Dr. Francesco Crucitti; Surgeon to the Pope


Dr. Francesco Crucitti, 67, surgeon to Pope John Paul II. Crucitti operated on the pope three times--in 1981 repairing damage from gunshot wounds to the pontiff’s abdomen, in 1992 removing a benign tumor from the pope’s colon and in 1996 removing his appendix. Born in Reggio Calabria, Italy, Crucitti finished medical school at age 22 and specialized in general surgery and cancer research. He had been director of the Institute of General Surgery at Catholic University in Rome since 1967. On Wednesday in Rome of cancer.

Fred Gruenberger; Computer Expert, Professor, Magazine Founder

Fred Gruenberger, 79, computer expert for half a century, author of 29 books and founder of Popular Computing magazine. Educated in mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, Gruenberger began working with computing in 1943 as a World War II cryptographer. He supervised a computing laboratory at his alma mater, worked for the Hanford Atomic Products Operation of General Electric in Richland, Wash., in the 1950s and founded Computing News. In 1957 he joined the Rand Corp. in Santa Monica, specializing in computer research. Gruenberger became a professor of computer science at Cal State Northridge in 1970, and taught there until his retirement in 1983. He founded Popular Computing in 1973 and published it for nine years, expanding its circulation to subscribers in 49 countries. He wrote more than two dozen books and textbooks detailing the ever-advancing field of data processing in the computer era. Gruenberger also produced several films and videotapes for such organizations as National Educational Television. On Wednesday in Encino of cancer.


Sylvia Hirsch; Literary Agent Handled Books, Teleplays

Sylvia Hirsch, 86, early West Coast literary agent who handled books and television scripts. Hirsch began her long career in Chicago as a radio actress and member of the Actors’ Company. She moved to Los Angeles during World War II and soon joined the William Morris Agency as a secretary. She advanced to literary agent, working with such television writers as John McGreevey of “The Waltons” and “Roots II,” Blanche Hanalis of “Little House on the Prairie” and Frederick Kohner of “Gidget.” She moved on in 1967 to the Lew Weitzman Agency, now known as Preferred Artists, where she continued to work until early August. Hirsch was also active in fund-raising for Los Angeles’ Academy of Performing and Visual Arts. On Thursday in Beverly Hills.

Oleg Prokofiev; Promoted Memory of Composer Father

Oleg Prokofiev, 69, who devoted much of his life to promoting the memory of his father, composer Sergei Prokofiev. Born in Paris to the composer and singer Lina Codina, Oleg grew up in Moscow, where he studied sculpture at the Moscow School of Art. He later became a fellow in the fine arts department of Leeds University in England. Prokofiev volunteered with the Prokofiev Archive at Goldsmiths College in London, writing and speaking to researchers and performers about his father’s life and music. On Aug. 20 in Guernsey, England, of a heart attack.

Louise Shepard; Widow of First American in Space

Louise Shepard, 74, widow of pioneering Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard. Known for golfing with her husband, she was often photographed playing various courses with him during his business trips. Alan Shepard, one of the original seven U.S. astronauts, was the first American to fly in space. He was one of a dozen people who walked on the moon and the only one to hit a golf ball there. He died a month ago. His widow was stricken while flying home to Monterey, Calif., from a visit to their daughter in Colorado. On Tuesday near Monterey of a heart attack.