Browsing: obituary

Beth Daley, investigations director at POGO, passes away

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Beth Daley, the director of investigations at the watchdog group Project on Government Oversight, died yesterday after a seven-year fight with breast cancer. POGO said one of the highlights of Daley’s career was her work exposing the oil industry’s underpayment of royalties from drilling on federal and Indian lands. POGO’s lawsuit ended up netting $440 million for the federal government in a case that still reverberates today. “Beth’s death is a crushing loss for the POGO family,” Executive Director Danielle Brian said in a statement released today. “Both as a colleague and as a friend, Beth’s fierce passion for POGO’s…

Cult comic writer, VA clerk Harvey Pekar dead at 70

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Harvey Pekar, the sarcastic and irritable writer who chronicled his life and experiences as a Veterans Affairs Department file clerk in the underground comic book American Splendor, was found dead this morning at age 70. Pekar’s darkly humorous comic was about as far from standard superhero fare as could be. Besides his misadventures at the Cleveland VA, he wrote about his everyday troubles and anxieties, battles with cancer, family life, and love of jazz. But although his collaborations with artists such as Robert Crumb brought him fame (and several notorious appearances on David Letterman’s show), Pekar had to keep working…

NASA "pad fuehrer" Guenter Wendt dead at 85

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Guenter Wendt, a NASA contractor who was in charge of launch pad activity during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, passed away today at 85. The German-born Wendt ruled his launch pads with an iron fist — so much so that astronauts affectionately dubbed him the “pad fuehrer.” “It’s easy to get along with Guenter,” astronaut Pete Conrad once said. “All you have to do is agree with him.” But deep down, astronauts such as Wally Schirra and Gordon Cooper appreciated his attention to detail and his dogged enforcement of the rules designed to keep them alive. As Wendt said…

Robert McNamara, former Defense Secretary, dead at 93

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Robert McNamara, the controversial former Defense Secretary who spent his twilight years apologizing for escalating the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War, died early this morning in Washington. He was 93 years old. McNamara was a top manager at the Ford Motor Co. and had just taken over the company in 1960 when President John F. Kennedy tapped him to run the Pentagon. According to the Washington Post, McNamara used his considerable management skills to tame the military’s massive bureaucracy: At the Pentagon, McNamara quickly put his own stamp on the sprawling military bureaucracy in what amounted to a management…

Just in: NFFE President Richard Brown dies at 47

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Just in: The National Federation of Federal Employees’ president, Richard Brown, died Tuesday afternoon. He was 47. Brown was found unresponsive in his Arlington, Va., apartment, said Secretary-Treasurer William Dougan in a press release. Dougan praised Brown’s efforts to revitalize NFFE and getting the union out of debt. He said Brown was a fearless champion for federal workers and will be missed. Never one to back down, Rick was a strong presence in the fight against several federal workforce initiatives aimed at contracting out federal government jobs and eliminating federal employees’ unions. His most impressive work was done in opposition…

FBI's Mark Felt, AKA Deep Throat, dead at 95

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Mark Felt, the former associate director of the FBI who helped break the Watergate scandal, died yesterday at 95. Felt, who for decades hid his role in the scandal and was known only as Deep Throat, was the consummate whistleblower. As a career agent and the number two man at the FBI, Felt had firsthand knowledge of how the Nixon administration tried to sabotage the Bureau’s investigation into the Watergate burglary. He used that information to guide Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they dug into the scandal. Felt’s “Deep Throat” moniker, which was given to him…