Paul Sacher

Arts Patron

Paul Sacher, 93, a conductor and patron of the arts whose family's stake in the Roche pharmaceuticals empire made him one of the world's richest men, died May 26 in Zurich. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Mr. Sacher, with a family fortune of about $13 billion, married into the Hoffmann-La Roche family in 1934 and served as a board member of the pharmaceutical giant for almost six decades.

He played a key role in regaining the family's majority stake in the company after World War II and was considered an architect of the firm's development.

By the time the native of Basel, Switzerland, met Roche heiress Maja Hoffmann-Staehlin, he was already deeply entrenched in the modern music scene.

He founded a chamber orchestra and came into early contact with such composers as Paul Hindemith and Igor Stravinsky.

He went on to commission work from composer Bela Bartok and supported such artists as Pablo Picasso.

Waldo Semon


Waldo Semon, 100, who won a patent for bubble gum, developed vinyl and helped create synthetic rubber during World War II, died May 26 in Hudson, Ohio. The cause of death was not reported.

He worked for the B.F. Goodrich Co., where one of his first assignments was to make a rubber adhesive from polyvinyl chloride. Instead, he found a way to make PVC into a flexible, elastic material that became widely used in the plastic industry.

Mr. Semon went on to earn 116 U.S. patents by the time he retired in 1963. In 1995, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio.

Ed Peterson


Ed Peterson, 78, the inventor of the alarm that beeps to warn people when trucks and heavy machinery are backing up, died May 26 in Boise, Idaho. The cause of death was not reported.

Mr. Peterson also invented collapsible luggage carriers, home security alarms and automotive electrical devices.

In the mid-1960s, he invented the Bac-A-Larm, marketing it initially to international construction and engineering giant Morrison Knudsen Corp.

The system is used worldwide now, and the company he founded with his brother, Peterson Rebuild and Exchange Co., or Preco Inc. as it is known today, is the world's largest supplier of reverse warning systems.

James E. Dowd

Stock Exchange President

James E. Dowd, 77, who served as president of the Boston Stock Exchange from 1969 to 1982, died of cancer May 23 in Burlington, Mass.

During his tenure, he organized the New England Securities Depository Trust Co., which offers a computerized book entry system for members, and BOSECO, the Boston Stock Exchange Co., offering members access to the world's major stock exchanges through associate member seats held by the Boston Exchange.

Mr. Dowd was the New England regional administrator of the Securities and Exchange Commission before becoming president of the Boston Stock Exchange. After retiring as exchange president, he became consultant to the American Stock Exchange and a director of Federated Investors Inc., the Dresdner R.C.M. Europe Fund.

Kenneth D. Glancy

Recording Executive

Kenneth Donald Glancy, 74, a former RCA Records president who helped the careers of such artists as David Bowie and Cleo Laine, died May 23 in New York. The cause of death was not reported.

He was in charge of the artists and repertory of Columbia Records, Columbia's European operations and, in the 1970s, all of RCA's labels worldwide. In 1980, he formed his own Finesse label and issued albums by Mel Torme, the Modern Jazz Quartet and Paul Desmond. He retired in the early 1990s.

Mr. Glancy began working for Columbia as a salesman and then Midwestern sales manager. He traveled to London in the 1960s and helped revive the flagging British division by promoting a series of hit records.

George C. Towner

Navy Admiral

George Crosby Towner, 98, a retired Navy vice admiral who had served from 1957 to 1960 as assistant chief of Naval Operations for general planning, died of congestive heart failure May 25 at the nursing facility at Goodwin House West in Falls Church.

Adm. Towner, who had been in Goodwin House since returning to this area in February from Seattle, had served as 13th Naval District commandant in Seattle.

He retired from that post in 1963 after 43 years of Navy service.

Charles F. McErlean Sr.

Airline Executive

Charles F. McErlean Sr., 87, former president of the parent company of United Airlines, UAL Corp., died May 21 at his home in Oak Brook, Ill.

The cause of death was not reported.

He graduated from Georgetown University law school and worked for the National Labor Relations Board before he was hired in 1945 by W.A. Patterson, founder of United Airlines.

Mr. McErlean started the company's legal department and held several jobs in the next few decades, including vice president, senior vice president and member of the company's board of directors. He rose to United vice chairman and UAL president.

Kent Hollingsworth


Kent Hollingsworth, 69, who shaped the Blood-Horse weekly magazine into one of thoroughbred racing's most respected trade journals, died May 26 in Lexington, Ky. The cause of death was not reported.

He was editor, then publisher of the Blood-Horse from 1963 to 1986. When he became editor, the magazine had a circulation of 6,800 and a staff of 30.

When he departed as publisher 23 years later, the circulation had reached 21,700 and the staff numbered 101.

Under his leadership, the magazine expanded its reputation as an authoritative source of information, commentary, statistics and analysis on thoroughbred racing and breeding. He wrote the "What's Going On Here?" column.