Sumerian Expert

Samuel Noah Kramer, 93, a world authority on the 4,000-year-old Sumerian language who retired from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 as a professor of Assyriology and curator of the university museum's more than 40,000 of the ancient tablets, died of cancer Nov. 26 at his home in Philadelphia.

The Sumerians created small kingdoms in Mesopotamia, becoming one of the first civilizations to leave a written record. From the Sumerians' wedge-shaped cuneiform characters on clay tablets, Mr. Kramer translated myths, epics, prayers and proverbs that shed light on their civilization.

He earned his doctorate in Oriental studies, specializing in Mesopotamian languages, in 1929. He did research in the Middle East and worked on the Assyrian dictionary being prepared at the University of Chicago before returning to the University of Pennsylvania as a member of the faculty in 1942. He published 30 books, including an autobiography, "In the World of Sumer."


Chinese Philosopher

Feng Youlan, 94, a renowned scholar of Chinese philosophy who was attacked as a rightist and counterrevolutionary in the 1950s and 1960s, died Nov. 26 in Beijing. The cause of death was not reported.

He was first attacked after speaking out in the Hundred Flowers Campaign of 1956 when criticism was briefly encouraged by communist leader Mao Tse-tung until a torrent of opposition forced him to clamp down. During the Cultural Revolution, a decade of left-wing fanaticism that began in 1966, he was again attacked for his views.

Dr. Feng, a professor at Beijing University, was best known for his authoritative "A History of Chinese Philosophy," published in 1930. He had received a doctorate in philosophy at Columbia University in 1923.


Swiss President

Ludwig von Moos, 80, a former president of Switzerland who also had served as the country's justice minister, died Nov. 26 in Bern. The cause of death was not reported.

Mr. Von Moos, a Christian Democrat, served on the seven-member Federal Executive, the Swiss Cabinet, from 1959 to 1971. The presidency rotates annually among the cabinet members, and he held the office in 1964 and 1969.


Czechoslovak Jewish Leader

Desider Galski, 69, a leader of the Czechoslovak Jewish community, died Nov. 24 in a car accident in Prague. The accident occurred when he was driving home alone from dinner. No other details of the accident were reported.

Mr. Galski was president of the Jewish Community Council of the Czech Lands. He was president from 1980 to 1987 and was reelected after the November 1989 revolution that ousted communists from power.


TV Producer

Jon Epstein, 62, producer of such television shows as "Tarzan," "The Flying Nun" and "McMillan and Wife," died of leukemia Nov. 24 at a hospital in Los Angeles.

He began producing television shows in the 1950s for the Ziv studios. His credits included "Trials of O'Brien," "Rat Patrol," "The Outcasts," "The Young Rebels," "Three's a Crowd," "The Sheriff" and "Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law." He also produced the television miniseries "Rich Man, Poor Man" in the 1970s. He was executive producer of the "Colombo" television series.


Vietnamese Prime Minister

Nguyen Van Tam, 97, who held several Vietnamese Cabinet posts between 1946 and 1952 then served as prime minister to former Emperor Bao Dai in 1952 and 1953, died Nov. 23 in Paris. The cause of death was not reported.

He was nicknamed the Tiger of Cai Lay for eliminating communist resistance groups in the Cai Lay region of the Mekong Delta. Named chief of criminal investigations in Saigon in 1950, he put an end to a series of assassination attempts by the communist resistance.


2 Live Crew Mother

Ethel Mae Humphrey, 44, mother of 2 Live Crew rapper Mark "Brother Marquis" Ross, died of an aneurysm Nov. 21 at a hospital in Miami.

Mrs. Humphrey worked as an aerospace technician in California before moving to Miami in 1988 when Ross joined the group. In Florida, she worked as warehouse supervisor for Luke Records, the label of 2 Live Crew leader Luther Campbell.