Rathvon McClure Tompkins

Marine Corps General

Rathvon McClure Tompkins, 87, a retired Marine Corps major general who in 36 years of active duty became a highly decorated combat veteran of three wars, died Sept. 17 in Lexington, S.C., after a stroke.

He served in the Pacific during World War II. He received the Navy Cross, the corps' highest award for valor except for the Medal of Honor, for his heroism on Saipan, a Silver Star at Tarawa and a Bronze Star at Guadalcanal.

During the Korean War, he commanded the 5th Marines of the 1st Marine Division.

In 1967, he went to South Vietnam as commander of the 3rd Marine Division, Reinforced. He commanded the division during the Tet Offensive and the siege of Khe Sanh. Gen. Tompkins retired from active duty in 1971, after two years as base commander of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Charles Trinkaus

Renaissance Scholar

Charles Trinkaus, 87, a past president of the Renaissance Society of America who had taught history at Sarah Lawrence College from 1936 to 1970 and then at the University of Michigan until 1982, died Sept. 15 at a hospital in New York. The cause of death was not reported.

He played a role in the growth of Renaissance historical scholarship in North America in the 1940s and 1950s. His first book, "Adversity's Noblemen: The Italian Humanists on Happiness" (1940), was acclaimed by scholars for its criticism of past academic views of Renaissance humanism.

In 1970, Dr. Trinkaus published the two-volume work "In Our Image and Likeness: Humanity and Divinity in Italian Humanist Thought," which reevaluated religious aspects of the Italian Renaissance. "Collected Works of Erasmus: Controversies" was published this year.

Karl H. Menges

German Linguist

Karl H. Menges, 91, a German linguist who gained international recognition as an expert in Central Asian and Turkic languages, died Sept. 20 in Vienna, Austria. The cause of death was not reported.

Dr. Menges fled his native Germany to Czechoslovakia to escape the Nazi dictatorship. He later relocated to Turkey.

In 1940, he began teaching Altaic languages -- a group including 30 Turkic, five Mongol and six Tungusic subgroups -- at Columbia University in New York. He stayed at the university for 36 years. In 1976, he moved to Austria to become a professor at the University of Vienna.