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Sol Linowitz

The New York Times called Sol Linowitz, who died on March 19, "one of the handful of people who truly fit the description 'wise man.'"

            The Washington Post described him as "a businessman who became chairman of the board of a small Rochester-based company that grew to become Xerox, a diplomat who was co-negotiator of the Panama Canal treaties, and a lawyer who in later years became a forceful critic of what he saw as his profession's ethical lapses."

            National Public Radio commentator Daniel Schorr described him as "a person of great wisdom and great gentleness."

            The Times quoted President Clinton, as he awarded Linowitz the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1998, saying that getting advice on international diplomacy from Linowitz was "like getting trumpet lessons from the angel Gabriel."

            An adviser to presidents --- Johnson, Carter, Clinton --- president of the National Urban League, US representative to the Organization of American States, Linowitz, Carter said in a statement last week, was "a great citizen and diplomat."

            In Rochester, Linowitz was a significant figure at both Xerox and the Harris Beach law firm (whose name at one time included Linowitz's). He became Xerox's attorney at a crucial time --- when it was still known as Haloid and its president, Joseph Wilson, asked Linowitz to help acquire the rights to use the new process of electrophotography. The result, noted the Times, was a company that "changed the way the world did business."

            Linowitz went on to become chairman of Xerox. Harris Beach partner Tom Hampson, who worked with Linowitz on Xerox matters, says Linowitz was "significant in shaping the development of Xerox, not technically, but in terms of marketing and public relations."

            "Xerox had the reputation of being the most squeakily clean, socially responsible company ever," says Hampson. Among the company's initiatives under Linowitz and Wilson: sponsoring a television series on the United Nations and organizing a symposium on "science and society."

            Linowitz's death came two days after that of Rochesterian Edward Harris, grandson of the Harris Beach founder, who had persuaded Linowitz to join him at the firm.

--- Mary Anna Towler