Obituaries in the news

AP News
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Posted: Nov 15, 2009 4:13 AM

Henry Mayor "Hank" Bourgeois

COVINGTON, La. (AP) _ One of the last surviving aviators from World War II's famed Black Sheep Squadron has died in Covington, La.

Henry Mayor "Hank" Bourgeois was 88.

Bourgeois joined the Marine Corps in 1940, served during both World War II and the Korean War and retired from the military after 20 years. But the duty for which he was best remembered was with the Marine Fighting Squadron 214.

Serving under Lt. Col. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, the unit became known as the Black Sheep Squadron in the South Pacific. The squadron shot down 94 Japanese planes over the Northern Solomon Islands and Rabaul.

The unit was the subject of a television series titled "Baa Baa Black Sheep" from 1976 to 1978.

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James R. Lilley

WASHINGTON (AP) _ James R. Lilley, a longtime CIA operative and later the U.S. ambassador to China during the time of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, has died. He was 81.

The Washington Post said Lilley, who was born in China to an oilman father and schoolteacher mother, died Thursday in Washington from complications related to prostate cancer.

Lilley had a close relationship with former President George H.W. Bush dating to the early 1970s, when Lilley headed the CIA's operations in Beijing and Bush was the chief of the U.S. mission there. During the 1989 Tiananmen protests, Lilley, a stern critic of the crackdown, often sent his reports about the unfolding events directly to Bush, who was then president.

In a statement Friday, Bush said Lilley was a knowledgeable and effective ambassador who served with great distinction.

Bush said he'd spoken with Lilley just a few days before his death.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is traveling in Asia, said she was saddened to learn of Lilley's death and called him one of the nation's finest diplomats. She said Lilley inspired generations of China hands.

Lilley who earlier served as the ambassador to South Korea, was the ambassador to China from 1989 to 1991, one of the most difficult periods in relations between the two countries, Clinton said.