Samuel A. Greene Jr., 63, monastery founder
BLANCO, Texas (AP) — Samuel A. Greene Jr., the founder of a monastery that closed amid scandal over charges of sexual abuse of novice monks and a fraudulent weeping Virgin Mary painting, was found dead Sept. 17 in his home on the grounds of Christ of the Hills Monastery. He was 63.
Greene’s death was being investigated as a suicide, but officials were waiting for autopsy results before ruling on the cause of death.
The monastery was allied with the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia from 1991 to 1999, but the church broke ties with the monastery when charges surfaced of indecency by Greene with a juvenile novice monk.
Greene, who founded the monastery in 1981, pleaded guilty in 2000 to indecency and was sentenced to 10 years’ probation. In 2006, he told his probation officer in a secretly taped interview that he had sexual contact with boys for 30 years starting in the 1970s.
Greene also reportedly confirmed that the monastery’s weeping painting was fake. Authorities seized the icon, which was said to cry tears of myrrh, a sign of divine intervention. It had drawn thousands of visitors, and their donations, to the area.
The interview also prompted authorities to file child sexual assault and organized crime charges against Greene and four other monks in July 2006. Greene maintained his innocence and was released on his own recognizance because of health problems.
Greene was due in court Friday, when prosecutors planned to seek to have his probation revoked. Assistant District Attorney Cheryl Nelson said she would have asked the judge to sentence him to the maximum 20-year term on each of his nine indecency counts.
James Rigney Jr., 58, fantasy author
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — James Oliver Rigney Jr., who wrote a series of fantasy novels under the name Robert Jordan that sold millions of copies, died Sept. 16 at the Medical University of South Carolina of a rare blood disease. He was 58.
Mr. Rigney was born in Charleston and lived there most of his life. The blood disease — primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy — caused the walls of his heart to thicken.
He wrote a trilogy of historical novels set in Charleston under the pen name Reagan O’Neal in the early 1980s. He then turned his attention to fantasy, and the first volume in his “Wheel of Time” epic, “The Eye of the World,” was published in 1990 under the name Robert Jordan.
Mr. Rigney’s books tell of Rand al’Thor, who is destined to become the champion who will battle ultimate evil in a mythical land.
Book 11, “Knife of Dreams,” came out in 2005; there was also a prequel, “New Spring: The Novel,” in 2004. The other titles in the series include “The Great Hunt,” “Lord of Chaos” and “The Path of Daggers.” Mr. Rigney was working on a 12th volume at the time of his death, his personal assistant, Maria Simons, said.
In a 2004 online chat on the USA Today Web site, Mr. Rigney said he hoped to finish the main “Wheel” series in two more books. Most of the books made the New York Times list of best-sellers.
A graduate of the Citadel, South Carolina’s state military college, Mr. Rigney worked as a nuclear engineer at the old Charleston Naval Shipyard before taking up writing full time in 1977. He served two tours of duty with the Army in Vietnam. He was decorated several times, including a Distinguished Flying Cross and Bronze Star.
Calvin L. Rampton, 93, 3-term governor
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Calvin L. Rampton, Utah’s longest-serving governor at three terms, died Sept. 16 at a hospice. He was 93.
A lifelong Democrat, Mr. Rampton was governor from 1965 to 1977 and the first chief executive in Utah elected to three four-year terms. In a 2003 interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, he said if he had to do it over, he would have left office at the end of his second term. He said a state and its residents are better served with new people in charge every few years.
In 2000, Gov. Michael O. Leavitt was elected Utah’s second three-term governor. But he didn’t complete a full third term because he left to become head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mr. Leavitt is now the federal Health and Human Services secretary.
Mr. Rampton considered his most significant accomplishment as governor the consolidation of more than 150 state agencies. A savvy politician, he pushed for economic development during his administration. He also established the state’s Board of Regents to govern public universities.
Mr. Rampton lost three legislative elections before being elected governor. Early on, he was the Davis County attorney and assistant attorney general for Utah.
Democratic and Republican lawmakers honored Mr. Rampton last month by naming the governor’s boardroom in the newly renovated capitol after him.
Brett Somers, 83, actress, comedian
WESTPORT, Conn. (AP) — Actress and comedian Brett Somers, who amused game show fans with her quips on the show “Match Game” in the 1970s, died Sept. 15 at her home of stomach and colon cancer. She was 83.
Hosted by Gene Rayburn, “Match Game” was the top game show during much of the 1970s. Contestants would try to match answers to nonsense questions with a panel of celebrities; much of the humor came from the racy quips and putdowns.
Shows from the 1973-1979 run, featuring regulars including Mrs. Somers, Richard Dawson and Charles Nelson Reilly, are still seen on cable TV.
Mrs. Somers married actor Jack Klugman, the future star of the television shows “Quincy” and “The Odd Couple,” in 1953. The two separated in 1974, but never divorced.
They made many television appearances as a couple. Mrs. Somers appeared on several episodes of “The Odd Couple,” playing the ex-wife of Mr. Klugman’s character.
In the summer of 2003, she appeared in a one-woman cabaret show, “An Evening with Brett Somers,” which she wrote and co-produced. She continued to perform after being diagnosed with cancer.
Born Audrey Johnston in New Brunswick, Canada, she grew up in Portland, Maine. She ran away from home at age 17 and headed for New York City, where she settled in Greenwich Village. There, she changed her name — Brett for the lead female character in the Ernest Hemingway novel “The Sun Also Rises” and Somers for her mother’s maiden name.
D. Eugene Savoy, 80, famed explorer
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Douglas Eugene “Gene” Savoy, a famed American explorer who discovered more than 40 lost cities in Peru and led long-distance sailing adventures to learn more about ancient cultures, died Sept. 11 of natural causes at his home. He was 80.
Dubbed the “real Indiana Jones” by People magazine, Mr. Savoy was credited with finding four of Peru’s most important archaeological sites, including Vilcabamba, the last refuge of the Incas from the Spanish Conquistadors.
Hiram Bingham considered Machu Picchu the Inca’s last stronghold after he discovered it in 1911 in the Peruvian Andes. But scientists agree that the famed “Lost City of the Incas” was actually a different site discovered by Mr. Savoy in the mid-1960s in the Peruvian rain forest.
Mr. Savoy wrote dozens of books, including 1970’s “Antisuyo: The Search for the Lost Cities of the Amazon” about his early discoveries in Peru.
As founder of a new theology known as “Cosolargy,” Mr. Savoy established the International Community of Christ, Church of the Second Advent. He taught that the Second Coming of Christ had become a living reality through a miraculous celestial event.
Mr. Savoy was born in Bellingham, Wash., and served as a Navy gunner during World War II. He later was a journalist and newspaper editor in Portland, Ore.
He moved to Reno in 1971 and was founder of the Andean Explorers Foundation & Ocean Sailing Club based there. The nonprofit organization sponsored many of his explorations.
Among other awards, he was honored with separate medals from the Peruvian Senate and the Peruvian Ministry of Industry and Tourism in the late 1980s.