Herbert Choy

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Categories: Law, Military, Politicians

Herbert Young Cho Choy, the first Asian American to serve on the federal bench, died on March 10 of complications from pneumonia. He was 88.
Born on Kauai to Korean immigrants, Choy graduated from the University of Hawaii in 1938. He earned his law degree from Harvard University then became the first lawyer of Korean ancestry to gain admission to the bar.
After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Choi enlisted in the U.S. Army. He began his military career as a lieutenant and left as a captain, serving in both Japan and Korea. When he retired from the military in 1947, Choy moved to Honolulu and went into private practice with Katsuro Miho and Hiram Fong, who later became a U.S. senator. In 1957, Choy was named the attorney general for the Territory of Hawaii — the first person of Korean descent to hold such a post.
President Richard M. Nixon appointed Choy to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1971. The court hears cases originating in nine western states and two Pacific Island jurisdictions. The legal pioneer achieved senior status when he retired in 1984, but continued to work on cases for the San Francisco-based court.


Joan Richman

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Categories: Media

Joan Richman, the first woman to become an executive producer of network news, died on April 2 from lung cancer. She was 64.
Born in St. Louis, Richman graduated from Wellesley College. Determined to work in television, she moved to New York City and took a job as an archivist in the CBS News research library. In 1968, Richman was promoted to a producer position. Working with Walter Cronkite, she covered the first trip to the moon and won two Emmy Awards — one in 1971 for covering Apollo 13 and Apollo 14, and another in 1972 for covering Apollo 15.
Richman spent two years producing the ABC News magazine, “The Reasoner Report,” hosted by Harry Reasoner, then returned to CBS News in 1975 to serve as the executive producer of “CBS Sports Spectacular” and the weekend editions of “CBS Evening News.” It was the first time a woman had reached such a position at the network level.
A no-nonsense journalist with a penchant for smoking packs of Pall Malls, Richman handled election night coverage in 1976, 1978 and 1980. As vice president and director of special events for CBS News, she ran the network’s coverage of major breaking news events from 1981 to 1988. Some of the stories she supervised included the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1982, the U.S. invasion of Grenada in 1983 and the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986.
Her remaining years were spent teaching media and politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


Luke G. Williams


Categories: Business

lwilliams.jpgNeed to know the current time and temperature? Well, whenever you see a building featuring a sign with this alternating information, think of Luke and Chuck Williams.
In 1950, the brothers came up with the idea, formed American Sign and Indicator Corp., and hired Ed Schulenberg, president of the Time-O-Matic Co., to build a single panel of lights that would show the time for a few seconds and then the temperature for a few seconds. That sign was posted on the Seattle First National Bank building in Spokane, Wash., and became an instant hit.
Other banks and shops wanted to buy the signs too, but each one cost $12,000, which was more than most businesses could afford. So the Williams brothers decided to lease the technology. In 1981, they sold the company to the Brae Corp. for $20 million. Chuck Williams died in 1993.
Luke Williams then built the American Electronic Sign Co., where he developed giant, electronic scoreboards for sports stadiums. He sold that business to 3M in 2000. Both ventures were chronicled in his 2002 autobiography, “Luke G. Williams: An American Entrepreneur.”
Born in Pinecroft, Wash., Williams graduated from high school and served as a torpedo man in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He planned to go to college after the service to become an entomologist, but joined forces with his brother to build the family’s sign-making business instead.
Williams chaired the board of directors of the Association of Washington Business from 1967 to 1969, and was the only Washington businessman to chair the National Association of Manufacturers. He also served on the Spokane City Council and founded United for Washington, one of the state’s first political action committees.
Williams died on April 5. Cause of death was not released. He was 80.


Nikita Bogoslovsky

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Categories: Musicians

nbogoslovsky.jpgNikita Bogoslovsky, a Soviet-era composer who wrote more than 300 scores, died on April 4. Cause of death was not released. He was 90.
Born in St. Petersburg, Bogoslovsky became one of the Soviet Union’s most beloved composers for writing ballads such as “Dark Night,” “I Dreamed of You for Three Years” and “Beloved City.” During World War II, he traveled to the front lines to give intimate concerts at military hospitals.
When he wasn’t composing music for 120 films and 80 shows, Bogoslovsky wrote nine humor books, including the popular “Notes on the Brims of a Hat.”
Bogoslovsky was memorialized by astronomers who named a small planet after him. In 1998, a plate was set on the Star Square in Moscow in his honor.


Joseph Zimmermann Jr.


Categories: Business, Military, Scientists

Joseph James Zimmermann Jr. was running his own air-conditioning and heating company in 1948. He couldn’t afford to hire a secretary to take calls when he was out of the office, so he invented the answering machine.
Patented in 1949, the Electronic Secretary Model R1 weighed 80 pounds. It featured a box containing a control panel with a 78 rpm record player inside. When the phone rang, the machine would lift the telephone receiver from its cradle and play a recorded greeting. A wire recorder on top of a second box would then tape messages for 30 seconds.
Zimmermann teamed up with George W. Danner to launch Electronic Secretary Industries. By 1957, they had sold more than 6,000 answering machines. General Telephone Corp., which later became GTE, purchased the company and its patent rights that year.
A Milwaukee native, Zimmerman earned an electrical engineering degree from Marquette University. He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II, and was one of the first soldiers to land on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, on D-Day.
When he returned to the states, Zimmerman spent many hours in his basement developing useful inventions. He created a “dial-a-lecture” system that allowed college students to hear prerecorded lessons by phone, a security device that automatically dialed a phone number in case of an emergency and a magnetic recorder used to monitor heart patients.
Zimmermann died on March 31. Cause of death was not released. He was 92.

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