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Obituaries of note

By Times Wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 15, 2003

Tony Roma, whose casual rib joint became an international restaurant empire after it caught the attention of a Texas financier in the 1970s, died Friday (June 13, 2003) of lung cancer at a hospice. He was 78.

Roma opened his first barbecue restaurant in North Miami in the early 1970s, according to his company's Web site. The restaurant originally specialized in steaks and burgers, but that changed when Roma and his chef decided to offer barbecued ribs as a weekend special.

The ribs proved so popular that they came to dominate the menu, and Roma's restaurants eventually opened across the United States, in Japan, England and Canada.

The company went international after the late Texas financier and Dallas Cowboys owner Clint Murchison Jr. visited Miami for the 1976 Super Bowl and stopped at Roma's restaurant.

He enjoyed the food so much, according to the corporate Web site, that he purchased the majority U.S. franchise rights from Roma and established a jointly owned company. The restaurants now number more than 250.

DONALD DUNCAN JR., 75, whose father founded the company that churned out millions of Duncan yo-yos beginning in the 1920s, died Thursday in a car accident, police said. Duncan and his wife Donna, 72, both of Bartlesville, Okla., were killed on Interstate 10 when their sport-utility vehicle flipped after it drifted into the highway median, state police Lt. Robert Shilling said. Duncan's father, Donald Duncan Sr., founded Duncan Toys Co., which started producing yo-yos in the United States in the 1920s. The senior Duncan said he was inspired to produce the toys after seeing a Philippine immigrant use one to entertain a crowd.

THOMAS OLIVER MARSHALL JR., 82, a former chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court who played a role in the political career of former President Jimmy Carter, died Thursday after complications from surgery. Marshall was a lawyer before being elected to the Superior Court in 1960 and to the Georgia Court of Appeals in 1974. His best-known ruling was in 1962 in a Sumter County election fraud case in a state Senate race. Marshall ruled there was evidence of "a clear case of election fraud" and awarded the seat to Carter.

DR. RADFORD CHAPPLE TANZER, 97, a pioneer in reconstructive surgery, died Thursday. Tanzer was a founding member of the American Board of Plastic Surgery and President of the American Association of Plastic Surgeons. Tanzer's pioneering work was in ear reconstruction.

SCOTT JERNIGAN, 28, drummer of the 1990s heavy rock band Karp, died Tuesday in a boating crash at Seattle. A 24-foot cabin cruiser in which he was riding rammed a dock at the University of Washington crew house, sailed into the air and smashed into a tree. He got national attention with the release of Karp albums Mustaches Wild, Suplex and Self Titled and a seven-inch 45-rpm record, We Tear Apart. Karp formed in 1993 and disbanded in 1999.

WINTHROP P. BAKER JR., 72, a former president of Westinghouse Broadcasting and a broadcast pioneer, died June 7.

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