KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA -- Tunku Abdul Rahman, 87, who won independence for Malaya from Britain in 1957 and was the nation's first prime minister until he retired in 1970, died of intestinal bleeding and other ailments Dec. 6 at Kuala Lumpur General Hospital.
The son of the former sultan of northern Kedah state, he was called tunku, which means prince, because of his royal ancestry. He had a warmth in dealing with ordinary people, and he once declared himself the world's happiest prime minister. By the time he retired, he had become known as Bapa Malaysia -- the father of Malaysia.
Scores of relatives and well-wishers had camped outside the hospital since Tunku Rahman was admitted Wednesday.
When he retired from the government in 1970, Tunku Rahman became secretary general of the Organization of Islamic Conference and served at the headquarters in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia.
Having achieved Malaya's independence from Britain in 1957, Tunku Rahman inspired the formation in 1963 of Malaysia through union with the other former British possessions of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. The last became an independent nation in 1965.
An implacable anti-communist determined to make the new country prosperous, Tunku Rahman took office in the era of China's Mao Tse-tung, India's Jawaharlal Nehru and Indonesia's Sukarno. Yet he remained on the public stage until the end of his life.
He was educated at England's Cambridge University, and then went home to work as a district officer.
In 1951 he resigned from the government legal service and became leader of United Malays National Organization, which won the first federal election in 1955 and two years later led Malaya to independence.
As prime minister he quelled a communist insurgency with the aid of British Commonwealth troops.
The formation of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, first proposed by Tunku Rahman, led Indonesia to launch an undeclared three-year war, sending commandoes on cross-border raids.
In May 1969, race riots in Malaysia left hundreds dead in Kuala Lumpur. Tunku Rahman bowed to pressure to step down in 1970.
Known for his easygoing manner, blunt speech and good humor, he remained a revered elder statesmen in retirement at his home in the northwestern state of Penang.
He wrote a newspaper column through the 1980s, and in 1988, despite being confined to a wheelchair, toured the nation to speak out against current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, accusing him of destroying the ruling party's unity.
"I'll die fighting. I don't want to die in bed," Tunku Rahman told an inteviewer in 1988, while recovering from a heart attack.
Survivors include his wife, Sharifah Rodziah, two children of their own, and several adopted children.
JOHNELLA BARKSDALE BANKS
Howard Nursing Professor
Johnella Barksdale Banks, 61, an associate professor in the Howard University College of Nursing, died of a brain tumor Dec. 5 at her home in Silver Spring.
Dr. Banks was born in Hopkinsville, Ky. She grew up in Detroit and graduated from Wayne State University and the Providence Hospital school of nursing in Chicago. She received a master's degree in nursing at Boston University and a doctorate in nursing at Catholic University.
She taught nursing at Highland Park Community College in Detroit before moving to the Washington area in 1974 to teach at Howard.
Dr. Banks had served on the D.C. Public Health Advisory Board, the advisory board of the Hospice Society of Northern Virginia and the Montgomery County Commission for Women.
She was a past president of the D.C. League of Nursing and the National Black Nurses Association of the Greater Washington Area and a member of Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society, the National Council of Negro Women, the NAACP and the League of Women Voters.
Survivors include her husband, Charles R. Banks, whom she married in 1954, of Silver Spring; five children, Charles R. Banks Jr., James Millard Banks and Maia Viola Banks, all of Silver Spring, Clyde Christopher Banks of Chicago and Pamela Marie Robinson of Los Angeles; five sisters; two brothers; and three grandchildren.
FRED BYRON KELLER JR.
Fred Byron Keller Jr., 77, a retired Army colonel who spent much of his military career as an intelligence specialist, died of cardiopulmonary arrest Nov. 11 at Fairfax Hospital.
Col. Keller, who lived in Alexandria, was born in Ashland, Ky. He graduated from the University of Akron.
He began his military career in the 1930s in the reserves, then was activated for service during World War II. He served in Cuba and the United States during the war. Postwar assignments included duty in Germany, France, Cuba and Korea and service as a paratrooper and jumpmaster at Fort Benning, Ga.
He retired from the Army in 1970 after serving at the Defense Communications Agency.
In retirement, Col. Keller received a master's degree in international studies at Georgetown University.
He had been a permanent resident of the Washington area since 1961.
Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Kathryn Eleanor L. Keller of Alexandria; three daughters, Gretchen Brewer of Rockville, Dorothy Lipow of Silver Spring and Karen Bobulinski of Virginia Beach; 10 grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.