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Obituaries of note

Compiled from Times wires

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 9, 2003


G. STUART KEITH, 71, a champion bird-watcher who was a founder of the American Birding Association and who at one time had a good claim to having seen more birds than anyone else alive, died Feb. 13 while on a bird-watching expedition to the Micronesian island of Chuuk, sometimes called Truk, in the Pacific Ocean. He lived in Redding, Calif. The cause was a heart attack, said his wife, Sallyann, who was with him on the trip. In the 1970s, he was the first person to report seeing 4,000 species, and the Guinness Book of World Records then credited him with having spotted more different kinds of birds than anyone else in the world. At the time of his death, Keith was credited with having seen more than 6,500 bird species, or about two-thirds of the roughly 9,000 species that, according the American Museum of Natural History, exist today.

KEMMONS WILSON, 90, who founded the Holiday Inn chain of motels, died Feb. 12 in Memphis. A high-school dropout, he revolutionized the hospitality industry and created one of America's best-known brand names. Starting with a single inn outside Memphis, he built his company into a worldwide behemoth by bringing affordable and comfortable lodging to millions of travelers. When he left the company in 1980 after a heart attack, it had more than 1,750 inns. Today, there are Holiday Inns in every state and more than 50 countries.

DR. ALEXANDER R. STOKES, 83, the scientist and mathematician who discerned in 1950 that DNA is helical in shape and provided a solid foundation for the discovery of the double helix three years later, died in Welwyn Garden City, a London suburb, on Feb. 5.

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