Archive for the ‘In Memoriam’ Category

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (January 3-9, 2010)

Monday, January 10th, 2011


Rich beyond counting with compassion for the poor; Tom White, one of Boston’s greatest philanthropists, dies at the age of 90.” By Bryan Marquard. Boston Globe. January 8, 2011. How much money did Tom White give away before he died yesterday at 90? More than $75 million over his lifetime, he estimated several years ago, but the total is difficult to gauge because he started sending checks to charities as a young man, when his savings barely topped $1,000 and he did not know his gifts would some day measure in the millions of dollars. How many lives did he save or improve? No easy answers there, either. Partners in Health, which he helped found in 1987 and to which he gave millions, has saved uncounted lives in Haiti and other developing countries where the poor die of illnesses such as drug-resistant tuberculosis and AIDS. And Mr. White contributed to dozens of other charities, nudging a seemingly endless stream of lives in new directions simply by keeping a wad of bills in his pocket. He would slip a $20 bill to the employee cleaning toilets at McDonald’s. Once, a homeless woman in Harvard Square told him her life would be better if she had a red wagon to cart redeemable bottles. She burst into tears the next day when he showed up pulling a red wagon. Mr. White, who made his fortune building J.F. White Contracting into one of Boston’s biggest companies, said that after making sure his family was taken care of financially, he set out to die as close to penniless as possible. With his family by his side, he died yesterday morning at his home in the Auburndale neighborhood of Newton. He lived his life with but a single regret. “I’m sorry I don’t have more money to give away,’’ he told the Globe in 2004.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (October 25-31, 2010)

Monday, November 1st, 2010


Mary Emma Allison, Who Inspired Charitable Ghouls, Dies at 93.” By Margalit Fox. New York Times. October 29, 2010. Six decades ago, on a fall afternoon, a young woman caught sight of a children’s parade. She followed the children, in bright native dress, as they wended their way through the streets of the town. They entered a store, with the woman behind them, and inside the store she encountered a cow. She followed the cow, and she came to a booth. On account of the children, the cow and the booth, the woman came up with a world-changing plan. … The booth was in Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia, and it belonged to Unicef. The parade of costumed children (and the cow) was part of a campaign to send powdered milk to needy children overseas. The woman was a schoolteacher named Mary Emma Allison. Moved by her chance encounter, she and her husband created Trick-or-Treat for Unicef, a Halloween ritual that celebrates its 60th anniversary on Sunday and has raised tens of millions of dollars for children worldwide. Mrs. Allison died on Wednesday, at 93. The death, at her home in Lowell, Ind., was announced by Unicef. In the autumn of 1949, Mrs. Allison set out with her children to buy winter coats at Wanamaker’s. Down the street came the parade. Mrs. Allison wrote an appeal for a national magazine her husband edited, which was sent to Presbyterian Sunday school teachers. Published before Halloween in 1950, the appeal asked prospective trick-or-treaters to collect coins for Unicef in milk cartons or tins. There is no accurate record of the takings that first year, but Unicef’s orange cardboard box with the coin slot, which soon supplanted the milk cartons, became a ubiquitous presence in the sticky hands of autumn.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (September 6-12, 2010)

Monday, September 13th, 2010


John W. Kluge, Founder of Metromedia, Dies at 95.” By Marilyn Berger. New York Times. September 8, 2010. John W. Kluge, who parlayed a small fortune from a Fritos franchise into a multibillion-dollar communications empire that made him one of the richest men in America, died on Tuesday night at a family home in Charlottesville, Va. He was 95. Mr. Kluge was the creator of Metromedia, the nation’s first major independent broadcasting entity, a conglomerate that grew to include seven television stations, 14 radio stations, outdoor advertising, the Harlem Globetrotters, the Ice Capades, radio paging and mobile telephones. An immigrant from Germany, Mr. Kluge (pronounced KLOOG-ee) came to the United States in 1922 and took his first job at the age of 10 as a payroll clerk for his stepfather in Detroit. He made his first million by the time he was 37. He made his first billion — it was actually almost two billion — in 1984, when he took Metromedia private in a $1.1 billion leveraged buyout and then liquidated the company, more than tripling his take. His philanthropy was prodigious. About a half-billion dollars went to Columbia alone, mainly for scholarships for needy and minority students. One gift, of $400 million, was to be given to the university by his estate when he died. Mr. Kluge also contributed to the restoration of Ellis Island and in 2000 gave $73 million to the Library of Congress, which established the Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanities.
Related story:
A One-Man Empire, From TV to Laundry.” Wall Street Journal. September 9, 2010.

Joan Cutler, 80, prolific fund-raiser, philanthropist.” By Bryan Marquard. Boston Globe. September 8, 2010. Joan Cutler had a phone list that fund-raisers coveted. Because her husband, Ted, was prominent in Boston’s business circles, she could scroll through numbers of the politically powerful and the region’s wealthiest families — those who form the foundation of charitable organizations statewide. The Cutlers themselves made numerous significant financial contributions to a host of causes, but Mrs. Cutler’s biggest donation was her persuasiveness. “For all that they gave, which was a lot, she multiplied that several times over,’’ said Irwin Chafetz, a philanthropist and business partner of Ted Cutler. “This woman was always calling. She was part of everything.’’ Mrs. Cutler, who worked behind the scenes for scores of organizations and lent her name to charitable concerns supporting medical research, the arts, and the impoverished, died Monday after suffering a heart attack while at her family’s home in Falmouth. She was 80 and had lived in Boston’s Back Bay. “Joan was a spectacular woman and a leader in Boston’s philanthropic community,’’ the mayor said. “From her tireless support of the arts to handing out turkeys for Thanksgiving meals, Joan’s dedication was incomparable and her work has helped make our city a brighter and more beautiful place to live.’’

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (August 9-15, 2010)

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010


Angels in America.” By Frank Rich. Op-ed. New York Times. August 14, 2010. To appreciate how much and how unexpectedly our country can change, look no further than the life and times of Judith Dunnington Peabody, who died on July 25 at 80 in her apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York. The proper names in her biographical sketch suggest a stereotype from a bygone New Yorker cartoon: Miss Hewitt’s Classes, the Ethel Walker School, Bryn Mawr, the Junior League. She “was introduced to society,” as they said of debutantes back then, at the Piping Rock Club, Locust Valley, N.Y., in 1947. As the fashionable wife of Samuel P. Peabody in the decades to follow, she shared the society pages with Pat Buckley, Babe Paley and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. But to quote Tracy Lord, the socialite played by Katharine Hepburn in the classic high-society movie comedy “The Philadelphia Story,” “The time to make up your mind about people is never.” In 1985, Judith Peabody, a frequent contributor to the traditional good causes favored by those of her class, did the unthinkable by volunteering to work as a hands-on caregiver to AIDS patients and their loved ones. Those patients were then mostly gay men, and, as Guy Trebay recently wrote in The Times, they were “treated not with compassion but as bearers of plague.” There was no drug regimen to combat AIDS, and there were many panicky rumors about how its death sentence could be spread through casual contact. People of all types and political persuasions shunned dying gay men even as they treated healthy gay men and lesbians as, at best, second-class citizens. The Times did not put the mysterious disease on Page 1 until after the casualty rate exceeded 500 and didn’t start covering it in earnest until Rock Hudson died of AIDS three years after that. In 1985, the term “gay” itself was an untouchable for writers in this newspaper. Thanks to Peabody’s prominence, her example had a discernible effect in beating back ignorance and fear in New York. But 25 years ago, few could have imagined a larger narrative that might lead to full civil rights for gay Americans.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (July 5-11, 2010)

Monday, July 12th, 2010


Jim Bohlen, Led in Creation of Greenpeace, Dies at 84.” By William Grimes. New York Times. July 7, 2010. Jim Bohlen, whose snap decision to sail to Amchitka Island, Alaska, to protest an underground nuclear test led to the creation of the environmental organization Greenpeace, died Monday in Comox, British Columbia. He was 84 and lived in Courtenay, British Columbia. Today Greenpeace is an international organization with more than three million members that carries out environmental campaigns through its offices in 40 countries. Bohlen was a director of Greenpeace until retiring in 1993. His memoir, “Making Waves: The Origins and Future of Greenpeace,” was published by Black Rose Books in 2000.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (June 14-20, 2010)

Monday, June 21st, 2010


Longtime Director of Los Angeles Philharmonic Dies.” By David Mermelstein. Wall Street Journal. June 16, 2010. Ernest Fleischmann was an imperious arts administrator who set the Los Angeles Philharmonic on its road to international renown, and helped remake Los Angeles into something beyond just a movie capital. Mr. Fleischmann, who died Sunday at age 85, was a trained conductor who found his avocation leading orchestras behind the scenes. In 1969, Mr. Fleischmann began work with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, then a little-regarded, far-flung ensemble. His job involved not only managing the orchestra but also its summer home, the Hollywood Bowl, which had fallen on hard times. He reversed the Bowl’s decline by turning it into a picnickers’ paradise, replete with mass-appeal fireworks displays. But it was Mr. Fleischmann’s role as a musical impresario that constitutes his greatest legacy.
Related Story:
E. Fleischmann, Impresario of Los Angeles, Dies at 85.” New York Times. June 15, 2010.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (June 6-13, 2010)

Monday, June 14th, 2010


Getty Trust CEO Wood Dies at 69.” By Kelly Crow. Wall Street Journal. June 12, 2010. The J. Paul Getty Trust, the world’s wealthiest arts organization, said its president and chief executive, James N. Wood, died Friday. Mr. Wood was 69 and died unexpectedly of natural causes, the trust said. The trust, which has an endowment of $4.5 billion and total assets of $7.8 billion, funds the Getty Museum in Los Angeles as well as the Getty Research Institute, the Conservation Institute and the Getty Foundation. Mr. Wood joined the Getty three years ago after serving as director of the Art Institute of Chicago for 24 years. During his tenure, the Getty acquired Paul Gauguin’s “Arii Matamoe (The Royal End)” and returned a group of looted antiquities to the Italian and Greek governments. Mr. Wood is also credited with persuading the Getty’s four divisions to collaborate more closely on projects. His death could have a destabilizing effect on the Getty, which is still trying to rebuild its endowment following the recession. The trust also needs to hire a new museum director following Michael Brand’s departure in January.
Related Stories:
Getty Trust CEO James Wood dies at age 69.San Francisco Chronicle. June 12, 2010.
Former Art Institute president leaves inspiring legacy.” Chicago Tribune. June 12, 2010
James N. Wood, President of the Getty Trust, Dies at 69.” New York Times. June 14, 2010.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (April 19-25, 2010)

Monday, April 26th, 2010


The Legacy Of Ex-IOC Chief Samaranch.” By Howard Berkes. All Things Considered/National Public Radio. April 21, 2010. The man credited with helping to save the Olympics from financial ruin has died at the age of 89. Juan Antonio Samaranch was president of the International Olympic Committee during an era of boycotts, near bankruptcy and scandal. NPR’s Howard Berkes looks back at one of the IOC’s most controversial leaders.

M. Edgar Rosenblum, Who Grew the Long Wharf Theater, Dies at 78.” By Bruce Weber. New York Times. April 23, 2010. M. Edgar Rosenblum, an arts executive who helped steer the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven to prominence in the American theater landscape, developing work that traveled to Broadway and elsewhere and that won Pulitzer Prizes and Tony Awards along the way, died on Sunday in Woodstock, N.Y. He was 78. Mr. Rosenblum, who as the Long Wharf”s executive director was involved in virtually every aspect of its operations, came to the theater in 1970, when it was just five years old. There he forged an extraordinary 26-year partnership with the theater’s artistic director, Arvin Brown, one of the longest-tenured leadership tandems in the last half-century of regional theater. “Edgar was one of the most important executive directors in the country,” Mr. Brown said in an e-mail message on Wednesday. “He combined remarkable business acumen with a deep and emotional devotion to the art of the theater.” Together they raised the Long Wharf’s profile with numerous plays that moved to Broadway. Among them were “The Changing Room” by David Storey, which earned John Lithgow a Tony in 1973 for best featured actor, and “The Gin Game,” by D. L. Coburn, which won the 1978 Pulitzer Prize for drama and a Tony for Jessica Tandy. The Long Wharf’s annual budget was $400,000 when Mr. Rosenblum arrived in 1970; in 1996 it was $5.5 million. At the theater’s peak of popularity, in the 1980s, the number of subscribers reached 18,000.


Monday, April 5th, 2010


Mortimer D. Sackler, Arts Patron, Dies at 93.” By Bruce Weber. New York Times. March 31, 2010. Mortimer D. Sackler, a psychiatrist who was a co-owner of the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma, makers of the controversial painkiller OxyContin, and whose lavish gifts to the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Columbia University made him one of New York City’s most prominent benefactors, died March 24 in Gstaad, Switzerland. He was 93 and had homes in London, Gstaad and Antibes, France. A native New Yorker, he began his medical education in Scotland because, he said, quotas kept him, as a Jew, from being admitted to medical school in New York. He lived in Europe since the 1970s, and his philanthropy — often along with that of his older brother, Arthur, and his younger brother, Raymond — encompassed both Britain and the Continent. He was a major donor to Oxford University, Edinburgh University, Glasgow University, the Tate Gallery in London, the Royal College of Art, the Louvre, the Jewish Museum in Berlin and Salzburg University, among other institutions. In New York, the Sackler brothers were probably best known for the Sackler wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which houses the Temple of Dendur and whose construction they helped finance. Through his foundation, Mortimer Sackler financed the Sackler Center for Arts Education at the Guggenheim, and was a major contributor to the American Museum of Natural History.

WEEKLY NEWS DIGEST (March 8-14, 2010)

Sunday, March 14th, 2010


Ray Tye, life-saving philanthropist, dead at 87.” By Bryan Marquard. Boston Globe. March 11, 2010. Ray Tye was one of Boston’s biggest philanthropists, but he didn’t much care for the title, and he was even less interested in drawing public attention to his private donations. The chairman emeritus of United Liquors, who died of cancer in his Cambridge home yesterday at 87, gave away millions, often covering the medical expenses of people described in news stories as unable to afford life-saving care. “He always did this quietly,’’ said his wife, Eileen. “He never wanted his name chiseled into a hospital facade or put on a plaque.’’ And he agreed to be the public face of the Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation, established in his honor by his wife and friends, only because it might prompt others to contribute to the good will he saw as his life’s work.