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Obituaries

March 17, 2001

* Peggy Converse; Actress on Stage, TV and in Film

Peggy Converse, 95, character actress on stage, screen and television who frequently co-starred with her husband, the late Don Porter. Converse, a 1927 graduate of Stanford University, began acting in high school. During her seven-decade career, she played more than 100 roles in stage productions throughout the United States and Canada, including "The Infernal Machine" on Broadway and "Taming of the Shrew" at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. Her films included "Father Is a Bachelor" (1950) with William Holden and "The Accidental Tourist" (1988) with William Hurt and Geena Davis. On television, she guest-starred in episodes of "Perry Mason," "The Ropers" and, with husband Porter, "This Is the Life." She worked with Porter in national touring productions of "Any Wednesday," "The Best Man" and "Love and Kisses." Converse also was a poet and activist involved in Planned Parenthood, the Hemlock Society and American Women for International Understanding. On March 2 at her home in Los Angeles.

* Benny Martin; Fiddler With Flatt and Scruggs

Benny Martin, 72, a fiddler and songwriter who worked with country music legends Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. Martin was critically acclaimed for his fiddling on the Flatt and Scruggs record "Dear Old Dixie," and played with the late bluegrass king Bill Monroe as well as with Roy Acuff before becoming an integral part of the Flatt and Scruggs "Foggy Mountain Boys." He performed at the Grand Ole Opry in the 1940s and recorded for the Pioneer Records label in 1946. Known for his rhythmic fiddling style, Martin also sang, played guitar and wrote songs such as "Me and My Fiddle" and "Ice Cold Love." Col. Tom Parker managed his career at one point, including a 35-concert tour as an opening act for Parker's most famous client, Elvis Presley. Born in Sparta, Tenn., Martin learned to play several instruments as a boy but favored the fiddle. He made his radio debut at the age of 8. On Tuesday at his home in Nashville.

* Harry Stone Mosher; Chemist, Animal-Toxin Expert

Harry Stone Mosher, 85, retired Stanford molecular chemist and expert in animal toxins. In the 1960s, Mosher and his graduate student Melanchton Brown isolated the deadly toxin spewed out in defense by the California newt, calling it tarichatoxin. Mosher described the poison as having "an astonishing new molecular arrangement." Soon they discovered that the toxin was the same as that of puffer fish--used in the rare type of sushi that can turn deadly, paralyzing and then killing human diners. The poison, also spewed out by the blue-ring octopus, is generally known as tetrodotoxin, or TTX. Mosher invented the "Mosher Reagent," which is used to measure the degree of left- or right-handedness in organic molecules. Educated at Willamette University, Oregon State College and Pennsylvania State College, Mosher taught at Stanford from 1947 until his retirement in 1981. On March 2 in Stanford, Calif.

* Dick Young; Judged Championship Boxing

Dick Young, 85, a longtime boxing referee and judge who refereed the Muhammad Ali-Ken Norton heavyweight title fight in 1973 at the Forum. Among the many championship fights he judged was the 1985 title fight between Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns. Young began his career as a boxing official in his native St. Louis in the 1940s. He moved to Los Angeles in 1954 and continued to move up the ranks in the boxing world. Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. Tuesday at the San Fernando Mission. Young, a resident of Chatsworth, died Thursday of complications from pneumonia at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Granada Hills.

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