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updated: 1/5/2013 4:12 PM

Notable deaths last week

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  • Associated Press/1958 Singer Patti Page, who made "Tennessee Waltz" the third best-selling recording ever, has died. She was 85.

    Associated Press/1958 Singer Patti Page, who made "Tennessee Waltz" the third best-selling recording ever, has died. She was 85.

From Daily Herald news wires

Unforgettable songs like "Tennessee Waltz" and "(How Much Is That) Doggie in the Window?" made Patti Page the best-selling female singer of the 1950s and a star who would spend much of the rest of her life traveling the world.

Page died on New Year's Day in Encinitas, Calif., according to publicist Schatzi Hageman, ending one of pop music's most diverse careers. She was 85 and just five weeks away from being honored at the Grammy Awards with a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Recording Academy.

"Tennessee Waltz" scored the rare achievement of reaching No. 1 on the pop, country and R&B charts simultaneously and was officially adopted as one of two official songs by the state of Tennessee. Its reach was so powerful, six other artists reached the charts the following year with covers.

Gerda Lerner spent her 18th birthday in a Nazi prison, sharing a cell with two gentile women arrested for political work who shared their food with the Jewish teenager because jailers restricted rations for Jews.

Lerner would say years later that the women taught her during those six weeks how to survive and that the experience taught her how society can manipulate people.

The author, who died Wednesday at age 92, was a founding member of the National Organization for Women and is credited with creating the nation's first graduate program in women's history, in the 1970s in New York.

Rita Levi-Montalcini, a biologist who conducted underground research in defiance of Fascist persecution and went on to win a Nobel Prize for helping unlock the mysteries of the cell, died at her home in Rome. She was 103 and had worked well into her final years.

Italy's so-called "Lady of the Cells," a Jew who lived through anti-Semitic discrimination and the Nazi invasion, became one of her country's leading scientists and shared the Nobel medicine prize in 1986 with American biochemist Stanley Cohen for their groundbreaking research carried out in the United States.

Her research increased the understanding of many conditions, including tumors, developmental malformations, and senile dementia.

Jim Davenport, an Associated Press reporter who worked doggedly to inform people in South Carolina about what their governors, lawmakers and other powerful officials were doing with their tax money and their influence, died Monday. He was 54. Davenport died after having cancer for two years.

Davenport not only was the first reporter to tell the world in 2009 that Gov. Mark Sanford had been missing for a couple of days, but he followed the story for years. Davenport revealed that Sanford used taxpayer money to upgrade himself to business or first-class on flights and use the state plane for personal trips. That led to Sanford paying a $74,000 fine, the biggest ethics penalty in state history.

Pete Elliott, the longest-tenured executive director in the Pro Football Hall of Fame's history, has died. He was 86. Elliott served as the museum's director from 1979-1996 and continued as a member of the Hall's board of trustees in his retirement. Elliott also was head football coach at Illinois from 1960-66. He was enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

Lewis Adam, a veteran fuel trader and president of supply consultant ADMO Energy LLC of Kansas City, Missouri, died on Jan. 2, on the first day of his retirement. He was 68.

Adam and his partner, Steve Mosby, founded ADMO Energy in 2005 to provide their analysis of supply, trading and risk management to retailers, marketers and distributors. The subscription-only Energy Tracks commentary reports daily on New York Mercantile Exchange prices for gasoline, heating oil and crude oil, as well as cash markets.

Sergiu Nicolaescu, a prolific and popular Romanian director known for his historical epics who also served as a Senator, died Thursday. He was 82. Nicolaescu quit politics in December, having been Senator for the Social Democracy Party since 1992. Nicolaescu made some 50 movies in his lifetime, and despite his career in politics, continued to direct films such as the "Orient Express" in 2004.

He was best known for historical films, which found favor with the Communist regime before it collapsed in 1989. His 1979 movie "Mihai the Brave" is considered a cinematic classic in Romania.

A 114-year-old South Carolina woman who was the oldest living U.S. citizen has died.

Two daughters say Mamie Rearden of Edgefield, who held the title as the oldest person in the country for about two weeks, has died.

The Gerontology Research Group listed Rearden as the oldest living U.S. citizen after last month's passing of 115-year-old Dina Manfredini of Iowa. Rearden was more than a year younger than the world's oldest person, 115-year-old Jiroemon Kimura of Japan.

A funeral home says Mayetta Epps-Miller has died. Epps-Miller was recognized as the oldest Illinois resident in January of last year. At that time, she was also listed as the 14th oldest living American. The supercentenarian -- a term referring to anyone over the age of 110 -- was born April 15, 1901.

Oscar-winning sound editor Mike Hopkins, who worked on the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and other Peter Jackson films, has died in a rafting accident in New Zealand. He was 53. Hopkins drowned on Sunday when his inflatable raft capsized during a flash flood in a river on New Zealand's North Island, police senior Sgt. Carolyn Watson said. His wife survived.

Author and scholar of Benjamin Franklin's papers Claude-Anne Lopez has died at age 92. Lopez started her studies of Franklin's papers at Yale University with secretarial-type work and rose to a top editor's job. Lopez spent years working on The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, a project at the university to collect, edit and publish Franklin's writings. She specialized in the American founding father's private life, and wrote a handful of books about him.

Michael Martinez, an editor and writer at the Reno Gazette-Journal for 12 years who specialized in community issues and was a jazz expert, died Wednesday from a stroke. He was 59. He worked at the Hollywood Reporter, Cash Box and the Los Angeles Times before becoming city editor at the Reno newspaper. He was the voice of Tito Jackson in the ABC "Jackson Five" Saturday morning cartoon from 1971-73.

Bryan Stoltenberg, an All-America offensive lineman for the Colorado Buffaloes, has died. He was 40. Stoltenberg recently underwent several surgeries after being in a car accident last month, the school said on its website. He died Friday at his home in Sugarland, Texas.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers center and coach Chuck Cherundolo has died in Florida at the age of 96. Cherundolo played for the Steelers in the 1940s, taking a break to serve in the Navy during World War II. In 2007, the Steelers named him to their legends team, representing the franchise's best players through 1970.

Former Patriots offensive guard Jack Davis has died at the age of 80. Davis, an original member of the team when it was formed in 1960 as the Boston Patriots of the American Football League, died on Jan. 1 in Palm Harbor, Fla., the club announced Friday. He played one pro season, appearing in 14 games for the Patriots.

Roger F. Coleman, a newspaper publisher in New York's Hudson Valley, has died. He was 61. The Southern Illinois University graduate was named publisher of the Hudson-Catskill Newspapers in 2004.

Thomas Schaeuble, the younger brother of Germany's finance minister and himself a longtime politician, has died at age 64. Schaeuble served as Baden-Wuerttemberg's state interior minister from 1996 to 2004. Since leaving the government, he had headed the state-owned Rothaus brewery.

South African-born former England captain and cricket commentator Tony Greig has died of a heart attack. He was 66. Hospital officials say he died Saturday morning after being rushed to St. Vincent's hospital following a heart attack at his Sydney home. He played 58 tests for England -- 14 as captain. In the 1980s, Greig joined Australia's Nine Network and his decades behind the microphone made him an institution in Australia's sports scene.

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