Cardinal Pio Laghi
Cardinal Pio Laghi, seen last March, was tapped by Pope John Paul II to meet with President Bush in 2003 to try to dissuade him from launching a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
(Alessandro Di Meo / European Pressphoto Agency)

Herbert R. Bloch Jr.

Former exec for Federated stores

Herbert R. Bloch Jr., 92, a former senior executive with Federated Department stores who for several years was president of Bullock’s department stores in Los Angeles, died Jan. 2 at a hospice in Cincinnati after a brief illness.

Bloch spent 39 years with Federated, which is now Macy’s Inc., serving in several positions at Shillito’s department store in Cincinnati, including executive vice president, before moving west in 1973 to take the position at Bullock’s (which is now defunct). He retired as vice president of the Federated chain in 1977.

In addition to his business career, Bloch was on the boards of the Jewish Federation and United Way, both in Los Angeles and Cincinnati.

He also was on the board of the Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, and was a trustee of the Vista Del Mar Center for social services in Los Angeles.

A native of Cincinnati, Bloch graduated from Yale University in 1939 and immediately began working for Federated.

During World War II, he served as a lieutenant in the Army Air Forces, returning to a position in store operations and finance at Shillito’s after his discharge.

Bloch stayed in Southern California after his retirement and moved to the Cincinnati area in July.

He is survived by his second wife, Jan; a son, Peter; a stepson; two stepdaughters; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Cardinal Pio Laghi

Diplomat pushed Bush to avert war

Cardinal Pio Laghi, 86, a longtime Vatican diplomat who went to Washington to try to dissuade President Bush from launching the 2003 invasion of Iraq, died Saturday at a Rome hospital where he had been treated for some time, Vatican Radio said.

Pope John Paul II tapped Laghi, a former envoy to Washington, in 2003 to meet with Bush on the eve of the war. Laghi was trying to prevent what he said was a morally and legally unjustified invasion.

Laghi, who had been friendly with the Bush family, delivered a letter from John Paul and pressed Bush on whether he was doing everything to avert war. “You might start and you don’t know how to end it,” Laghi said at the time.

Born in Forli, Italy, on May 21, 1922, Laghi had a long career in the Vatican diplomatic corps, serving first in Nicaragua in 1952.

He was dispatched to India, Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories, Cyprus, Greece and Argentina before being named envoy to Washington in 1980.

At the time, there were no formal diplomatic relations between the United States and the Holy See; Laghi oversaw the establishment of ties in 1984 and remained as the Vatican’s permanent diplomatic representative there until he was recalled to Rome.

Laghi was named a cardinal in 1991.

Leonard E.B. Andrews

Art collector’s buy caused a sensation

Leonard E.B. Andrews, 83, the collector who caused a sensation in the art world when he bought 240 previously unknown works by the artist Andrew Wyeth, died Jan. 2 of prostate cancer at his home in Malvern, Pa.

The collection of paintings and sketches of Helga Testorf, some of them nudes, were done in secret by the artist over a 15-year period. Andrews paid $6 million for the collection in 1986 and sold them three years later -- along with hundreds of other Wyeth works he owned -- to a Japanese buyer for more than $40 million. The collection was subsequently sold to an American collector in 2005.

A native of Nacogdoches, Texas, Andrews was born March 31, 1925. He joined the Army Air Forces, serving as a pilot during World War II and the Korean War.

He attended Southern Methodist University and later moved to New York, where he published an interim newspaper during the city’s massive newspaper strike in 1962.

He formed Andrews Publications, which eventually published 23 bimonthly reports concerning litigation proceedings, and Andrews Communications, which published trade magazines.

He also wrote a column of meditative poems that, for a time, was published in the New York Daily News and Philadelphia Inquirer.

-- times staff and wire reports

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