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Russian Language Expert Katzner Dies
June 6, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) - Kenneth Katzner, one of the United States' most distinguished authorities on the Russian language, has died of congestive heart failure due to cancer. He was 72.

Katzner compiled a popular English-Russian/Russian-English dictionary and wrote ``The Languages of the World'' and ``A Russian Review Text.''

He was born in Washington, grew up in Forest Hills, N.Y., and returned to Washington in 1972. He died here on May 25.

After graduating from Cornell University in 1952, Katzner served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He received intensive Russian language training at the Syracuse University Language Program and was posted in England as a communications intelligence officer.

After completing his military service, Katzner was hired as an editor for Grolier Encyclopedia and later for Encyclopaedia Britannica. He also worked as an editor for the American Heritage Dictionary, where he developed his methodology for researching and defining the different meanings of words. After 18 years, Katzner completed his English-Russian/Russian-English dictionary.

The dictionary sold hundreds of thousands of copies throughout the world and was pirated in the former Soviet Union. He was completing the third edition at the time of his death.

Katzner served in the U.S. government for 20 years, working as a Soviet specialist for the CIA and the Defense Department.

He traveled extensively, was a frequently published photographer and was a Life Master bridge player.

Katzner is survived by his wife of 36 years, Betty Lenson Katzner.

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