Milestones, Feb. 15, 1971

  • Share
  • Read Later

Died. Debs Myers, 59, onetime newspaperman and public relations expert who served such political figures as Robert F. Wagner, Robert F. Kennedy and Adlai E. Stevenson; of hepatitis; in New Haven, Conn. A onetime managing editor of Newsweek, Myers had a genius for helping politicians help themselves, or, as he put it, "the ability to turn lemons into lemonade." He insisted that "the best public relations in government is good government."

Died. Armand G. Erpf, 73, Wall Street financier and art patron; of a heart attack; in Manhattan. A senior partner in the investment house of Loeb, Rhoades & Co., Erpf was the driving force behind what is now the $183 million Metromedia organization, planned the expansion of Crowell-Collier that ballooned sales from $29 million to $220 million in a decade, made the financial arrangements for the transition of the Sunday supplement from the defunct New York Herald Tribune into New York magazine. Well known as an art patron, his own collection ranged from ancient Chinese snuff bottles to avant-garde moderns; one of his latest projects was the construction of a 1,680-ft. stone maze ("a symbol in a world that doesn't know where it's going") on his Arkville, N.Y., estate. Married and divorced at an early age, Erpf waited until he was in his late 60s before taking a second wife, Sue Stuart Mortimore, a New York artist some 30 years his junior, whom he secretly wed in Italy in 1965 and who bore him two children before they finally announced their marriage three years later.

Died. Dr. Brock Chisholm, 74, controversial Canadian psychiatrist who from 1948 to 1953 served as director general of the World Health Organization; of pneumonia; in Victoria, B.C. Chisholm was one of the first to warn that world population growth could eventually outstrip food supplies unless there was global family planning. Best known for his attacks on what he regarded as society's sillier ideas, he stirred a furor by arguing that any child encouraged to believe in Santa Claus has his ability to think permanently injured. On superstition: "There is hardly a hotel in New York that has a floor numbered 13," said Chisholm. "The implications of this are enormous and disturbing, and nobody is doing anything about it."

Died. Matyas Rakosi, 78, Hungarian Communist leader during the 1940s and '50s; in Gorky, U.S.S.R. A ruthless Stalinist, Rakosi was known and hated for his brutal skill in disposing of opponents. After Stalin's death, Rakosi slickly adjusted to the new line. He remained in power until 1956, was forced to resign, and just before the Hungarian uprising, fled to the Soviet Union.