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PASSINGS: Edgar Tafel, Gus Zernial

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Edgar Tafel

Architect, Taliesen fellow was key to saving Wright works

Edgar Tafel, 98, an architect who was an original Taliesin fellow credited with saving some of Frank Lloyd Wright's most important works, died Jan. 18 at his home in lower Manhattan, said Robert Silman, a longtime friend and New York structural engineer. The cause was not given.

Tafel was the last surviving member of the original Taliesin fellows, a community of young apprentice architects established in 1932 at Wright's home and school in Spring Green, Wis., Silman said.

Tafel also had a hand in two of Wright's most enduring structures: Fallingwater on Bear Run creek in southwest Pennsylvania and the Johnson Wax Building in Racine, Wis.

In his own practice, which Tafel opened in New York after World War II, he was perhaps best known for designing the Church House for First Presbyterian Church, a 19th century landmark in Greenwich Village.

Decades later, Tafel was instrumental in helping save two Prairie-style interiors from Wright's Francis W. Little House in Wayzata, Minn., before it was demolished in 1971. The living room is installed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the library is in the Allentown Art Museum in Allentown, Pa.

His other projects included three college campuses, 35 religious buildings, six townhouses and 80 homes.

Tafel, born in New York City in 1912, attended New York University before being invited to study under Wright at his Taliesin studio.

He was the author of "Years With Frank Lloyd Wright" and "About Wright."

Gus Zernial

Major league All-Star and home run leader

Gus Zernial, 87, a former major league outfielder who led the American League in home runs in 1951 and was an All-Star in 1953, died Jan. 20 at a Fresno hospice.

His daughter, Lisa Pearlstein, said he died from complications related to congestive heart failure.

During a major league career that began with the Chicago White Sox in 1949 and ended with the Detroit Tigers in 1959, Zernial hit 237 home runs and drove in 776 runs.

In 1951 Zernial, known as Ozark Ike, led the American League with 33 home runs and 129 RBIs, starting the season with the White Sox but playing most of the year for the then-Philadelphia Athletics.

In 1953 he was named to the American League All-Star team while slugging 42 home runs for the A's.

He moved to Kansas City when the A's franchise relocated in 1955, then was traded in 1958 to the Tigers, where he finished his career.

Zernial settled in Fresno after retiring from baseball and became a sports radio and TV broadcaster.

Born June 27, 1923, in Beaumont, Texas, Zernial was the youngest of 10 children. During World War II, he served in the Navy as a radio operator in the Pacific.

He played with the Hollywood Stars of the Pacific Coast League before reaching the big leagues.

— Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports

news.obits@latimes.com

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