LOCALObituaries

PASSINGS: Donald Lukens, Denise Boudrot Hopkins, Mary Page Stegner, Paul Gray, Wayne Duddlesten

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Donald Lukens

Disgraced Ohio congressman

Former U.S. Rep. Donald "Buz" Lukens of Ohio, 79, once a rising conservative star in state politics before a string of scandals abruptly ended his career, died Saturday of cancer at a Dallas nursing home, his family said.

Lukens was convicted in 1989 of paying a 16-year-old Ohio girl for sex. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $500.

The scandal cost him the 1990 Republican primary, where he lost to then-state Rep. John Boehner, now the House minority leader in Congress.

Lukens resigned his seat Oct. 24, 1990, less than three months before his term was to expire, rather than face an investigation by the House Ethics Committee.

He also was mired in legal trouble because of a scandal involving the now-defunct House bank, which benefited Congress members by offering unlimited penalty-free checking overdrafts.

Later accused of taking $15,000 in bribes from two Cincinnati businessmen, Lukens was convicted on a felony charge of bribery in 1996 and sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Lukens denied that he ever exchanged votes for money.

Born Feb. 11, 1931, in Harveysburg, Ohio, Lukens received a bachelor's degree in criminology from Ohio State University in 1954. He served in the Air Force before becoming a congressional aide in 1961.

First elected to the House in 1967, he made an unsuccessful bid at the 1970 GOP nomination for governor. He was later appointed to the Ohio Senate and elected to Congress in 1986 and 1988.

Denise Boudrot Hopkins

First female jockey to win meet title

Denise Boudrot Hopkins, 57, who became the first female jockey to win a meet title when she captured the autumn riding title at Suffolk Downs in 1974, died May 19 at her farm in Grafton, Vt., her family announced. She had brain cancer, according to the Daily Racing Form.

Riding as Denise Boudrot, she was an apprentice jockey at Suffolk Downs in Massachusetts in 1974. Nicknamed Longshot Lady, she racked up five wins in one day during the fall meeting and finished with more victories than any other jockey.

She won more than 1,000 races in 13 years on the New England circuit and retired in 1985. She married Roland Hopkins, a newspaper publisher who owned racehorses.

Born Aug. 8, 1952, in Burlington, Mass., she started riding horses as a child with a 4-H Club. She got a job riding for South Carolina trainer Judi Bresnahan and made her debut as a jockey in 1972.

After retiring from competitive thoroughbred racing, she trained and performed with trick horses.

Mary Page Stegner

Widow of Pulitzer winner

Mary Page Stegner, 99, the widow of Pulitzer Prize-winning Western novelist Wallace Stegner, died May 15 at a retirement home in Portola Valley, Calif., her family announced. The cause was not given.

The Stegners, who lived in the Bay Area's Los Altos Hills when he led the Stanford University creative writing program, were married for 59 years; he died in 1993 after a car accident in New Mexico.

She was born in 1911 in Dubuque, Iowa, and met her future husband when they were students at the University of Iowa. They married in 1934 and she accompanied him to teaching posts at the University of Utah, the University of Wisconsin and Harvard, before they arrived at Stanford in 1945. Wallace Stegner won the Pulitzer in 1972 for "Angle of Repose."

In James R. Hepworth's 1998 book "Stealing Glances: Three Interviews with Wallace Stegner," the novelist explained the effect his wife had on his life and career: "She has had no role in my life except to keep me sane, fed, housed, amused, and protected from unwanted telephone calls; also to restrain me fairly frequently from making a horse's ass of myself in public, to force me to attend to books and ideas from which she knows I will learn something; also to mend my wounds when I am misused by the world, to implant ideas in my head and stir the soil around them, to keep me from falling into a comfortable torpor, to agitate my sleeping hours with problems that I would not otherwise attend to; also to remind me constantly (not by precept but by example) how fortunate I have been to live for 53 years with a woman that bright, alert, charming, and supportive."

Paul Gray

Co-founder of Metal band Slipknot

Paul Gray, 38, bassist and co-founder of the Grammy-winning metal band Slipknot, was found dead Monday in an Iowa hotel room, police said.

A hotel employee found Gray's body in a room at the Town Plaza Hotel in Urbandale, a suburb of Des Moines. An autopsy failed to determine the cause of death, police said. Toxicology results are expected to take four to six weeks.

Gray was born in Los Angeles in 1972 but moved with his family to Des Moines, where the band started in 1995. Slipknot's self-titled 1999 album sold more than a million copies. Known for its grotesque masks, the band won a Grammy in 2006 for best metal performance for the song "Before I Forget."

In 2003, Gray was arrested on drug charges after a traffic accident in Des Moines. He pleaded guilty to operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and was sentenced to a year of informal probation. Drug possession charges were dropped.

Wayne Duddlesten

Developer helped move Rockets to Houston

Wayne Duddlesten, 80, a real estate developer who helped move the NBA's Houston Rockets from San Diego, died Thursday at his home in Houston after a five-year battle with cancer, his family said.

Duddlesten joined investment banker Billy Goldberg in buying the Rockets from Bob Breitbard in 1971 and moved them to Houston. Breitbard, who was the first owner of the expansion Rockets in 1967, died May 17 .

A Houston native, Duddlesten was born March 12, 1930, and launched his career as a developer with his company Tex-Craft Builder.

-- Times staff and wire reports

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