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In passing

Compiled from wire reports The Spokesman-Review

Eugenia Charles, 86, Caribbean leader

Roseau, Dominica Former Dominica leader Eugenia Charles, who gained widespread attention as she stood beside President Ronald Reagan when he announced the invasion of Grenada, has died. She was 86.

Charles, the Caribbean’s first woman prime minister known as the region’s “Iron Lady,” died Tuesday at a hospital on the Caribbean island of Martinique, where she was taken for treatment of a broken hip, said longtime associate Bernard Yankey.

Charles, prime minister from 1980-95, survived two coup attempts. “She was a no-nonsense person,” said Lennox Honeychurch, who was her press secretary.

Charles won fame for standing with Reagan at the White House on Oct. 25, 1983, when he announced the invasion of Grenada. She then scornfully dismissed criticism for supporting the U.S. action.

“The Grenadians wanted it, and that’s all that counts. I don’t care what the rest of the world thinks,” she said in a 1995 interview.

Jack Real, 90, aviation pioneer

Mission Hills, Calif. Aviation pioneer Jack Real, who helped develop the Apache helicopter and authored a book on his friendship with reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, has died. He was 90.

Real died Sept. 6 of heart failure at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills.

Real was a vice president for Lockheed Martin Corp. and headed Hughes’ helicopter division before becoming president and CEO of McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co.

As Lockheed’s chief engineer of research, development and testing, he worked on projects at Southern Nevada’s mysterious Area 51. He also was the flight engineer in charge of the first flight of the C-130 Hercules in the early 1950s. The cargo vehicle is still used for U.S. military transport.

In 2003, he published the book, “The Asylum of Howard Hughes,” which detailed his 20-year friendship with Hughes, including his efforts to arrange a flight to carry an ailing Hughes from Mexico to a Houston hospital in 1976. Hughes died en route.

Daniel Ruge, 88, White House physician

Denver Dr. Daniel Ruge, the White House physician who made key medical decisions in the hours after President Reagan was shot in 1981, has died. He was 88.

Ruge died Aug. 30 at his home in Denver, according to his daughter, Charlotte Wiessner. The cause of death was a ruptured aortic aneurysm.

Ruge was about to retire at 63 when Reagan asked him to become chief White House physician. It was an unusual choice, since Ruge, a friend and colleague of Reagan’s father-in-law, specialized in neurosurgery rather than internal or family medicine. But he accepted and was standing near the president when John Hinckley Jr. shot Reagan in the chest outside a Washington hotel in March 1981.

Reagan was rushed to George Washington University Hospital, where Ruge insisted that the president be treated by the hospital’s trauma team, rather than taking charge or bringing in top surgeons from elsewhere. Reagan returned to the White House less than two weeks later.

Ruge later told the New York Times he erred in neglecting to invoke the 25th Amendment to transfer presidential powers to Vice President George Bush, at least temporarily. He said Reagan needed emergency surgery and general anesthesia, and “could not communicate with the people a president is supposed to communicate with.”

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