Antoni Escriba, 73, an award-winning pastry chef who worked wonders with chocolate and once used it to fashion a replica of the Vatican, died Sept. 6 while visiting a Salvador Dali museum with his wife and grandson in Cadaques, Spain. He suffered a fatal head injury.
During a career spanning 60 years, Mr. Escriba received honors as a master chef from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, and a cultural medal from the Barcelona town council.
Although he came from a family of pastry chefs, he wanted to be a sculptor. The death of two siblings forced him into the family business. Over time, he melded his passions by becoming what he called a sculptor of chocolate.
He gave many lectures in which he vehemently defended use of high-quality chocolate instead of cheap, adulterated versions.
Culinary Author, Entrepreneur
Maggie Gin, 70, a San Francisco food entrepreneur who wrote cookbooks, ran a restaurant and created a line of Asian cooking sauces, died Sept. 4 at a hospital in nearby Napa of injuries sustained that day when her car collided with a tanker truck carrying red wine.
The accident, in which 3,000 gallons of wine spilled onto a highway, was under investigation, a Napa police official told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Ms. Gin created the Maggie Gin line of cooking sauces, operated Maggie Gin's Chinese Food Restaurant in Napa Valley and wrote several cookbooks, including "Regional Cooking of China" and "One Pot Meals." She also was a prominent supporter of the San Francisco opera and symphony.
Circus Family Matriarch
Irene Bale, 87, a circus acrobat, animal rider, trapeze artist and trick bicycle rider who belonged to a longtime circus family, died Sept. 2 at her home in Venice, Fla., of complications of Alzheimer's disease.
The Bale family, whose circus roots go back 350 years, was inducted into the Circus Ring of Fame in 2003.
Mrs. Bale, who was born in London, was an acrobat before her marriage to E. Trevor Bale, a former animal trainer and ringmaster with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. As a circus entertainer, she performed the "iron jaw," hanging by her teeth above audiences.
She put her 7-week-old daughter in an elephant act in the show. Two of her daughters still perform with the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus, and a third daughter stopped performing a few years ago to care for Mrs. Bale.
Her son, Edwin T. "Trevor" Bale, was paralyzed from the waist down while performing a human cannonball act in 1987. He works as director and vice president of operations of the Clyde Beatty-Cole Bros. Circus.
Morey L. Sear
Morey L. Sear, 75, a former chief judge of the Eastern Judicial District of Louisiana who presided over a 1981 trial that sent New Orleans crime boss Carlos Marcello to prison, died Sept. 5 at a nursing home of complications from a fall, it was reported in New Orleans.
Marcello and Charles E. Roemer II, a former state commissioner of administration, were convicted during a trial in Judge Sear's court in 1981 of conspiring to use bribes and kickbacks to obtain a state insurance contract. Although Roemer and Marcello went to prison, their convictions were later overturned by an appeals court decision.
Before Judge Sear was appointed to the federal bench in 1976 by President Gerald R. Ford, he served as an infantry officer and later as a military prosecutor in the Marine Corps. He also served as chief federal judge in the Panama Canal Zone from 1978 to 1982, when the court closed in accordance with the treaty that turned the canal over to Panama.