Milestones, Dec. 3, 1945

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Died. Ralph Holmes, 30, wartime Army airman, actor brother of Actor Phillips Holmes (killed in a 1942 R.C.A.F. crash), son of Old Trouper Taylor Holmes, second husband of Torch Singer Libby Holman (who was cleared of the 1932 shooting of her first husband, Tobacco Heir Zachary Smith Reynolds); of barbiturate poisoning (apparently from an overdose of sleeping tablets); in Manhattan.

Died. Geraldine Siebolds ("That Girl") Pyle, 44, War Correspondent Ernie Pyle's twice-married (both times to Ernie) widow and companion of his prewar reportorial rovings; after an attack of influenza; in Albuquerque, N.M.

Died. Lieut. General Alexander Mc-Carrell ("Sandy") Patch, 55, defender of Guadalcanal, veteran tactician whose monument was his U.S. Seventh Army's "left hook" from the Riviera north around the Alps, south into Austria; of pneumonia; in San Antonio. A disciplinarian with "a temper like the devil before dawn," Sandy Patch also had deadpan wit and a soldier's knowledge of Kipling. A month before he died, he got the top job of his soldiering lifetime: architect-in-chief -of the postwar U.S. Army.

Died. Robert Charles ("Bob") Benchley, 56, a sly wag with an inexact mustache, a burbling laugh and one of the world's warmest wits; of a cerebral hemorrhage; in Manhattan. Best-known and loved as an author (The Treasurer's Report; After 1903, What?) and cinemono-loguist (Love Life of a Polyp; How to Sleep), diffident Bob Benchley got a diffident start with the Curtis Publishing Co. ("They stayed in Philadelphia in their small way, and I went to Boston"). He managing-edited Conde Nast's brilliant Vanity Fair, wrote drama criticism for the old Life and the New Yorker. Though no mean cracksman ("I've got to get out of these wet clothes and into a dry martini"), he shunned the out-&-out gag, preferred to get his laughs while puttering among the minor catastrophes and major banalities of everyday life.

Died. Doris Keane, 63, star of the 1913 stage hit Romance, who married and divorced her leading man, Basil Sydney (said she: "Romance and marriage are two different things"); in Manhattan.

Died. Dr. Francis William Aston, 68, British chemist who won a 1922 Nobel Prize for inventing the mass spectrograph, through which heavy water and uranium 235 (atomic bomb ingredient) were discovered; in Cambridge, England. He once warned against atomic tinkering: "All hydrogen on earth might be transformed at once, and this most successful experiment published to the universe [as] a new star of extraordinary brilliance."

Died. Ellen Anderson Gholson Glasgow, 71, realistic novelist of the new South; of a heart attack; in Richmond. A spinster who never went to school, she wrote her first story at seven, her 20th and last novel, the Pulitzer Prize-winning In This Our Life, at 68. Between the two she cultivated muscular ethics, a sinewy style, the flaccid enmity of the old South. To the1 impact of her novels, a critic testified: "Southern romance is dead. Ellen Glasgow has murdered it."

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