Deaths of note: Bernard L. Shaw; Eyad Sarraj; Colin Wilson; George Rodrigue

December 19, 2013
Bernard L. Shaw
husband of Patty Hearst

Bernard L. Shaw, a San Francisco police officer who served as heiress Patty Hearst’s body guard and later married her, died Dec. 17 in Garrison, N.Y. He was 68.

An executive with Hearst publishing company confirmed the death but did not disclose the cause.

Mr. Shaw was Hearst Corp.’s vice president for corporate security. He was best known for his relationship with media magnate William Randolph Hearst’s granddaughter. She made headlines in the 1970s because of her kidnapping by a left-wing group and her later imprisonment for bank robbery.

The couple were married in 1979, after Patty Hearst’s release from a 22-month sentence. Mr. Shaw worked at Hearst Corp. for three decades.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that he is survived by his wife, Patty Hearst Shaw, four children and granddaughter.

Eyad Sarraj
human rights activist

Eyad Sarraj, a leading Palestinian human rights campaigner who dealt with the mental health damage caused by political oppression and denounced both Israeli and Palestinian abuses, died Dec. 17 at a hospital in Jerusalem. He was 69.

The cause was leukemia, his family said.

Trained in Egypt and Britain, Dr. Sarraj became the Gaza Strip’s first psychiatrist and established a community mental health program in 1990. The program focused on the most vulnerable groups, such as children and victims of torture and other abuses, and served as a foundation for his human rights work.

Dr. Sarraj spoke extensively about the toll on mental health exacted by Israel’s rule over the Palestinians. Israeli occupation, he wrote in 1997, had left the Palestinians “exhausted, tormented and brutalized.”

According to his biography, he was briefly jailed in the 1980s by Israel, which occupied Gaza from 1967 until 2005, and in the 1990s by the Palestinian Authority, a self-rule government then led by Yasser Arafat, according to his biography.

Dr. Sarraj later served as chairman of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens’ Rights, taking on the role of ombudsman for ordinary Palestinians.

In recent years, he and other political independents worked at reconciling rival Palestinian political camps: the Islamist-militant Hamas, which has ruled Gaza since a violent 2007 takeover, and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, which is headed by President Mahmoud Abbas and administers parts of the West Bank.

After Israel’s military offensive against Gaza in the winter of 2008-09, Dr. Sarraj told U.N. investigators that post-traumatic stress disorders are widespread among Gaza’s children, according to his biography.

Dr. Sarraj was born in the town of Beersheba in British-ruled Palestine in 1944, and fled with his family to Gaza during the 1948 war over Israel’s creation. He studied medicine at the University of Alexandria in Egypt and received a master’s degree from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College in London.

Colin Wilson
British author

Colin Wilson, a British author who gained fame with his first book, “The Outsider,” died Dec. 5 in Cornwall, England. He was 82.

Colin Stanley, Mr. Wilson’s publisher and bibliographer, said the writer and philosopher never fully recovered from a stroke in 2011. The immediate cause was pneumonia.

The 1956 publication of “The Outsider,” a study of creative people — including Vincent van Gogh, Franz Kafka and Friedrich Nietzsche — that espoused a brand of existentialist individualism, catapulted the writer to fame.

Orion Publishers described it as “a study of alienation, creativity and the modern mind.”

Nothing else Mr. Wilson wrote achieved the same level of success, although he went on to produce more than 150 books, exploring subjects that included serial killers, extraterrestrials and the occult.

His nonfiction books about crime and the paranormal, including “The Occult: A History,” and horror and science fiction novels such as “The Space Vampires” gained him a small but devoted following.

George Rodrigue
artist

George Rodrigue, an artist who chronicled Cajun life and later found fame with his enigmatic “Blue Dog” images, died Dec. 14 in Houston. He was 69.

The cause was cancer, his family said.

Mr. Rodrigue, a native of southwest Louisiana, began painting scenes of life in Cajun country in the 1960s, but he is perhaps best known for the “Blue Dog” that became his signature creation in the 1990s.

— from news services