Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, the ruler of Abu Dhabi and the president of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), died on Nov. 2. Cause of death was not released. He was believed to be 86.
Born in Abu Dhabi town, Zayed was named after his famous grandfather, Zayed the Great, who ruled the emirate from 1855 to 1909. Zayed was the youngest of four sons of Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, ruler of Abu Dhabi from 1922 to 1926. After his father’s death in 1927, Zayed guided foreign crews into the desert to search for petroleum and served as the governor of Al Ain, an oasis area. In 1966, Zayed rose to power when his brother Sheikh Saqr was deposed in a bloodless coup.
Over the past four decades, Zayed turned Abu Dhabi into a progressive nation, one that welcomes expatriates of all faiths and allows a private media to thrive. As the country’s oil revenues increased over time, Zayed funneled some of that wealth into a massive construction program to build schools, housing, hospitals, cities and roads. He also encouraged a society of sexual equality; women serve in the country’s military and in law enforcement, and 99 percent of Abu Dhabi’s girls attend school.
Although Zayed amassed a fortune worth an estimated $20 billion, he always lived modestly. He married six times and fathered at least 40 children. A passion for hunting with falcons led Zayed to write the book “Falconry: Our Arab Heritage,” which was published in 1977. Zayed also supervised a program to breed 80 animal species and plant more than 150 million trees. The Worldwide Fund for Nature acknowledged his efforts in 1997 with the Gold Panda Award, its highest environmental prize.
Zayed has led the UAE since its formation in 1971. On Nov. 3, the UAE unanimously elected his eldest son Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan as the new president.
Robert P. Linn was a dedicated statesman. In 1995, he earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-serving mayor in the United States.
Linn was sworn into office 58 years ago in the town of Beaver, Pa., a small suburb of Pittsburgh. He didn’t want the job originally, but a group of Republicans encouraged him to run in order to unseat the incumbent. Linn even published a letter in the local newspaper that urged voters to elect his opponent. But the public preferred to honor his humility and gave him the job. He served for 15 consecutive terms.
During the course of his tenure, Linn converted the train station into a 9-1-1 headquarters and transformed the freight station into the Beaver Area Historical Museum. He also established Streetscape, a project that removed all of the utility poles lining the town’s Main Street. The holes left behind were then filled with trees and Victorian-style street lights.
Born in Burgettstown, Pa., Linn graduated from Beaver High School and Grove City College. He taught in Beaver Falls during the Great Depression, then worked for the Duquesne Light Co. as an appliance salesman for school home economics programs.
Linn died on Aug. 21. Cause of death was not released. He was 95.
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Thomas Klestil, the president of Austria, died on July 6 of multiple organ failure. He was 71.
Born in Vienna, Klestil studied economics at the College of World Trade. After earning a doctorate in commercial sciences, he took a civil service job with the Austrian Federal Chancellery. During the 1960s, Klestil worked as an attach
Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown was a conduit for social change. She was the first black woman to become a surgeon in the South, the first black woman elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives and the first single adoptive parent in that state.
Born out of wedlock and abandoned by her mother, Brown’s exact birth date is unknown. She was raised in orphanages and foster homes, but was smart enough to graduate from Bennett College for Women and Meharry Medical College.
Brown interned for a year at Harlem Hospital in New York City, yet was rejected when she applied for a surgical residency. At the time, many in the medical profession did not believe a woman, let alone a black woman, could handle the rigors of surgical training. Brown turned to Dr. Matthew Walker, Meharry Medical College’s longtime chief of surgery, for help.
Against the advice of his staff, Walker asked Brown to join the faculty. She became a professor of surgery in 1957, a job she held until 1983, and was the second black woman to be named a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Brown also held the position of chief of surgery at Riverside Hospital in Nashville for 25 years.
Her tenure in the political arena was short-lived, but remarkable. During the height of the civil rights era, Brown was elected as an independent to the state House of Representatives. During her one term in office (1966-1968), she co-sponsored a bill that created “Negro History Week,” which grew to become Black History Month. She also introduced legislation to legalize abortion in cases of rape or incest. Abortion wasn’t fully legalized until the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973.
Brown never married, but in 1957, she became the first single parent to adopt a child in Tennessee. She named her infant daughter Lola Denise, and later adopted a son, Kevin, as well. For her many contributions to society, she received a humanitarian award from the Carnegie Foundation in 1993.
Brown died on June 13 of congestive heart failure. She was approximately 90 years old.