• U.S.

Milestones Apr. 11, 2005

4 minute read
Melissa August, Julie Rawe, Carolina A. Miranda, Patrick Stack, Harriet Barovick and Jeninne Lee-St.John

PLEADED GUILTY. SANDY BERGER, 59, former National Security Adviser; to removing classified documents from the National Archives in 2003 and destroying some with scissors; after previously calling what he did an “honest mistake”; in Washington. The documents concerned actions taken by the Clinton Administration to deter terrorism. If the deal is approved, Berger will pay a $10,000 fine and surrender his security clearance for three years.

DIED. TERRI SCHIAVO, 41, at a hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla., 13 days after her feeding tube was disconnected following a court order sought by her husband and guardian Michael; after a wrenching family and judicial battle that pitted Michael against Terri’s parents and siblings and, ultimately, some members of Congress.

DIED. JOHNNIE COCHRAN, 67, savvy, media-friendly attorney renowned for his resplendent dress and seemingly effortless charm with juries; of an inoperable brain tumor diagnosed in 2003; at his home in Los Angeles. Born in Shreveport, La., a great-grandson of slaves, Cochran won recognition after suing police departments for abuse in the 1960s and proudly displayed copies of his plaintiffs’ multimillion-dollar checks in his office. His fame crested in 1995 after his successful defense of O.J. Simpson, against seemingly overwhelming evidence, of charges that he murdered his ex-wife and her friend. Cochran’s signature line, a reference to a blood-stained glove: “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.”

DIED. ROBERT CREELEY, 78, among the most influential American poets of the past half-century and the 1999 winner of the Bollingen Prize, poetry’s top honor; of pneumonia; in Odessa, Texas. Rejecting the strict metric schemes of the academics, Creeley captured emotions with a spare, conversational style that assumed an intimacy with readers. In A Wicker Basket, he wrote, “There are very huge stars, man, in the sky/ and from somewhere very far off someone hands me a slice of apple pie.”

DIED. HOWELL HEFLIN, 83, chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court turned three-term Senator from Alabama; in Sheffield, Ala. A conservative Democrat, he voted against the nominations of Judges Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas and was a consistent supporter of black colleges and civil rights, including fair-housing legislation and a national holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

DIED. FRANK PERDUE, 84, folksy chicken tycoon; in Salisbury, Md.; of an undisclosed ailment. Perdue helped his father turn the family’s chicken-raising business into a brand-name poultry powerhouse. His company’s ubiquitous TV ads featured a crusty Perdue uttering the slogan “It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken,” and sales took wing, from $56 million in 1970 to more than $1.2 billion in 1991, when he turned over daily operations of the company to his son Jim.

DIED. FRED KOREMATSU, 86, Japanese American whose refusal to report to an internment center became a haunting symbol of civil rights repression during World War II; of a respiratory illness; in Larkspur, Calif. In May 1942, the Oakland, Calif., welder resisted pleas from compliant friends and declined to be sent to a camp. Eventually arrested, Korematsu lost a Supreme Court challenge to the policy, but in 1983 newly discovered documents showing the government had lied to the high court led to the overturning of his conviction. He later helped win reparations for internees and was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.

DIED. ANDREW TOTI, 89, whose invention, the Mae West inflatable flotation vest (so dubbed by wearers who likened its shape to the chesty film star), saved many downed Allied pilots in World War II, among them George H.W. Bush, who later thanked Toti publicly; in Modesto, Calif.

DIED. GEORGEANNA JONES, 92, one of the country’s first reproductive endocrinologists; in Norfolk, Va. She and her husband Howard Jones started the life of the first U.S.-born “test tube” baby, Elizabeth J. Carr, on Dec. 28, 1981, through in-vitro fertilization.

By Melissa August, Harriet Barovick, Jeninne Lee-St. John, Carolina A. Miranda, Julie Rawe and Patrick Stack

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