Linda Pezzano

Game Marketer

Linda Pezzano, 54, whose unconventional marketing strategy launched the board-game phenomenon Trivial Pursuit, which grossed $1.4 billion by selling 40 million games in 36 months, died of cervical cancer Oct. 26 in New York.

Ms. Pezzano founded her own marketing and public relations company, Pezzano Co., in the early 1980s.

One of her first projects was to devise a sales plan for Trivial Pursuit for a company, Selchow & Righter, that could not afford a glitzy advertising campaign.

She convinced company officials to distribute free copies to a select group of people, including 70 Hollywood stars mentioned in the game, who were chosen for their ability to influence public opinion. Several of the stars liked the game so much that they sent the company thank-you letters, which Pezzano promptly used in promotions.

Thondaman Saumyamoorthy

Sri Lankan Official

Thondaman Saumyamoorthy, 87, one of Sri Lanka's best-known moderate Tamil leaders and trade unionists, died of a heart ailment Oct. 30 in a hospital in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

In 1998, as the head of the Ceylon Workers Congress, the most powerful labor union in Sri Lanka, he led 600,000 tea and rubber plantation workers on a nine-day strike for higher wages.

The workers got their raise, and the strike caused export losses of $60 million.

He first was elected to Parliament in 1947. In 1977, then-President Junius R. Jayewardene appointed him minister of rural industrial development. During the same period, he also served as minister of textiles. Even as a Cabinet minister, Mr. Saumyamoorthy remained fiercely independent, leading the trade union in clashes with the government.

Durward `Woody' Varner

University President

Durward Belmont "Woody" Varner, 82, who served as president of the University of Nebraska from 1970 to 1977, died Oct. 30 in Lincoln, Neb. He had Parkinson's disease.

Before taking over as Nebraska president, the Texas native served as chancellor of Oakland University in Rochester, Mich., from 1959 to 1970. In 1977, he was named board chairman of the University of Nebraska Foundation.

Richard Estrada

Newspaper Columnist

Richard Estrada, 49, an associate editor of the Dallas Morning News who also wrote a weekly column for The Washington Post Writers Group that appeared in 25 newspapers across the country, died Oct. 29 in Dallas after an apparent heart attack.

Mr. Estrada was born in Lordsburg, N.M., the son of Mexican immigrants, and he became the first member of his family to receive a college degree. He joined the News in 1988 after teaching school in El Paso.