PASSINGS: Dolph Briscoe Jr., Dwight Armstrong

Dolph Briscoe Jr.

Rancher was governor of Texas


Dolph Briscoe Jr., 87, a rancher who was governor of Texas during oil and gas boom years in the 1970s, died Sunday at his home in Uvalde, Texas, after a lengthy illness, a family spokeswoman said.

As governor from 1973 to 1979, the Democrat increased spending on highway improvements, education and healthcare. He also signed into law an open records act and streamlined state agencies.

When he lost his bid for a third term, he returned to the family ranching business and was one of the state's major landholders.

Born in 1923 in Uvalde, he graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in the early 1940s and served in the Army during World War II.

While in the Texas House of Representatives from 1949 to 1957, he championed a bill that provided paved roads for farmers to get crops to market, an improvement "equivalent to rural electrification," Briscoe once said.

As head of a cattle raisers association in the 1960s, he oversaw a program that helped eradicate a deadly parasite that had plagued the industry.

Dwight Armstrong,

War protester convicted in campus bombing

Dwight Armstrong, 58, one of four men who carried out a fatal bombing in 1970 at the University of Wisconsin at Madison to protest the Vietnam War, died June 20 of cancer at University of Wisconsin Hospital, spokeswoman Susan Lampert Smith said.

Armstrong was a high school dropout when he and his older brother, Karl, and two others parked a stolen van with 2,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate and jet fuel next to Sterling Hall and lit the fuse Aug. 24, 1970.

Enraged by the Vietnam War, the bombers said they were targeting the Army Math Research Center on the upper floors of the building. The bomb exploded in the middle of the night when they thought no one would be there.

Robert Fassnacht, a 33-year-old graduate student who was working overnight on a physics experiment, was killed. Three others were injured and dozens of other campus buildings were damaged.

Authorities pulled over the bombers' vehicle in Wisconsin shortly after the blast but released them. A vehicle carrying the Armstrongs was pulled over days later in New York but again they were released.

Dwight Armstrong was one of the FBI's 10 most wanted fugitives and living under an assumed name when he was arrested in San Diego for theft in 1976. He was released before the FBI could learn of his true identity. He was arrested in Toronto in 1977 and served seven years in a federal prison.


Bombers Karl Armstrong and David Fine had already been captured, convicted and sentenced to prison. Leo Burt disappeared and his whereabouts remain unknown nearly 40 years later.

Times Staff and Wire Reports