Dutch Prince Claus dead at age 76
Oct. 7, 2002
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Prince Claus, the German-born husband of Queen Beatrix who employed wit, charm and patience to overcome Dutch hostility and win the affection of his adopted nation, died Sunday. He was 76.
Claus had been in and out of intensive care for several months with respiratory and heart problems. Doctors at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam said he died of Parkinson's disease and pneumonia, according to a government statement.
Claus' marriage to Beatrix was initially resisted by the Dutch public, with many residents upset about his service with the Nazi Army in World War II and membership in the Hitler Youth.
But his eventual acceptance was reflected on Sunday, when the country's television and radio stations interrupted regular programming to air special newscasts and documentaries on Claus' life. The government declared a period of mourning and instructed public buildings to fly flags at half-staff until his burial.
In a live televised broadcast, Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende said Claus' death "comes as a shock to us all, even though we new for years of his poor health."
"He was a remarkable man who won a warm place in the hearts of the Dutch people," Balkenende said. "With his passing, a great man is gone."
Beatrix, 64, and the couple's three sons were at Claus' bedside when he died.
Oct. 15, 2002
He was a small-town boy, but Eddie Lynch always dreamed big, especially when it came to making Phoenix a major-league sports town.
Whether it was investing in the Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks or bringing the Arizona Cardinals to Tempe, Lynch had a dream of putting the Valley on the map.
"He was a strong civic booster and promoter of professional sports," said Jerry Colangelo, a longtime friend who runs the Suns and Diamondbacks. "He touched a lot of people, and he will be missed by all."
Lynch, 67, who lived in Phoenix, died Monday in Scottsdale's Mayo Clinic after suffering a stroke last week.
Lynch made his fortune in development deals, and he was a founder of mall and real-estate developer Westcor. Yet, ever since he was a high school catcher in Kingman, friends say his first love was sports.
As a child, he grew up listening to University of Arizona games on the radio. He would later run track in Tucson, and he became one of the UA athletic department's biggest boosters. Until his death, he held season tickets for football and men's basketball.
"He was a rural-America, small-town boy who really made good. He remembered his roots, and he never forgot what the University of Arizona meant to him," said Tom Fridena, a Scottsdale businessman and close friend. "He was always ready to help out in a cause he believed in, and Eddie's heart was as big as Arizona."
Last month, Lynch was honored for his $6.5 million pledge for the UA's new $13.5 million athletics complex that bears his name.
"Eddie was the consummate supporter. He did everything he could," UA Athletic Director Jim Livengood said. "From the day he stepped on campus from Kingman, he has been a Wildcat."
After earning a bachelor's degree in marketing in 1957 at the university, Lynch served a year in the Army. He then began Western Outdoor Advertising in 1958 and ran the company until 1964, when he sold it to Karl Eller, a Phoenix businessman. Lynch then joined Guaranty Bank of Arizona as vice president of marketing.
In 1969, Lynch joined longtime friend and real estate professional Rusty Lyon and Phoenix attorney A.T. LaPrade to form Westcor.
Westcor developed three neighborhood shopping centers and built such upscale malls as Scottsdale Fashion Square. Macerich Co., of Santa Monica, Calif., bought the company in July for more than $1 billion.
In 1995, Lynch teamed with former state Department of Commerce Director Jim Marsh to form an investment group to acquire 300 acres to develop Flagstaff's Woodlands Village master-planned community.
Lynch, however, was mostly known for his investments in professional sports.
He was an original investor in the Phoenix Suns in 1968 and became a key investor in 1987, when Colangelo brought together a group that bought the team for $44.5 million.
Eight years later, Lynch Baseball LLC, another investment group, became the fourth-largest investor in the Diamondbacks, ultimately putting $9.6 million into last year's world champions.
He also is credited with helping lure the Arizona Cardinals to the desert in the late 1980s, after attempts to attract the Baltimore Colts failed.
"Eddie was a fan of all sports, and he was eager to bring other professional sports to Phoenix. I regret his passing," said Bill Bidwill, the Cardinals owner.
Lynch also served as Big Chief of the Thunderbirds, the civic organization that sponsors the Phoenix Open golf tournament, and he served on the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Super Bowl Committee.
Lynch is survived by his wife, Diana, and daughters Allison and Katherine Lynch. Funeral arrangements have not been determined.
Carmen Martinez Franco
Nov. 07, 2001
Carmen Martinez Franco was soft-spoken, but that didn't mean she wasn't heard.
Her delivery was so low key you were forced to stop and listen. She mastered the idea that you never had to raise your voice to gain attention.
She'd just stand there, in a regal sort of way, drawing you in with her eyes, eager to share her thoughts.
The conversation would always end with a smile, and if you're lucky, a hug. She didn't offer them out to everybody. She had to care about you.
As it turns out, Franco, who died Oct. 1 at age 57, cared about an awful lot of people.
Husband Frank said she led at least three lives: through her family, her church and the YWCA.
Her devotion to the Y began when she was just 5 years old growing up in south Phoenix. Her mother, Isabel Martinez, was a board member of the local YWCA. When she went to meetings, Carmen tagged along.
As her mother pushed for the betterment of women, the betterment of children surrounded by poverty and segregation, Franco would sit quietly and listen. Maybe something took hold. Years later, she echoed her mother's words and passions.
After graduating from South Mountain High School in 1962, Franco attended Northern Arizona University. But her goal to become a teacher was cut short when she married Frank in 1963. He entered the Army, and they traveled the world. Franco always took time to volunteer and kept her allegiance with the YWCA while caring for their two children, Christopher and Paul. Their first child, Frank Anthony, died during birth in 1964.
After the family settled in Phoenix in the 1976, Franco became active at St. Matthews and St. Gregory's Catholic Church. And again, she became involved in the YWCA.
She became a gentle and ardent advocate for women and the underprivileged. In the early 1980s and again from 1994 to 2000, she served on the board of directors of the YWCA of Maricopa County. In 1984, she was elected to the national board and spent 11 years serving in such areas as the Racial Justice Committee and the World Relations Committee. In March 2000, Franco received the Dorothy Willey Award for her outstanding leadership as a volunteer.
She'd be the soothing force during any board meeting that went awry. In one instance, the members became frustrated at whether to expand a meal program for seniors.
As members quibbled over costs of a few extra meals, Franco reminded them of the purpose of their organization.
"She said, 'No old people should go hungry,' " recalls Barbara Lewkowitz, executive director of the local Maricopa County YWCA.
Through Franco's efforts, the Y opened a new congregate meal site for seniors.
In 1998, Franco fulfilled a lifelong dream, getting her degree in education. Unlike many of her peers who landed a permanent job, Franco chose to substitute teach, most often at A.F. Garcia Elementary in the Murphy School District.
Franco, who was battling cancer for the second time, explained that she wanted to touch as many children as she possibly could in the time she had left.
For women like Lewkowitz, Franco was more than just a mentor, she was a mother figure. She could steer you toward a decision without feeling like you'd been pushed.
For her husband, Franco was an angel, his soulmate, the rock of the family. "I always told her that she was as much a soldier as I had been."
Survivors include husband Frank Franco; sons Christopher and Paul Franco; sisters Virginia Rios, Barbara Maldonado and Isabel Quihuis; brothers Nicholas and Andres Rios, and Robert Martinez; and grandchildren Noah Desmond and Dominique Renae.
Roy "Robby" Robinson
Nov. 11, 2001
The ocean was a sea of glass.
Robby Robinson sat in his movie theater seat and quietly chuckled as he watched the premiere of the movie Midway in 1976.
He watched the screen as a seaplane appeared and effortlessly landed in the water to pluck a U.S. sailor from a lone raft.
Somehow, Hollywood had missed the 8-foot waves that Robinson remembers that early morning of June 5, 1942.
But it didn't matter that they hadn't gotten it quite right. What mattered was that he had been there the day he and his Navy buddies rescued one of their own.
The recovery of Ensign George Gay was a highlight in the life of Robinson, who survived his own brushes with death several times as a World War II pilot. Although a modest man, Robinson would gladly pull up a chair, lapsing into detailed stories of his adventures over the Pacific Ocean.
Robinson gave the Navy 37 years, retiring in 1961 as a commander. He concentrated on other passions like family and golf and he was blessed with active years of retirement. But finally Parkinson's disease and kidney failure corralled the vibrant Goodyear resident. He died Oct. 17 at age 81.
Roy "Robby" Robinson was born Dec. 28, 1919, in Denver. Although he was a good student, he dropped out of high school, got his father's signature and joined the Navy when he was 17. By the time World War II broke out, he was quickly put into action as pilot and co-pilot aboard PBY's, huge seaplanes.
He was flying over the Pacific during the June 4-6 Battle of Midway, considered a turning point in World War II. U.S. forces sank three Japanese carriers and critically damaged a fourth. But the enemy had waged its own battle, killing several American pilots and crewmen.
On the morning of June 5, Robinson was flying as co-pilot with Pappy Cole, taking their PBY out into the Pacific to hunt for signs of the Japanese fleet.
Suddenly, the navigator looked down, having spied a yellow life raft in an oil slick filled with black Japanese rafts. Bound by their assignment, they had to fly on but they waved a handkerchief to Gay to signal they had spied him.
They returned hours later to find Gay and the raft among tremendous waves.
Cole made a rough landing and Robinson hustled to the back of the plane, opening the door to pull Gay in. Robinson signaled for Cole to lift off. Rivets holding the plane together began to pop out, so the crew plugged them with pencils.
"Those guys were really heroes," said Robinson's wife, Shirley. "They were just fearless people to make that rescue."
Robinson and Gay reunited in June 1992, along with other survivors of Midway.
"Robby was so excited," Shirley said. "Here was a man he hadn't seen in more than 50 years. It was really something."
Robinson balanced the dangers of his Navy adventures with a few antics along the way. One time, while on a mission to Newfoundland, he filled the plane with lobsters. A trip to Cuba yielded a few bottles of rum. And then, there was the dare from his Navy buddies. He took out a plane and flew it down low through the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.
"They'd sort of frown on those things today," Shirley said.
After he retired in 1961, no other job quite matched his military service. But he found joy in a new family. He met Shirley in 1970 and married two years later. Her three daughters became his own.
And then, there was golf. He was an active volunteer for the PGA in California and Arizona, so much so that they named one of the tournaments the Robinson Cup.
Shirley's daughters Sharyl Perkett and Debbie Tighe said Robinson was a charming man who liked to tease, but not in a mean way.
Tighe remembers the day he gave her a lesson about maintaining her first car, a Volkswagen. He sat back and laughed as he sent her hunting for the battery underneath the driver's seat.
Robinson was an impeccable dresser, never left without a coat and tie even on scorching days. He'd float by you in a whisper of Aramis after-shave. Indoors, you'd find him settled in an easy chair, the television fixed to CNN, unless it was time for Days of Our Lives. The avid fan would tape it if he was going to be away.
He was a fierce patriot. Shirley said he was quite upset over the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. "If he could, he would have been right down there, helping out, re-enlisting even," she said. "He just loved his country so very much."
Survivors include: wife, Shirley; daughters Sharyl Perkett, Debbie Tighe and Vicki Whitacre; son Roy Robinson III; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
May Winnifred Annexton
Nov. 15, 2002
Medical writer and lecturer May Winnifred Annexton, who served as president of the Phoenix Chapter of Planned Parenthood during the 1950s, died Nov. 10 in Indianapolis, her home for the past few decades.
Annexton had been working on a book on the history of female physicians in Indiana.
From 1991 to 1997, she worked at Riley Child Development Center at Indiana University School of Medicine. Her work there chronicled the family lives of children with disabilities, and she was awarded a commendation from the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine.
Annexton also had been an associate editor at the Journal of the American Medical Association and wrote the first article on the use of catheters to clear blocked arteries. She received a Blakeslee Award from the American Heart Association for the Best Scientific Article on Heart Disease in 1979.
Annexton also authored two books, Coping With Skin Care and Your Body: A Reference Book for Women.
Memorial contributions may be made to Sholom Foundation, 3620 Phillips Parkway, St. Louis Park, MN 55426; Oregon Health and Science University Cancer Institute, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, CR 145, Portland, OR 97201; or St. Vincent Hospice, 8450 North Payne Road, Suite 100, Indianapolis, IN 46268.
Survivors include daughters Martha Karatz and Amy Karatz; and four grandchildren.
Frank Joseph Cunningham
Nov. 18, 2001
If dogged tenacity were a cure for liver cancer, Frank Cunningham would be here today.
He accepted his illness with optimism and vigor, the same traits that marked his life.
He lost his battle Oct. 17. The Phoenix resident was 64.
Frank Joseph Cunningham grew up in New York's South Bronx, the son of an Irish father and an English mother. He was street smart, ever-ready with a keen wit. He didn't go looking for problems, but he didn't avoid them when they needed handling.
One of his biggest challenges came in 1977.
Cunningham had just arrived with his family in the Valley. After 14 rewarding but stressful years climbing the corporate ladder with Hertz Rent-A-Car, Cunningham was risking their comfortable lifestyle for the dream of running his own business.
He wanted to operate a limousine service, but not with just any old stretch limo. Cunningham was going to chauffeur customers around like royalty in his 1962 Silver Cloud Rolls-Royce. It had classic styling, a 4-foot-tall grill and a 7-foot hood.
But getting his dream to come true wasn't so easy.
When Cunningham went to get a license for his business, he discovered that the industry was regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission. When anyone attempted to get a limousine license, the existing business protested, saying there weren't enough customers for more than one service.
Instead of giving up, Cunningham hired a lawyer. And to make ends meet in the meantime, he took a job as a bellman at the Wigwam Resort.
Why would a guy who had been Hertz's general manager in Europe settle for a job as a bellman?
His son, Steve, laughs and explained that his father was always thinking ahead. "He wanted to make contacts in the hotel and resort industry. He was sure that he was going to get a license soon, so he didn't want to take a management position."
So while Cunningham collected tips, his lawyer came up with the argument that using the Rolls-Royce as a limo would be unique, not the same kind of competition. The commission agreed, and by 1978, Cunningham had his license. By 1981, the industry was deregulated.
He began placing ads for his Rolls Royce Chauffeur Drive Service. For $25 an hour, he'd take you out on the town to restaurants, high school proms, to and from the airport. Some new parents even hired him to bring their babies home from the hospital.
Cunningham was always impeccably dressed, always with his chauffeur's cap. And he drove around his share of celebrities, Boz Scaggs, Vic Damone, Rodney Dangerfield and David Bowie among them.
Cunningham's wife, Peggy, remembers Bowie's drive through downtown Phoenix. A couple of office workers spotted him through his open window. "They asked him, 'Who are you?' And he said, 'Oh, nobody, just a tennis player.' "
Cunningham babied his car. Even if he returned home in the middle of the night and had hit a puddle, he'd clean the Rolls before going to bed. "This car was not the grocery getter," Steve said. "He was so proud of it."
By 1981, Cunningham had six cars and other drivers in the business. He bought a franchise from the Carey Limousine company in New York. Today, Carey Phoenix Limousine has 36 cars.
The Rolls-Royce was sold about five years ago. It was a sentimental loss but had become too expensive to operate. It was never replaced by another Rolls. Cunningham thought the newer models lack panache.
As he had with Hertz, Cunningham gave the limousine business his all. He'd arrive at the office at 4 a.m. His son would try to scoot him out the door in the afternoon but Cunningham would always grab an armload of paperwork.
Outside of work, Cunningham was a caring father and husband. He was proud of his Irish heritage and often donated to Valley Irish organizations.
"I don't think he considered himself successful," Peggy said. "He always did the best he could and he competed with himself, not other people. He'd wash the cars, he'd throw away the garbage. There was nothing that was beneath him."
Survivors include his wife, Peggy; son, Steve; daughters Dana Winter, Mary Birdoes and Patricia Cunningham; mother, Mary; brothers Edward and John; grandchildren Kristine, Kasey and Colten Winter and Shannon and Clark Cunningham; and several nieces and nephews.
Nov. 20, 2002
TORONTO - Steve Durbano, whose life spiraled downward after his NHL career ended in 1979, died Saturday of liver cancer. He was 50.
Durbano played parts of six seasons as a defender for St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Colorado.
In 220 career games, he was credited with 73 points and amassed 1,127 penalty minutes.
He was the 13th player selected in the 1971 entry draft.
In 1983, Durbano was sentenced to seven years in prison for his part in a scheme to import cocaine.
In 1995, he went back to prison after offering an undercover police officer a job with an escort service he was operating.
Andy Cifranic, 71, 'Plain Dealer' photojournalist
Nov. 20, 2002
MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio - Andy Cifranic, an award-winning photographer for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, died Saturday of complications from throat cancer. He was 71.
From 1951 to 1955, he practiced photography while serving in the Air Force.
After his discharge, he returned to the newspaper and worked as a clerk in the dispatch room until a photographer's position opened up. He retired in 1998.
Cifranic is survived by his wife of 48 years, Anne; five sons; a daughter; and eight grandchildren.
Thomas Gephardt, 75, editorial page editor
Nov. 20, 2002
CINCINNATI - Thomas Gephardt, who was editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer's editorial page for 32 years, died Monday from complications of lung cancer. He was 75.
Gephardt was editorial page editor from 1960 until he retired in 1992, and had the title of associate editor the last 20 years. He was known as "Mr. Whig," a character he created to convey his conservative viewpoint in a regular Sunday column.
Survivors include his wife, Deborah; a son, Andrew; and a daughter, Clare.
Julius Grossman, 90, conductor and teacher
Nov. 20, 2002
NEW YORK - Julius Grossman, a conductor and teacher who established the music department at the High School of Performing Arts, died Nov. 12. He was 90.
For nearly 50 years, Grossman led free orchestra concerts that combined veteran and amateur performers.
His first concerts were performed in the summer of 1955. He assembled the Lower Eastside Symphony Orchestra because he saw a need for free performances in the city's public spaces.
Several years later, he formed the Municipal Concerts Orchestra, which was later renamed the Julius Grossman Orchestra. The orchestra regularly played free shows.
Ramli Amat, Olympic sprinter from Malaysia
Nov. 20, 2002
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Ramli Amat, who represented Malaysia in the 1976 Montreal Olympics and was considered one of that nation's finest sprinters, died from a stroke Saturday. He was 47.
Ramli collapsed while jogging in a park on Labuan Island in eastern Malaysia on Saturday, according to fellow Malaysian athlete Jimmy Tan.
Ramli held a 25-year-old national record in the 200-meter dash.
In recent years, he held a senior security post at the Malaysia Airlines branch in Labuan, where he was born.
He remained active in sports and established an association for veteran athletes on the island.