- The Washington Times - Friday, March 13, 2009

Martin Knowlton

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) _ Martin Knowlton, who co-founded the Elderhostel educational tour program for senior citizens at a time when the concept of lifelong learning was revolutionary, has died. He was 88.

Knowlton died of natural causes on Thursday at a nursing home in Ventura, Calif., Elderhostel representatives announced Friday.

Boston-based Elderhostel provides packaged tours to more than 90 countries combining lectures and activities. Its programs offer everything from Amazon boat trips to opera studies.

Knowlton was director of the American Youth Hostel at the University of New Hampshire in 1975 when he and David Bianco conceived the idea of Elderhostel. An Elderhostel statement said it was inspired by youth hostels and by Scandinavian adult education folk schools that Knowlton had studied while backpacking through Europe.

At the time, the idea that senior citizens could or would like to continue their education was considered revolutionary.

Elderhostel survived on grants while its enrollment soared. It added year-round programs in 1978 and international programs in 1980.

The organization said it now attracts more than 160,000 participants annually with nearly 8,000 tour packages.

Knowlton left his position as executive director in 1977 after Elderhostel became a not-for-profit corporation, writing that he was damaging the organization by resisting administrative changes. However, he was appointed to the board of directors and remained on the board until 1984, Elderhostel spokeswoman Despina Gakopoulos said.


Reginald Lindsay

BOSTON (AP) _ U.S. District Judge Reginald Lindsay, who found the FBI liable for the deaths of three men killed by fugitive gangster James “Whitey” Bulger, has died. He was 63.

Lindsay died Thursday at Massachusetts General Hospital after a series of illnesses, said Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf.

Lindsay, who was born in Birmingham, Ala., was appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton in 1993, the second black person to sit as a federal judge in Massachusetts.

Lindsay had been in a wheelchair since 1983 because a tumor on his spine left him unable to walk. He had been out on sick leave since April.

Lindsay was known for his rulings in lawsuits brought by the families of people killed by Bulger and members of his Winter Hill gang. He found that the FBI’s corrupt relationship with Bulger _ who was an FBI informant _ led to the killings.

In November 2007, Lindsay found that the FBI was liable for the 1982 deaths of Brian Halloran and Michael Donahue.

After finding the FBI liable in their deaths, Lindsay held a trial last March to determine how much money to award their families. He had not issued a ruling before he became ill.

In 2006, Lindsay awarded $3.1 million to the family of informant John McIntyre, a fisherman from Quincy who was cooperating with authorities in an investigation of Bulger’s involvement in a failed plan to send guns to the Irish Republican Army aboard a Gloucester fishing boat.


James Purdy

NEW YORK (AP) _ Author James Purdy, a shocking realist and surprising romantic who in underground classics such as “Cabot Wright Begins” and “Eustace Chisholm and the Works” inspired censorious outrage and lasting admiration, has died.

Spokesman Walter Vatter of Ivan Dee Publishers said Purdy had been in poor health and died Friday morning at Englewood Hospital in New Jersey. Reports of his age have differed, but according to his literary agency, Harold Ober Associates, he was 94.

Purdy published poetry, drawings, the plays “Children Is All” and “Enduring Zeal,” the novels “Mourners Below” and “Narrow Rooms,” and the collection “Moe’s Villa and Other Stories.” Much of the northwest Ohio native’s work fell out of print; several books were reissued in recent years. In the spring, Ivan Dee will issue a collection of his plays.

Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams and Dorothy Parker were among his fans, but Purdy won few awards and was little known to the general public. He spent most of his latter years in a one-room Brooklyn walk-up apartment, bitterly outside what he called “the anesthetic, hypocritical, preppy and stagnant New York literary establishment.”

His most influential novel, “Eustace Chisholm and the Works,” was published in 1967 to knee-jerk repulsion and eventual acclaim as a landmark of gay fiction. Set in Depression-era Chicago, “Chisholm” is a 20th-century “Satyricon,” an explicit, matter-of-fact portrait of abortion, disembowelment and “diurnal coitus.” But it’s also, through the passion of two men, a quest for “that rare thing: the authentic, naked, unconcealed voice of love.”

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