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Obituaries

Alan Stringer, 62; mine manager accused of asbestos risk conspiracy

March 03, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Alan Stringer, one of seven former W.R. Grace and Co. executives accused of conspiring to conceal asbestos-related health risks posed by a Montana mine, died of cancer Feb. 24 at his home in Oak Harbor, Wash., his wife, Donna, said. He was 62.

She said the death was not related to asbestos. In Libby, Mont., asbestos from Grace's former vermiculite mine has been blamed for sickening or killing hundreds of people.

Stringer was the general manager of the vermiculite mine from 1988 to 1990, when it closed. He was one of seven former executives named, along with the chemical and building materials company, in a 2005 federal indictment alleging conspiracy. Stringer pleaded not guilty.

A U.S. District Court trial was delayed last year, pending appeals on a number of legal issues. A judge dismissed part of the case, ruling that the time limit for alleging "knowing endangerment" had run out.

After the mine closed, Stringer remained in Libby to work on matters related to the shutdown. He moved to San Juan Capistrano in 1994 and worked as a production and safety consultant for projects in North America and South Korea. Stringer returned to Libby in 1999 as Grace's representative after reports of asbestosrelated health problems surfaced.

During his time in the town, Stringer served on the hospital board, worked on community improvement projects and was active in the Libby Chamber of Commerce.

A native of Bonne Terre, Mo., Stringer moved with his family to Leadville, Colo., as a child. He served in the Air Force and, in 1971, graduated from the Colorado School of Mines.

He started his career as a mining engineer for Alcoa in Suriname, then he worked for Amax in Leadville, Ottawa Silica Co. in Illinois and, starting in 1981, Grace in Libby.

Stringer's death followed by one month the death of Les Skramstad, another major figure in the Libby asbestos controversy, at age 70.

Skramstad was a Libby activist who became a public face for victims of asbestos-related disease. He had been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer that attacks the lining of the lungs, and previously was diagnosed with asbestosis.

Besides Stringer's wife, survivors include daughters Ann Marie Hadley and Dana Brennan.

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