Arrow-right Camera


In passing: Thomas Nelson, Idaho federal judge

Sun., May 8, 2011

Judge Thomas Nelson, a former Idaho attorney who was nominated to the 9th Circuit Court by President George H.W. Bush and served on the court for almost 20 years – died Wednesday at his home in Boise due to complications from declining health, according to federal court officials. He was 74.

Nelson began serving on the appeals court in 1990. In 2003 he accepted senior judge status and continued to hear cases through 2009.

As a federal jurist, Nelson weighed in on several notable cases including a 1999 lawsuit over Arizona’s use of lethal gas for executing inmates that was ruled unconstitutional.

Nelson was born in Idaho Falls. He graduated from the University of Idaho College of Law in 1962 and was in private practice in Twin Falls before being elevated to the federal bench.

Sada Thompson, stage, TV actress

Sada Thompson, a Tony Award-winning actress best known to TV viewers for her Emmy Award-winning role as the matriarch in the 1970s dramatic TV series “Family,” has died. She was 83.

Thompson, a resident of Southbury, Conn., died of lung disease Wednesday at Danbury Hospital, said her son-in-law, Tony Sgueglia.

Once described by New York Times theater critic Walter Kerr as “one of the American theater’s finest actresses,” Thompson won a Tony for best actress in a play in 1972 for George Furth’s comedy “Twigs,” in which she played four different roles – a mother and her three daughters – in four linked sketches.

Besides her four Emmy nominations for “Family,” she received five other Emmy nominations. They include one in 1976 for her supporting role as Mary Todd Lincoln opposite Hal Holbrook’s Abe in a segment of the “Sandburg’s Lincoln” one-hour drama specials and one in 1991 for a guest appearance on “Cheers.”

Thompson studied drama at Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh (now Carnegie Mellon University), where she met another drama student, Donald Stewart. They were married shortly after her graduation in 1949.

He survives her, as does their daughter, Liza Sgueglia.

Alexander Haagen, California developer

Alexander Haagen, a major Southern California shopping center developer who, as president of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission in the late 1980s, clashed with Los Angeles Raiders owner Al Davis over proposed stadium seating renovations before Davis announced plans to move the pro football team to suburban Irwindale, has died. He was 91.

A longtime resident of nearby Palos Verdes Estates, Haagen died of age-related causes April 26 in Beverly Hills, said his son Alexander Haagen III.

Haagen began his real estate career in Los Angeles in the late 1940s with his wife, Charlotte, and founded Alexander Haagen Properties in 1963.

By the time Haagen stepped down as chairman and chief executive when his publicly traded company was taken over by Lazard Freres & Co. in 1997, it had acquired, developed and redeveloped nearly 120 shopping centers.

As Coliseum Commission president in 1987, his public feud with Davis began in February when the Raiders stopped construction of their planned luxury suites on the Coliseum rim, charging that the commission was defaulting on a pledge to proceed with $9 million in stadium seating changes at the same time.

Haagen, according to a Los Angeles Times story, said it had not been proved that any renovation pledge had been made.

That August, Davis announced plans to move the Raiders to Irwindale. The Raiders’ Irwindale deal later fell through, and the team returned to Oakland in 1995.


Click here to comment on this story »