, such as tuna, swordfish and marlin, to a mere 10 percent of 1950 levels.


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