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Obituaries of note

By Wire services
Published September 25, 2003

SONORA WEBSTER CARVER, 99, the first woman to ride the diving horses at Steel Pier in Atlantic City, N.J., and the inspiration for the 1991 Disney movie Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken, died Sunday in Pleasantville, N.J. In 1931, she went blind from detached retinas suffered after one of her horses, Red Lips, hit the water off-balance. She continued to ride the high-diving horses until World War II. The attraction was discontinued in the 1970s after complaints from animal rights activists. Her 1961 autobiography, A Girl and Five Brave Horses, was the inspiration for the Disney film.

KATHLEEN "KIT" GINGRICH, 77, the mother of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who led a Republican rise to power in Congress, died Tuesday in Harrisburg, Pa. She received national attention in 1995 when she told television journalist Connie Chung that her son had used the word "b----" to describe Hillary Rodham Clinton. Chung was criticized for airing the remark, having told Mrs. Gingrich it would be "just between you and me."

HUGH GREGG, 85, a former New Hampshire governor and father of Republican U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, died Wednesday at a hospital in Lebanon, N.H. At age 34 he became New Hampshire's youngest governor in 1953, serving until 1955.

JUAN PEREZ FRANCO, 75, a Cuban exile leader and paratrooper during the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, died Friday in Miami. The longtime president of Brigade 2506, the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association, he played a key role in many South Florida demonstrations against Cuban President Fidel Castro.

GARNER TED ARMSTRONG, 73, a silver-haired television evangelist known for his easy charm and dark message, died Sept. 15 in Tyler, Texas. He founded two independent ministries and was once the voice of the religious television program World Tomorrow. He started the Church of God International in 1978 after his father, Herbert Armstrong, founder of the Pasadena, Calif.-based Worldwide Church of God, excommunicated him.

JAY MORTON, 92, who coined the famous "faster than a speeding bullet" introduction for the animated Superman cartoons, died Sept. 6 in Charlotte, N.C. He also wrote about 25 of the early animated Superman cartoons, in which he initially described the comic book superhero as "faster than a streak of lightning, more powerful than the pounding surf, mightier than a roaring hurricane, this amazing stranger from the Planet Krypton, Superman." But he soon reworked the introduction to the now-familiar: "Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. ..."

ROBERT H. LOCHNER, 84, who as John F. Kennedy's interpreter helped the president practice his famous 1963 "Ich bin ein Berliner" speech, has died, his family said Monday in Berlin. He was head of a radio station in the American sector of West Berlin during Kennedy's visit to West Germany during the Cold War. The high point was Kennedy's electrifying June 26, 1963, speech in West Berlin less than two years after East Germany built the Berlin Wall.

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