PASSINGS: Ronald W. Walters, Kathleen Fetzer, Jill Jackson

Ronald W. Walters

Scholar, author and political analyst


Ronald W. Walters, 72, a longtime political analyst and scholar at Howard University and the University of Maryland who was a leading expert on race and politics, died Sept. 10 at a hospital in Bethesda, Md. He had been suffering from lung cancer.

Walters spent 25 years at

before becoming director of the African American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland. He wrote numerous books and more than 100 articles.

In 1984, Walters served as a deputy campaign manager for the Rev. Jesse Jackson's bid for the Democratic presidential nomination. He consulted on Jackson's second presidential campaign in 1988 and advised members of Congress over the years.

Walters was born July 20, 1938, in Wichita, Kan., and was an early participant in the civil rights movement. He was a member of a local NAACP youth group in 1958 when he helped lead a sit-in at a drugstore counter, two years before a famous protest at a Woolworth's in Greensboro, N.C.

"There was a student network across the country," Walters told the Kansas City Star in 1991. "In Greensboro they'd heard what happened in Wichita, and I'm sure it inspired them."

He earned a bachelor's degree in history and government in 1963 from Fisk University in Nashville, a master's in 1966 in African studies and a doctorate in 1971 in international relations from American University in Washington.

Kathleen Fetzer

Matriarch of California family winery

Kathleen Fetzer, 88, the matriarch of one of California's most successful family wineries, died Sept. 15 at a private care home in Ukiah, a family spokesman said. The cause of death was not given.

Fetzer and her husband, Bernard, founded

in 1968 and produced 2,500 cases of red table wine in the first year. It quickly gained a reputation for quality and became a leader in the organic farming movement. By 1992, when it was sold to the Brown-Forman liquor conglomerate, it was turning out more than 2 million cases a year.


Born in Luverne, Minn., on Nov. 2, 1921, Fetzer moved to the Bay Area during World War II. After marrying Bernard Fetzer, a merchant marine from Southern California, in 1945, she moved with him to Oregon, where they built a lumber business. In 1958 they purchased a run-down, 700-acre ranch in Mendocino County and, with their six children, began growing wine grapes and selling them to amateur winemakers. The family grew to 11 children, all of whom played a role in establishing and expanding the wine business.

After Bernard Fetzer died in 1981, Kathleen and her children ran the winery. They purchased Valley Oaks Ranch in Hopland, where they created a food and wine center and established an organic garden that became a showcase for 1,200 varieties of fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs. Its success spurred the family to begin farming vineyards organically.

Jill Jackson

, who turned her New Orleans radio and TV interview show into the "Jill Jackson's Hollywood" gossip column that was syndicated by King Features to more than a thousand weekly and non-daily publications around the country since the 1980s, died in Beverly Hills on Sept. 8 of complications from a fall. She was 97.

-- Times staff and wire reports