Tuesday, February 28, 2006

LBD and Otis Chandler

Otis Chandler, long-term publisher of the Los Angeles Times, died on Monday, February 27, as a result of Lewy Body Disease. He was 78 years old.

For more information, go to www.latimes.com/news and then use the search tool by entering his name.

Chandler was publisher from 1960-1980. He guided major changes in the newspaper's scope and outlook, making it one of the leading daily papers in the US.

A vigorous athlete, he was diagnosed about a year ago and declined swiftly in the last week.

In fact, his dementia began several years ago. For his 75th birthday, his family had been planning a big party, but they decided to cancel their plans when it became apparent that he might say or do inappropriate things. LBD patients lose normal inhibitions controlling speech and behavior, but they retain the ability to talk and to initiate behavior.

Speakers at Chandler's memorial service included his wife, Bettina, who described a moving Lewy Body moment, as reported in the LA Times, March 7, p. B1:

Bettina Chandler brought tears to many in the church when she told a story about Chandler that included a reference to his firstborn son, Norman, who died of a brain tumor in 2002. Otis, she said, woke up recently, when disease was claiming his reasoning powers, and announced to her: "I have to pack."
"Where are you going?" she asked.
"I don't know," Chandler replied, "but Norman's coming for me."

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