Obituaries of note: Elisabeth Coleman, Sou Met

Sou Met
Khmer Rouge officer

Sou Met, a former top Khmer Rouge military officer who was expected to be charged in connection with the regime’s atrocities, died June 14, a Cambodian military official said. He was believed to be 76.

Maj. Gen. Ek Sam Oun confirmed the death and said Sou Met had diabetes.

The Khmer Rouge’s policies in the late 1970s led to the deaths of an estimated 1.7 million people from starvation, disease, overwork and executions.

Documents leaked last year indicated that prosecutors were seeking to indict Sou Met along with Khmer Rouge navy commander Meas Mut.

The documents alleged that both took part in purges that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.

The Khmer Rouge were ousted in 1979 by a Vietnamese invasion but continued an insurgency from the jungles until the shrinking movement collapsed with the 1998 death of its leader, Pol Pot.

Elisabeth Coleman
journalist, press secretary

Elisabeth Coleman, a plaintiff in a groundbreaking sex discrimination suit against Newsweek magazine who went on to become California Gov. Jerry Brown’s press secretary in the mid-1970s and a vice president of American Express, died June 20 at a hospital in New York City. She was 68.

Her brother, Francis Coleman, confirmed the death but did not indicate the cause.

Ms. Coleman started at Newsweek as a researcher after graduating from Vassar College in 1966. On the day that Newsweek ran a cover story on the women’s movement — March 16, 1970 — 46 women at the magazine, including Ms. Coleman, filed a class-action lawsuit against the magazine for discrimination in hiring and promotions and demanded that they be included in the editor-and-writer track.

It was the first lawsuit by women in the media.

Immediately after the lawsuit was filed, Ms. Coleman was sent to the San Francisco bureau, and she was given the first reporting job that opened up.

In 1973, she was hired by a public television station in Northern California and a year later joined ABC News.

Ms. Coleman was Brown’s press secretary from 1976 to 1978, when she married Rock Brynner, the son of actor Yul Brynner, and returned to New York.

They subsequently divorced, and she began a career in public relations and communications.

Harry Parker
Harvard crew coach

Harry Parker, 77, who coached the Harvard University men’s heavyweight crew team to 22 undefeated seasons and eight national titles, died June 25. Harvard announced Mr. Parker’s death and said the cause was myelodysplastic syndrome, a blood disorder.

Mr. Parker took over the Crimson crew program in 1963, and his teams won eight official national titles, 24 Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges Sprints varsity titles and had a 44-7 record in the Harvard-Yale Regatta, according to the school’s athletics department. Mr. Parker coached 18 athletes to Academic All-Ivy honors in the past 20 years.

Mr. Parker began rowing as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid-1950s. He won a gold medal in single sculling at the Pan American Games in 1959 and placed fifth in the single competition at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. He coached men’s and women’s Olympic crew teams for the United States from 1964 to 1984.

— News services and staff reports