John Peel

Disc Jockey

John Peel, 65, a British Broadcasting Corp. disc jockey whose enthusiasm for the offbeat, the eclectic and the obscure launched the careers of dozens of bands, died of a heart attack Oct. 25, the BBC said.

Mr. Peel's program on Radio 1, the BBC's flagship pop music station, exerted a huge influence for more than 30 years. He was often the first to play demo tapes by little-known bands, and his enthusiasm propelled some to fame. He promoted reggae, hip-hop and punk on the sometimes-conservative BBC.

Born John Ravenscroft near Liverpool in 1939, he moved in the early 1960s to Dallas, then worked at stations in Oklahoma City and San Bernardino, Calif. Returning to Britain, he worked on the pirate station Radio London, broadcasting from a boat off the English coast, where he adopted the name John Peel. He joined the BBC in 1967.

Donald Crawford McCoy

Houseboat Owner

Donald Crawford McCoy, 72, the owner of the houseboat where Otis Redding purportedly wrote "The Dock of the Bay," died of a heart attack Oct. 11 in San Rafael, Calif.

McCoy, who was known as "Papa Don" and who ran a commune in Marin County in the 1960s, was a fourth-generation Californian. In 1961, the family moved to Marin, where Mr. McCoy and his brother developed the first modern houseboat marina at the Sausalito heliport. Some of the most popular musicians and performers of the day lived in the eclectic houseboat community, including comic Bill Cosby.

Dennis Nicholas Skiotis

Middle East Expert

Dennis Nicholas Skiotis, 67, a Harvard University faculty member, former president of Athens College in Greece and noted Middle East expert, died Oct. 19 of complications from pneumonia at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He had leukemia.

Mr. Skiotis, who provided commentary on military affairs at various times for the BBC, CNN, PBS and NPR, was at Harvard for 22 years. He was associate director of Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies from 1976 to 1985, and then director of undergraduate studies at Harvard's history department until 1998. From 1998 to 2003, Skiotis was president of Athens College in Greece, nearly 50 years after he won a scholarship to that school.

From 1974 through 1976, he was a U.S. Senate appointee as head of a mission to Cyprus, in which he investigated refugees and other issues surrounding Turkey's invasion of part of the island. His linguistic skills in Turkish and Greek proved invaluable in collecting information from both sides.

Bobby Avila

Batting Champion

Bobby "Beto" Avila, 78, a three-time Major League Baseball all-star who won the American League batting title in 1954, died Oct. 26 of complications from diabetes and a lung ailment, at a private clinic in the Mexican Gulf Coast city of Veracruz, the government news agency Notimex and the Televisa TV network reported.

He played second base for the Cleveland Indians from 1949 to 1958 and also played for the Baltimore Orioles, Milwaukee Braves and Boston Red Sox during 11 seasons in the major leagues.

Mr. Avila batted .341 to edge Ted Williams and Minnie Minoso for the AL batting title and help Cleveland win the pennant in 1954. He was the first Latino to win the batting crown. He played in the All-Star Game in 1952, 1954 and 1955. Mr. Avila played in more than 1,300 games and had a career batting average of .281 with 80 homers and 457 RBIs.

Dorothy Comstock Riley

Michigan Chief Justice

Dorothy Comstock Riley, 79, former chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, died Oct. 23, Michigan Republican Party officials said. A cause of death was not announced, but Riley retired from the court in 1997 a year after announcing she had Parkinson's disease.

Ms. Riley served from 1982 to 1983 and 1985 to 1997 on the Michigan Supreme Court, and was chief justice from 1987 to 1991. In 1976, she became the first woman justice on the Michigan Court of Appeals. The State Bar of Michigan presented Riley with its Distinguished Public Servant Award in 2000. She was a member of the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.

James Eaton Sr.


James Eaton Sr., 74, a historian at Florida A&M University who founded a black archives research center, died Oct. 26 at a Tallahassee, Fla., hospital. No cause of death was given.

Mr. Eaton, who taught at Florida A&M for 44 years, was selected "most outstanding teacher of the year" 25 times, the university said. The school said he never missed a day of class in more than 50 years of teaching.

Mr. Eaton served as founder, curator and director of the Southeastern Regional Black Archives Research Center and Museum. He was named the university's first "distinguished professor" in 1978.

A. David Mazzone

Federal Judge

A. David Mazzone, 76, the federal judge who guided the massive cleanup of Boston Harbor, died Oct. 25 at his home in Wakefield, Mass., of complications from cancer, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, First Circuit, announced.

In 1985, Mr. Mazzone ruled that wastewater discharges into the Boston Harbor by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority violated the federal Clean Water Act. The decision set in motion the ongoing cleanup, which is viewed widely as a success story.

Mr. Mazzone was appointed to the federal bench in 1978 by President Jimmy Carter. Between 1990 and 1997, he was a member and vice chair of the United States Sentencing Commission, which developed federal sentencing guidelines.