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Tag: obit

James B. Adams, Former Acting FBI Director, Dies at 93

James B. Adams

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

James B. Adams, who served as acting FBI director for nine days in February 1978, has died.

He was 93.

Born in Corsicana, Texas, Adams served during Word War II and received a law degree from Baylor Law School.

Adams was elected to the Texas House of Representatives before resigning to become an FBI special agent in July 1951. In 1958, he served as special agent in charge of the bureau’s Minneapolis office. In 1972, he became special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Antonio office.

From Feb. 15, 1978 to Feb. 23, 1978, Adams served as acting director of the FBI until William H. Webster was sworn in.

Adams retired form the FBI in May 1979 and began serving as director of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) from 1980 to 1987.

“Colonel Adams had a storied career in law enforcement, one that was filled with accomplishments and accolades, and he leaves a behind a legacy that still benefits the law enforcement profession today,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said in a statement. “During his seven-year tenure at DPS, Colonel Adams provided outstanding leadership and fully supported the men and women at DPS who risked their lives daily to protect and serve Texas. After more than 30 years, DPS continues to benefit from his legacy, and on behalf of the men and women of DPS, I extend our sincere condolences to his family.”

First TSA Employee Dies from Coronavirus; More than 100 others have tested positive

TSA’s Francis “Frank” Boccabella III.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

It was only a matter of time.

More than 100 TSA employees, most of them screeners, have tested positive for the coronavirus since the U.S. outbreak began.

On Thursday, Francis “Frank” Boccabella III, an expositive detection canine handler at Newark Liberty International Airport, became the first TSA employee to die from the coronavirus.

Boccabella was only 39. He worked as a TSA officer since June 2004, when he started out screening air cargo at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

“He is the first federal TSA employee who we have lost to COVID-19,” the TSA said in a news release. “The news of this loss strengthens our determination to work ever more closely with our interagency partners to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Ralph Himmelsbach, FBI’s Lead Investigator in D.B. Cooper Case, Has Died

FBI sketch of D.B. Cooper

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Ralph Himmelsbach, the lead FBI agent in the mysterious 1971 skyjacker case of D.B. Cooper, has died.

The retired agent died Tuesday in Woodburn, Oregon, at the age of 94, The Oregonian reports.

Himmelsbach was best known for the decade he spent investigating the hijacking of Northwest Orient Flight 305. Cooper boarded the plane in Portland, Ore. He claimed to have a bomb and had the plane fly to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, where he got the ransom money. He subsequently parachuted from the plane and was never found.

After his retirement, Himmelsbach wrote the book “Norjak: The Investigation of D.B. Cooper” and “The Secrets of the FBI.”

“Special Agent Himmelsbach retired from the FBI almost 40 years ago, but he never left the FBI family,” Renn Cannon, special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, said. “Through the later years of his long career and into retirement, he was seen as an expert on the mysteries of the D.B. Cooper disappearance. He will be missed by all who had the chance to come to know him.”

Born on Sept. 28, 1985, in Oakland, Calif., Himmelsbach graduated from the University of Oregon and later served as a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II.

Himmelsbach joined the FBI in 1951 and became a reputable, dogged investigator.

Later in his life, Himmelsbach said D.B. Cooper likely did during his jump from the plane.

FBI Agents Say Hijacker D.B. Cooper Probably Died During His Jump

Journalist Who Exposed ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s Ties with FBI Dies

One of the books co-written by Gerald O’Neill.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Gerald M. O’Neill, an intrepid Boston Globe journalist who helped expose mobster James “Whitey” Bulger as an FBI informant, has died.

He was 76.

O’Neill was a longtime investigative reporter and editor for the newspaper’s Spotlight Team when he revealed in 1988 that Bulger was killing people while snitching for the FBI. At the time, the bureau was protecting the murderous crime boss.

“That stopped time in Boston,” Stephen A. Kurkjian, one of the original Spotlight reporters, told New York Times for an obit.

Kurkjian said the FBI told the Globe its information was erroneous and would embarrass the newspaper if it dropped the bombshell report. But editors stood behind O’Neill’s investigative work and published the story. After all, O’Neill had valuable sources within the FBI.

“It was a nerve-racking moment,” Dick Lehr, a Spotlight reporter who worked on the series with Mr. O’Neill, told the Times.

A decade later, the FBI finally admitted publicly that O’Neill and his team was right – Bulger was an FBI informant.

O’Neill and Lehr wrote two books about Bulger. One of them, “Black Mass: The Irish Mob, the FBI, and a Devil’s Deal,” which was published in 2000, was turned into a 2015 movie in which Johnny Depp starred as Bulger.

O’Neill died at his Boston home Thursday after complications with interstitial lung disease.

The Remarkable Life of FBI Special Agent Jerry Crowe – 1924-2017

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Jerome K. “Jerry” Crowe, a retired FBI special agent who played a significant role in major cases and founded the bureau’s first SWAT team in Los Angels, died following a longtime battle with Alzheimer’s disease, The Daily Breeze reports

He was 93.

The WWII Amy veteran joined the FBI in 1951 and spent all but his first year in the Los Angeles Field Office, before retiring in 1979.

Crowe was an FBI firearms instructor and worked on major cases such as the kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Jr. and Patty Hearst.

In the Sinatra case in December 1963, Crowe was chosen to deliver a $240,000 ransom to the kidnappers. Within days, Sinatra’s only son, who was 19 years old, returned unharmed to his parents, and the kidnappers were arrested.

Crowe founded the FBI’s SWAT team and became its leader in May 1974.

The bureau renamed in Crowe’s honor the FBI Regional Counterterrorism Training Center at the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Orange County in 2011.

“Jerry was an outstanding FBI agent,” read a statement announcing the name change, “who was selected for this honor because it was his foresight in fostering the SWAT concept in Los Angeles and his ability to create and lead the original L.A. SWAT team, which helped to create a legacy that is now an integral and important part of the FBI throughout the nation.”

Crowe was a native of Florida.

The Daily Breeze wrote:

Born in Cocoa, Florida, on Oct. 4, 1924, Crowe was the youngest of three children born to John and Mary Crowe. He graduated from Daytona Beach Mainland High, where he lettered in football and track and field.

Following older brother Jack Crowe into the Army in 1943, he was sent to Europe a year later and, in 1946, was discharged and returned to the United States.

After graduating from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, in 1950 with a degree in business administration, Crowe joined the FBI. His first supervisor in the FBI, after he was assigned to the bureau’s Seattle office, was Mark Felt, who later gained fame as anonymous Washington Post informant “Deep Throat” in the Watergate scandal.

A lifelong sports fan, Crowe met Los Angeles native Margarita Sanchez at a Los Angeles Rams football game at the Memorial Coliseum in 1952. Married in October 1953 and settling in Redondo Beach in 1957, they reared three children: Jerome, Robert and Nancy.

Before retiring from the FBI, where he mostly was assigned to bank robbery investigations and served as a counselor to the 86th session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, Crowe earned a master’s degree in police administration from Cal State Los Angeles.

After leaving the bureau, he worked as director of security at Gibraltar Savings for more than a decade before retiring.

FBI Special Agent Died of Rare Type of Cancer at Age of 65

fbigunbadgeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Special Agent Mark C. Johnston, who was one of the first law enforcement officials to respond to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack at the World Trade Center, has died of a rare type of cancer.

Johnston was 65.

At the FBI, Johnston also played a role in the TWA 800 flight disaster, the aftermath of Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, the Press of Atlantic City reports

“He had integrity beyond question and was humble to a fault,” Dennis McKelvey, a prosecutor who worked on joint investigations with Johnson, said.

Johnston was the author of the 2015 book “FBI & an Ordinary Guy, the Private Price of Public Services.”

“As an FBI agent in New York and other large American cities, we faced outlaw motorcycle gangs, the Mafia, drug kingpins, terrorists and land pirates,” the book’s description said. “The public knows little about the stress and high emotional costs the guardians of their safety pay in the constant battle against crime and terror.”

The Press of Atlantic City wrote:

During Johnston’s FBI tenure, he was the program manager for its employee assistance program.

Fellow FBI Special Agent Jessica Weisman said Johnston was loyal to his country, caring, compassionate and a dedicated family man. Weisman said he put in at least 20 years of service to the FBI.

“He was very committed and got very involved with the employee assistance program for many years,” Weisman said. “He was a very hardworking Special Agent for the FBI.”

Since Johnston’s retirement from the FBI, he served as program manager for police in-service training at the Atlantic County Police Academy.

Johnston also served with the Concerns of Police Survivors, a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and a volunteer with the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. He helped found the local Beach Plum Association and was a counselor for Trinity Hospice’s Camp Lost & Found.

FBI Special Agent Dies After Completing Mandatory Fitness Assessment

Special Agent Ricky O’Donald

Special Agent Ricky O’Donald

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An FBI special agent in the Miami Field Office died after completing the bureau’s annual mandatory fitness assessment earlier this month.

Special Agent Rickey O’Donald suffered a heart attack soon after finishing the fitness assessment on Feb. 17, Officer.com reports.

O’Donald, a 29-year veteran of the FBI, complained to fellow agents that he wasn’t feeling himself, so he drove to a local hospital. While in the parking lot, he collapsed and was later pronounced dead.

O’Donald is survived by his wife and and their daughter.

Contributions may be directed to Christ Rock Community Church, 11000 Stirling Road, Cooper City, Fla. 33328. http://crcconline.org/

The funeral is scheduled for March 1 at Fred Hunter’s University Drive Home in Davie.

Border Patrol Agents Suffers Fatal Heart Attack While on Bike Patrol

Agent David Gomez

Agent David Gomez

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A U.S. Border Patrol agent on bike patrol in El Paso, Texas, had a fatal heart attack on Nov. 15.

Agent David Gomez was riding on McKelligan Canyon Road on Nov. 14 with several other agents when he became ill and fell off his bike, Officer.com reports. 

Agents quickly began CPR until paramedics arrived.

The 44-year-old agent was taken to a local hospital, where he died the following day.

Gomez was a 20-year veteran of the Border patrol and is survived by his wife, three children, parents and two brothers.

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