Recent deaths in the news
KERMIT TYLER, an American pilot who dismissed initial reports of what turned out to be the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, died Jan. 23 in San Diego after suffering two strokes in the last two years. He was 96.
Tyler was on duty Dec. 7, 1941, when two privates reported a large blip on their radar screen. Tyler famously responded, “Don’t worry about it,” thinking it was a flight of U.S. B-17 bombers due in from the mainland.
The aircraft were the first wave of the Japanese surprise attack that plunged the U.S. into World War II.
Many questioned his decision, and the 1970 movie “Tora! Tora! Tora!” portrayed him in an unflattering light.
However, Daniel Martinez, Pearl Harbor historian for the National Park Service, said congressional committees and military inquiries that looked into the incident did not find Tyler at fault.
After Pearl Harbor, Tyler flew combat missions in the Pacific.
ROBERT MYERS, an actuary who helped create the Social Security program and helped set America’s official retirement age at 65, died Feb. 13 of respiratory failure at his home in Silver Spring, Md. He was 97.
ALBERT KLIGMAN, a dermatologist who invented the widely used acne medication Retin-A but whose experiments involving prisoners raised ethical questions that dogged his career, died Feb. 9 in Philadelphia. He was 93.
ALLAN KORNBLUM, who helped steer the FBI into the post-J. Edgar Hoover era by drafting surveillance guidelines in the 1970s, died of can-
SAM HAMILTON, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, died Feb. 20 during a ski trip in Colorado. He was 54. A coroner’s office report said Hamilton’s death was “consistent with an underlying heartrelated medical issue.” He became the wildlife service’s director last year.
ILONA COPEN, a founder of the New York International Ballet Competition and a champion of the exchange of ideas among dance companies around the world, died of cancer Feb. 20 at her home in New York. She was 70.
RAYMOND MASON, a British sculptor whose work focused on ordinary people caught up in the drama of daily life, died of heart failure Feb. 14 at his home in Paris. He was 87.