January 29, 1996 12:00 PM

After battling multiple sclerosis and leukemia, former Rep. Barbara Jordan, the first African-American woman elected to the House of Representatives from the South since Reconstruction, died of viral pneumonia on Jan. 17 in Austin, Texas. She was 59. Jordan, born to a Baptist minister in a Houston ghetto, became, in 1966, the first black person elected to the Texas State Senate. Renowned for her powerful oratorical skills and her talent for consensus building, Jordan was elected in 1972 to Congress, where she served on the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate hearings. “My faith in the Constitution is whole,” she declared at the time. “It is complete. It is total.” In 1979, after three terms in the House, Jordan sought a new challenge: She became a professor at the University of Texas. In 1994 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Of his fellow Texan, Gov. George W. Bush said, “Texas has lost a powerful voice of conscience and integrity. [She] was a champion of our freedom, Constitution and laws.”…

Sam Griffith, 38, a real estate developer and the son of actor Andy Griffith, was found dead of undetermined causes in his North Hollywood home on Jan. 17. The Los Angeles County coroner will perform an autopsy; there was no evidence of foul play.

Green Bay Packers wide-receivers coach Gil Haskell, 52, was rushed to a Dallas hospital on Jan. 14 after suffering a fractured skull when he was knocked unconscious on the sideline during the NFC championship game against the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium. Haskell was slammed to the ground late in the second quarter when the Cowboys’ Darren Woodson knocked Packer Robert Brooks out of bounds. He is in fair condition and is expected to leave the hospital later this week….

Deborah Harter, 38, who was ordered by a South Carolina judge on Dec. 7 to be tethered to her 15-year-old daughter, Tonya Kline, until a court hearing later this month, was released from a Charleston, S.C., hospital on Jan. 12 after three days of treatment for an overdose of an antianxiety medication. Tonya, who had been charged with truancy and shoplifting, was tied to her stepfather, Richard Harter, 35, while her mother was in the hospital.

After more than 30 years as editor-in-chief of the magazine with which she had become synonymous, Helen Gurley Brown, 73, announced on Jan. 16 that this will be her last 18 months as a Cosmo-politan girl. Brown, who took over as editor of Cosmo in 1965 after writing her bestseller Sex and the Single Girl, will be succeeded by Bonnie Fuller, the founding editor of the U.S. edition of Marie Claire. Brown will continue to run Cosmo’s 27 foreign editions….

Emmy-winning talk show host Phil Donahue, 60, announced Jan. 17 that he will sign off at the end of this season after 29 years, 6,000 shows and countless cries of “Is the caller there?” Donahue will continue to work on a variety of specials and new projects for television.

The Young and the Restless’s Victoria Rowell, 36, and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, 34, welcomed Jasper Armstrong (weight unavailable) on Dec. 26 at Cedars-Sinai hospital in L.A. Rowell has Maya, 6, from a previous marriage; Marsalis has Wynton Jr., 6, and Simeon, 4, from an earlier relationship.

Crown Prince Pavlos, 28, son of the exiled King Constantine of Greece and his wife, New York University art student Marie-Chantal Miller, 26, are expecting their first child in July. The couple, who live in New York City, were married last July.