Mary Lou Forbes

Journalist won Pulitzer

Mary Lou Forbes, 83, a journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1959 at the Washington Star for her coverage of Virginia school desegregation and became founding editor of the Washington Times' Commentary opinion page, died Saturday of breast cancer at Inova Alexandria (Va.) Hospital.

Forbes began her career at the Star as a 17-year-old copy messenger. Rapidly promoted to reporter, she made her greatest impact during the 1950s reporting on "massive resistance" in Virginia to desegregation in public schools. The resistance, pushed by the political machine of then-U.S. Sen. Harry F. Byrd Sr., aimed to shut down public schools rather than integrate.

Mary Lou Werner was born June 21, 1926, in Alexandria and raised by her widowed mother. After graduating from high school in 1942, she began studying math at the University of Maryland, but her family's finances led her to quit school and seek employment.

She initially applied for a job in the Star's accounting department, but the job was taken and she was directed to the newsroom. There she said she thrived, as long as editors did not think she was married or planning to have children.

In the late 1950s, she became one of the paper's first female editors. When she was hired, she recalled, the newsroom's top executive asked her, "Do you think that men will take orders from you?"

The Star, an afternoon paper, folded in 1981, and three years later Forbes joined the fledgling Washington Times. She started the Commentary section, which features opinion writing distinct from the op-ed page.

Godfrey Rampling

Runner won Olympic gold

Godfrey Rampling, 100, who was believed to be Britain's oldest Olympian and who won gold in the 4x400-meter relay at the 1936 Berlin Games, died in his sleep June 20 at a nursing home in Bushey, England.

He was the father of actress Charlotte Rampling.

The Olympian ran the second leg of the 1936 relay with teammates Fred Wolff, Bill Roberts and Arthur Brown, beating the U.S. and German teams.

At the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Rampling had been on the British team that took the silver medal in the 4x400 relay.

The British runners' preparation was fairly lackadaisical.

"Training was a complete farce," Rampling told the Independent newspaper in 1996. ". . . When I felt like it, I ran round [a cricket ground] or sprinted up and down in short bursts. Then I would run for about 600 yards for so-called stamina training. The Americans were astounded at our lack of training."

Rampling was born in Blackheath, southeast of London, on May 14, 1909, and spent 29 years in the British army's Royal Artillery, retiring with the rank of colonel in 1958.

Don Coldsmith

Doctor, Spanish Bit Saga author