• U.S.

Milestones Nov. 7, 2005

3 minute read
Melissa August, Elizabeth L. Bland, Clayton Neuman, Harriet Barovick, Logan Orlando and Arlyn Tobias Gajilan

RULED NEGLIGENT. THE PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY, which owned and operated the World Trade Center; in the 1993 truck-bomb explosion in the building’s underground garage that killed six and injured 1,000; after a long-awaited four-week trial, in a victory that clears the way for damage suits for victims of the attack; in New York City. Plaintiffs’ attorneys, seeking a total of up to $1.8 billion, said the agency ignored warnings from its own experts of such an attack.

DIED. RICHARD SMALLEY, 62, nanotechnology pioneer who shared a Nobel Prize with fellow chemists Robert Curl and Sir Harold Kroto for discovering a highly stable, soccer-ball-shaped carbon molecule, a cylindrical version of which–100,000 times thinner than a human hair–can conduct electricity; of cancer; in Houston. The playful professor–among the honors listed on his curriculum vitae is Rice University Homecoming Queen–dubbed the molecule buckminsterfullerene because it resembled the geodesic domes of architect Buckminster Fuller.

DIED. ROBERT JOHNSTON, 77, archaeologist whose work in digitally restoring and decoding manuscripts that had faded or blackened over time resulted in new glimpses into such texts as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Papyrus documents, which chronicled daily life in ancient Egypt; in Brighton, N.Y.

DIED. LEN DRESSLAR, 80, booming voice behind advertising’s leaf-clad Jolly Green Giant, the Rice Krispies’ Snap and other pitchmen; in Palm Springs, Calif. The jazz baritone often joked that his tuneful rendition of the vegetable-peddling giant’s “Ho, ho, ho!” put his two daughters through college.

DIED. MICHAEL WARD, 80, British surgeon and mountain climber whose expertise in both areas made possible the historic first ascent of Mount Everest in 1953; in West Sussex, England. Although medical duties kept Ward from the summit, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay conquered it using Ward’s expertise in high-altitude medicine and, more important, the route he devised to the summit using an archival map he had unearthed in Nepal.

DIED. WELLINGTON MARA, 89, legendary longtime owner of the New York Giants and Hall of Fame patriarch of the National Football League; in Rye, N.Y. By agreeing to a key deal in 1961 allowing all teams, many in considerably smaller markets, to split TV profits, Mara–who joined the Giants as a water boy at age 9 when his father bought the team for $500–ensured the competition, stability and survival of the now formidable NFL. Reserved but paternal, he paid former Giants players’ medical bills, employed veterans as scouts and over 80 years attended most practices and almost every game, including six NFL championship crowns.

DIED. RONG YIREN, 89, the original “red capitalist” who helped open China’s economy to the world; in Beijing. Rong, who opted to stay on the mainland after the 1949 communist takeover while other industrialists fled abroad, was forced to sweep streets and haul coal during the Cultural Revolution before he was rehabilitated by Deng Xiaoping to help promote international commerce during the economic reforms of the 1980s. His China International Trust & Investment Corporation became a key player in attracting foreign capital, and although the billionaire was never a member of the Communist Party, he served as China’s Vice President from 1993 to 1998.

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