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PASSINGS: Lloyd Oliver, Drew Hill

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Lloyd Oliver

One of original Navajo code talkers during WWII

Lloyd Oliver, 88, a member of the original Marines unit during World War II that helped develop and implement a code based on the Navajo language, died Wednesday at a hospice in Avondale, Ariz., his nephew, Lawrence Oliver, told the Associated Press. No cause was given.

Oliver's death means there is only one surviving member of the original 29 Navajo code talkers, Chester Nez of Albuquerque.

Hundreds of Navajos sent messages on Japanese troop movements, battlefield tactics and other communications. The code talkers took part in every assault the Marines conducted in the Pacific.

Navajo President Ben Shelly called Oliver a "national treasure."

Oliver was attending school in New Mexico when he joined the Marines in 1942. The original code talkers did part of their training at Camp Pendleton.

Military records list Oliver's age as 87, but his wife told the Associated Press he was 88. Oliver's brother, Willard, also was a code talker. He died in 2009.

Drew Hill

2-time Pro Bowl player began with L.A. Rams

Drew Hill, 54, a wide receiver who started his NFL career with the Los Angeles Rams and twice reached the Pro Bowl with the Houston Oilers, died Friday at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta after suffering two massive strokes, said his agent, Jay Mathis.

Hill, a 12th-round draft pick from Georgia Tech, played with the Rams from 1979 to 1984, primarily as a kick returner.

Only 5 feet 9 and 170 pounds but speedy and agile, Hill became a star in Houston's run-and-shoot offense directed by quarterback Warren Moon. He played with the Oilers from 1985 to 1991 and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1988 and 1990.

Born Andrew Hill on Oct. 5, 1956, in Newnan, Ga., he wound up his career with the Atlanta Falcons in 1992 and '93. He finished with 634 passes caught for 9,831 yards for a 15.5-yard average and scored 61 touchdowns in 14 seasons.

Times staff and wire reports

news.obits@latimes.com

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