John Philip Thompson

7-Eleven Chief

John Philip Thompson, 77, who expanded his family's business into the worldwide 7-Eleven business, the world's largest convenience store chain, died of brain cancer Jan. 28 in at his home in Dallas.

His father started the company and built it into about 400 stores by the 1950s. After college and Navy service, the younger Mr. Thompson joined the company, becoming president and chief executive in 1961 and board chairman in 1969. He served as vice chairman from 1991 until retiring in 1996.

Mr. Thompson was at the helm during a worldwide expansion in which the chain grew to 5,000 stores by 1988. He also was in charge in 1990 when the company was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company, which was taken over by two Japanese corporations, now has more than 24,000 stores. In 2001, it had sales of $31 billion.

Joseph W. Lippincott Jr.


Joseph Wharton Lippincott Jr., 88, a retired board chairman and president of the J.B. Lippincott publishing company, died of a respiratory ailment Jan. 25 in Bryn Mawr, Pa.

He was the fourth generation of his family to head the firm, and the last to run it before it was sold to what was then Harper & Row in 1978, the year he retired as chairman. Under his leadership, the firm launched educational products, expanded outside the United States and published popular novels.

Mr. Lippincott, whose family founded the firm in 1785, was a great-grandson of Joseph Wharton, who founded the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College.

Ruth L. Swanson Venn

Archway Executive

Ruth L. Swanson Venn, 93, whose Archway Cookie Co. became known throughout the United States and Canada for its soft, chewy cookies, died Jan. 27 in Battle Creek, Mich. The cause of death was not reported.

She and her husband moved to Battle Creek in 1936 and started baking, wrapping and delivering doughnuts to local stores. They later did the same with cookies. The family business eventually became Archway.

Ms. Swanson Venn was the company's president from 1954 until retiring in 1988. In 2000, an Italian food company, Parmalat SpA, purchased Archway. Archway's headquarters remain in Battle Creek, where it employs about 80 people.

Jaromir Obzina

Interior Minister

Jaromir Obzina, the communist interior minister of Czechoslovakia from 1973 to 1983, who was accused of crushing dissent by abusing his power, died of cancer Jan. 24 at a hospital in Prague.

He was charged with abuse of power in 2001 for his role in an operation to crush political dissent between 1978 and 1984. The prosecution was suspended last year after a judge ordered an investigation into whether he should be granted immunity because he served in Czechoslovakia's parliament between 1973 and 1989.

The operation, code-named "Asanace" (Sanitation), used threats and harsh interrogations to intimidate dissidents into leaving the country. Those targeted included friends of Czech President Vaclav Havel, the dissident playwright who became the first post-communist head of state of Czechoslovakia before that country split in two in 1993.

John Browning


John Browning, 69, a Grammy-winning pianist who performed professionally for six generations and whose style has been called reserved, elegant and penetrating, died Jan. 27 in Sister Bay, Wis. The cause of death was not reported.

He stole the spotlight in 1956 with a silver medal in the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition in Brussels. He made his professional orchestral debut with the New York Philharmonic the same year.

In 1962, Mr. Browning gave the premiere of Samuel Barber's Pulitzer Prize-winning Piano Concerto, which was written for him, in connection with the opening of Lincoln Center. His second recording of the work, with Leonard Slatkin and the St. Louis Symphony in 1991, won a Grammy for best instrumental soloist with orchestra. Mr. Browning won a second Grammy in 1993.

Natalia Dudinskaya

Ballerina and Teacher

Natalia Dudinskaya, 90, a renowned Russian ballerina and the teacher of some of the nation's most acclaimed dancers, died Jan. 29 in St. Petersburg. The cause of death was not reported.

She began her career at the Mariinsky Theater, then known as the Kirov, in 1931 and went on to dance leading roles, including Odette in Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" and Princess Aurora in "The Sleeping Beauty."

In 1946, she became the first to dance the part of Cinderella in Konstantin Sergeyev's staging of the fairy tale to Sergei Prokofiev's music.

Alexander Thomas

Child Psychiatrist

Alexander Thomas, 89, a New York child psychiatrist who studied the human temperament and who often collaborated with his wife, child psychiatrist Stella Chess, on work and research, died Jan. 29 in a hospital in New York. The cause of death was not reported.

The couple wrote papers and books based on their research. "Origins and Evolution of Behavior Disorders" (1987), "Temperament: Theory and Practice" (1996) and "Temperament in Clinical Practice" (1995) are still in print.

From 1968 to 1978, Dr. Thomas served in New York as Bellevue Hospital's director of psychiatry. During his tenure, he co-wrote "Racism and Psychiatry" (1972), which explored the effect of white racist attitudes on the mental health field.

Mary Ellis


Mary Ellis, 102, the American-born British actress for whom Ivor Novello wrote two hit musicals, "Glamorous Night" and "The Dancing Years," died Jan. 30 at her home in London. The cause of death was not reported.

She acted in New York before moving to England in 1920. The next year, she had her first London success in Eugene O'Neill's "Strange Interlude." Critics say the high point of her career was as the embittered Millie Crocker-Harris in Terence Rattigan's play "The Browning Version" in 1938.

Later performances in straight drama included works by Ibsen, Shaw and O'Neill. Her last part in London's West End was as Eliza Gent in "Look Homeward Angel" in 1962. She published her autobiography, "Those Dancing Years," in 1982 and appeared in a new TV series of Sherlock Holmes adventures in 1993.

Allan Fromme

Clinical Psychologist

Allan Fromme, 87, a noted clinical psychologist and the author of eight books on relationships and child care, including "The ABC of Child Care" in 1960, "The Ability to Love" in 1963 and "Understanding the Sexual Response in Humans" in 1966, died Jan. 30 in Sarasota, Fla. The cause of death was not reported.

Dr. Fromme, who moved to Sarasota in 1976, had a psychotherapy practice for 50 years. He taught at City College of New York, Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University. He also served as chief psychologist at the Child Guidance Clinic of St. Luke's Hospital and director of the Mental Hygiene Clinic of the University Settlement House, both in New York.