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Obituaries in the News

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Robert Morrisey

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Robert Morrisey, whose love of wine was initiated by his doctor's advice and grew into a passion that inspired him to create The Wine Spectator publication, died Saturday of congestive heart failure, his daughter said. He was 78.

Morrisey was also a former Marine Corps major and one-time wine columnist for the San Diego Evening Tribune, which later became The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Morrisey was a casual drinker of gin martinis in the late 1960s when his doctor suggested he switch to wine for health reasons.

The popular response to his newspaper columns of the early 1970s led him to create a 12-page tabloid newsletter in 1976, The Wine Spectator, which went on to become America's top-selling wine publication.

The biweekly tabloid had an inaugural print run of 3,000 copies, which Morrisey and his wife, Mary Jane, initially distributed by hand.

Seeking to expand the publication, Morrisey turned to Marvin Shanken Communications Inc. in 1979, Now a monthly, glossy magazine, The Wine Spectator has a circulation of 400,000.

Born in Wheeling, W.Va., Morrisey grew up in Joliet, Ill. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the Marines and served with the 3rd Marine Division in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, he returned to Joliet, and became editor of the city's weekly newspaper, The Spectator.

Called to active duty during the Korean War, he served as a combat correspondent and public information officer. He retired from active duty in December 1967 and joined Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical in San Diego as chief of its news bureau. He left Teledyne in 1977 and started his own public relations firm.

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John Sargent Pillsbury Jr.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - John Sargent Pillsbury Jr., a member of the famous milling family who became chief executive of a life insurance company and ran for governor, died of natural causes Monday, his family said. He was 92.

He was chief executive of Northwestern National Life Insurance Co. (now INC-ReliaStar) from 1956 to 1977, and had served as chairman of two life insurance industry organizations.

Born in Minneapolis, the great-grandnephew of 1870s Gov. John S. Pillsbury ran for governor himself in 1966. He lost the Republican endorsement to Harold LeVander, who went on to defeat DFL Gov. Karl Rolvaag.

Pillsbury was board chairman of the Minnesota Orchestra during planning and construction of Orchestra Hall in downtown Minneapolis.

Pillsbury earned a degree in history at Yale and attended the University of Minnesota's law school. He practiced law after serving as a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

Pillsbury served on boards of the Twin Cities Public Television, the Community Chest (the predecessor of the United Way), the University of Minnesota Foundation, Dunwoody Institute and Orono Schools.


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© 2005 The Associated Press