Tag Archives: obituary

Roger Ebert, 70, Chicago Sun-Times Movie Critic

iera Beach ministry that helps homeless now needs help itself
Story by Lynn Gordon/CBS 12 News
RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — A local outreach ministry that helps the hungry and the homeless, now needs help itself from the community

Marie Antoinette Jean Pierre started the Valley of Love ministries in Riviera Beach in 2004, they recently moved to a new location on Broadway last year, but getting by isn’t easy.

“This ministry right here we run with no money at all its only god that help us here.”

Willie Wright is celebrating is celebrating his 48th birthday inside the ministry in trying to find medical care.

“I get depressed I try not to but sometimes i cant help it.”

Jean Pierre says they run the ministry right with no money at all.

“It’s only god that help us here.”

Despite that, Jean Pierre is determined to get Willie who is HIV positive the help he needs. As she’s done numerous times before, she called paramedics Thursday to take Willie to the hospital but that only takes him off the streets temporarily.

The ministry also provides food and clothing  for homeless people, children and adults, but there’s only only so much they can do without more resources.

A pedestrian was killed on Interstate 95 in Riviera Beach on Thursday.
•    Cuban dancers seek political asylum in…
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•    1 killed in rollover crash in West Palm…
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√NY KENNEY. I’M TODD MCDERMOTT. A TERRIFYING SCENE FOR DRIVERS ON I-95: A WOMAN DIES AFTER SHE’S HIT BY A VAN… AND POLICE SAY IT WAS UNAVOIDABLE. CHRIS EMMA IS LIVE NEAR THE SCENE IN RIVIERA BEACH… CHRIS We are standing along the northbound lanes of i95 just south of the blue heron blvd exit. Just behind me was site of a gruesome scene for commuters early this afternoon. Take Vo:At around 1:25 this afternoon Florida highway patrol received a call that a woman had been hit by a car on i95. Police say that an African American woman in her late 20’s ran out into oncoming traffic. They say she ran from the right lane side…avoided the first 2 cars but then was hit and killed by a van driving in the middle lane. Witnesses say that hitting her could not have been avoided. The identity of the victim is still unknown but we do know that the woman had a west palm beach address on her license. Investigators also have not said why the woman was on the side of the highway or why she ran into traffic.Tag:I was able to speak with the driver of the van that hit the woman. He did not want to go on camera and he was pretty shaken up but he did describe for me what happened. He said he was in the middle lane going 60 miles an hour and he never saw her. He said she just popped out of nowhere. No word yet on anything charges.

Read more: http://www.wpbf.com/news/south-florida/Palm-Beach-County-News/pedestrian-struck-killed-on-interstate-95-in-riviera-beach/-/8815578/20559014/-/nhj4nhz/-/index.html#ixzz2WJ8Q4toV

Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Tim Frith said a West Palm Beach woman, later identified as Loody Faustin, 27, walked into oncoming traffic in the northbound lanes of I-95 near the Blue Heron Boulevard exit and was struck by a van.
Witnesses said there was no way the driver could avoid hitting her.
The driver told WPBF 25 News that he was traveling about 60 mph when she just came out of nowhere.
Investigators haven’t said why the woman was on the side of the highway or why she darted into traffic.
Faustin was pronounced dead at the scene. The body could be seen covered by a white sheet.








By Neil Steinberg nsteinberg@suntimes.com

Roger Ebert loved movies.

Except for those he hated.

For a film with a daring director, a talented cast, a captivating plot or, ideally, all three, there could be no better advocate than Roger Ebert, who passionately celebrated and promoted excellence in film while deflating the awful, the derivative or the merely mediocre with an observant eye, a sharp wit and a depth of knowledge that delighted his millions of readers and viewers.

“No good film is too long,” he once wrote, a sentiment he felt strongly enough about to have engraved on pens. “No bad movie is short enough.”

Ebert, 70, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV for 31 years, and who was without question the nation’s most prominent and influential film critic, died Thursday in Chicago.

“We were getting ready to go home today for hospice care, when he looked at us, smiled, and passed away,” said his wife, Chaz Ebert. “No struggle, no pain, just a quiet, dignified transition.”

He had been in poor health over the past decade, battling cancers of the thyroid and salivary gland.

He lost part of his lower jaw in 2006, and with it the ability to speak or eat, a calamity that would have driven other men from the public eye. But Ebert refused to hide, instead forging what became a new chapter in his career, an extraordinary chronicle of his devastating illness that won him a new generation of admirers. “No point in denying it,” he wrote, analyzing his medical struggles with characteristic courage, candor and wit, a view that was never tinged with bitterness or self-pity.

On Tuesday, Ebert blogged that he had suffered a recurrence of cancer following a hip fracture suffered in December and would be taking “a leave of presence.” In the blog essay, marking his 46th anniversary of becoming the Sun-Times film critic, Ebert wrote “I am not going away. My intent is to continue to write selected reviews but to leave the rest to a talented team of writers hand-picked and greatly admired by me.”

Always technically savvy — he was an early investor in Google — Ebert let the Internet be his voice. His site,rogerebert.com, had millions of fans, and he received a special achievement award as the 2010 “Person of the Year” from the Webby Awards, which noted that “his online journal has raised the bar for the level of poignancy, thoughtfulness and critique one can achieve on the Web.” His Twitter feed had more than 841,000 followers.

Ebert was both widely popular and professionally respected. He not only won a Pulitzer Prize — the first film critic to do so — but his name was added to the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005, among the movie stars he wrote about so well for so long. His reviews were syndicated in hundreds of newspapers worldwide.

The same year Ebert won the Pulitzer — 1975 — he also launched a new kind of television program: “Opening Soon at a Theater Near You” with Chicago Tribune movie critic Gene Siskel on WTTW-Channel 11. At first it ran monthly.

The combination worked. The trim, balding Siskel perfectly balanced the bespectacled, portly Ebert. In 1978, the show, retitled “Sneak Previews,” moved to PBS for national distribution, and the duo was on its way to becoming a fixture in American culture.

“Tall and thin, short and fat. Laurel and Hardy,” Ebert once wrote. “We were parodied on ‘SNL’ and by Bob Hope and Danny Thomas and, the ultimate honor, in the pages of Mad magazine.”

His colleagues admired him as a workhorse. Ebert reviewed as many as 306 movies a year, after he grew ill scheduling his cancer surgeries around the release of important pictures. He eagerly contributed to other sections of the paper — interviews with and obituaries of movie stars, even political columns on issues he cared strongly about on the editorial pages.

In 1997, dissatisfied with spending his critical powers “locked in the present,” he began a running a feature revisiting classic movies and eventually published three books on “The Great Movies” (and two books on movies he hated). A second column, his “Movie Answer Man,” allowed readers to learn about intriguing details of cinema that only a Roger Ebert knew or could ferret out.

That, too, became a book. Ebert wrote more books than any TV personality since Steve Allen — 17 in all. Not only collections of reviews, both good and bad, and critiques of great movies, but humorous glossaries and even a novel, “Behind the Phantom’s Mask,” that was serialized in the Sun-Times. He even wrote a book about rice cookers, “The Pot and How to Use It,” despite the fact that he could no longer eat. In 2011, his autobiography, “Life Itself,” won rave reviews. “This is the best thing Mr. Ebert has ever written,” Janet Maslin wrote in the New York Times. It is, fittingly enough, being made into a documentary, produced by his longtime friend, Martin Scor­sese.

Roger Joseph Ebert was born in Urbana on June 18, 1942, the son of Walter and Annabel Ebert. His father was an electrician at the University of Illinois, his mother, a bookkeeper. It was a liberal household — Ebert remembers his parents praying for the success of Harry Truman in the election of 1948. As a child, he published a mimeographed neighborhood newspaper and a stamp collectors’ newspaper in elementary school.

In high school, he was, as he later wrote, “demented in [his] zeal for school activities,” joining the swim team, acting in plays, founding the Science Fiction Club, co-hosting Urbana High School’s Saturday morning radio program, co-editing the newspaper, being elected senior class president.

He began his professional writing career at 15, as a sportswriter covering the high school beat for the News-Gazette in Champaign-Urbana.

Ebert went on to the University of Illinois, where he published a weekly journal of politics and opinion as a freshman and served as editor of the Daily Illini his senior year. He graduated in 1964 and studied in South Africa on a Rotary Scholarship.

While still in Urbana, he began free-lancing for the Sun-Times and the Chicago Daily News.

He was accepted at the University of Chicago, where he planned to earn his doctorate in English (an avid reader, Ebert later used literary authors to help explain films — for example, quoting e.e. cummings several times in his review of Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking “2001: A Space Odyssey.”)

But Ebert also had written to Herman Kogan, for whom he free-lanced at the Daily News, asking for a job, and ended up at the Sun-Times in September 1966, working part time. The following April, he was asked to become the newspaper’s film critic when the previous critic, Eleanor Keen, retired.

“I didn’t know the job was open until the day I was given it,” Ebert later said. “I had no idea. Bob Zonka, the features editor, called me into the conference room and said, ‘We’re gonna make you the movie critic.’ It fell out of the sky.”

Ebert’s goal up to that point had been to be “a columnist like Royko,” but he accepted this new stroke of luck, which came at exactly the right time. Movie criticism had been a backwater of journalism, barely more than recounting the plots and stars of movies — the Tribune ran its reviews under a jokey generic byline, “Mae Tinee.” But American cinema was about to enter a period of unprecedented creativity, and criticism would follow along. Restrictive film standards were finally easing up, in part thanks to his efforts. When Ebert began reviewing movies, Chicago still had an official film board that often banned daring movies here — Lynn Redgrave’s “Georgy Girl” was kept off Chicago screens in 1966 — and Ebert immediately began lobbying for elimination of the censorship board.

He had a good eye. His Sept. 25, 1967, review of Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway in “Bonnie and Clyde” called the movie “a milestone” and “a landmark.”

“Years from now it is quite possible that ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ will be seen as the definitive film of the 1960s,” he wrote, “showing with sadness, humor and unforgiving detail what one society had come to.”

It was. Though of course Ebert was not infallible — while giving Mike Nichols’ “The Graduate” four stars in the same year, he added that the movie’s “only flaw, I believe, is the introduction of limp, wordy Simon and Garfunkel songs.’’

Ebert plunged into what turned out to be a mini-golden age of Chicago journalism. He found himself befriended by Mike Royko — with whom he wrote an unproduced screenplay. He drank with Royko, and with Nelson Algren and Studs Terkel. He wrote a trashy Hollywood movie, “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls,’’ for Russ Meyer, having met the king of the buxom B-movie after writing an appreciation of his work.

In later years, Ebert was alternately sheepish and proud of the movie. It was the first “sexploitation” film by a major studio, 20th Century Fox, though Time magazine’s Richard Corliss did call it one of the 10 best films of the 1970s.

It was not Ebert’s only foray into film writing — he was also hired to write a movie for the Sex Pistols, the seminal British punk band in the late 1970s.

Eventually, Sun-Times editor James Hoge demanded that Ebert — who took a leave of absence when he went to Hollywood to write “Beyond the Valley of the Dolls” — decide between making films and reviewing them. He chose newspapering, which increasingly became known because of his TV fame, which grew around his complex partnership with Gene Siskel on “Sneak Previews.”

“At first the relationship on TV was edgy and uncomfortable,” Ebert wrote in 1999, after Siskel’s untimely death, at 53. “Our newspaper rivalry was always in the air between us. Gene liked to tell about the time he was taking a nap under a conference table at the television station, overheard a telephone conversation I was having with an editor, and scooped me on the story.”

In 1981, the program was renamed “At the Movies” and moved to Tribune Broadcasting. In 1986, it became “Siskel & Ebert & The Movies” and moved to Buena Vista Television, and the duo began the signature “thumbs up, thumbs down” rating system that Ebert invented.

“When we left to go with Disney . . . we had to change some things because we were afraid of [violating] intellectual property rights,’’ he said. “And I came up with the idea of giving thumbs up and thumbs down. And the reason that Siskel and I were able to trademark that is that the phrase ‘two thumbs up’ in connection with movies had never been used. And in fact, the phrase ‘two thumbs up’ was not in the vernacular. And now, of course, it’s part of the language.”

“Two thumbs up” became their registered trademark and a highly coveted endorsement that inevitably ran at the top of movie advertisements.

After Siskel died in 1999, Ebert auditioned a number of temporary co-hosts and settled on Sun-Times colleague Richard Roeper in 2000. At its height, “Ebert & Roeper,” was seen on 200 stations.

“Everyone keeps asking me for my favorite Roger Ebert story, or the one thing about him most people might not have known. Here’s the thing: Roger Ebert has already told all the best Roger Ebert stories in far better fashion than I ever could,” said Roeper, who continued the show after health troubles forced Ebert from the airwaves in 2006, until both men quit in 2008 after a contract dispute.

“And whether you ‘knew’ him only through his reviews or his Twitter feed or his blog, or you were lucky enough to have been his friend for many years, with Roger, what you saw and heard was the 100 percent, unvarnished, real deal,” Roeper said. “There was no ‘off camera’ Roger. He was just as passionate, smart, stubborn, genuine and funny behind the scenes as he was in the public eye. He was a great writer and an even better friend.

“They can remake movies, but no one will ever be able to recreate or match the one and only Roger Ebert.”

All that need be mentioned of Ebert’s social life was that in the early 1980s he briefly went out with the hostess of a modest local TV show called “AM Chicago.” Taking her to the Hamburger Hamlet for dinner, Ebert suggested that she syndicate her show, using his success with Siskel as an example of the kind of riches that awaited. While she didn’t return his romantic interest, Oprah Winfrey did follow his business advice.

In his memoir, Ebert writes of a controlling, alcoholic, faith-obsessed mother whom he was frightened of displeasing. “I would never marry before my mother died,” he wrote. She died in 1987, and in 1992 he got married, for the first time, at age 50, to attorney Chaz Hammel-Smith (later Chaz Hammelsmith), who was the great romance of his life and his rock in sickness, instrumental in helping Ebert continue his workload as his health declined.

“She fills my horizon, she is the great fact of my life, she is the love of my life, she saved me from the fate of living out my life alone,” he wrote.

In addition to his TV and newspaper work, Ebert was a fixture at film festivals around the world — Toronto, Cannes, Telluride — and even created a festival of his own, The Overlooked Film Festival, or just “Ebertfest,” which he began in Champaign in 1999 and dedicated to highlighting neglected classics.

Between 1970 and 2010, Ebert made yearly visits to the University of Colorado’s springtime Conference on World Affairs, where he has presented frame-by-frame critiques of classic movies to enraptured audiences.

He had also used the conference to speak on a variety of subjects, from his romantic life to his recovery from alcoholism — he stopped drinking in 1979 — to the problem of spam email. In 1996, Ebert coined the “Boulder Pledge,” considered a cornerstone in the battle against spam.

“Under no circumstances will I ever purchase anything offered to me as the result of an unsolicited e-mail message,” Ebert wrote. “Nor will I forward chain letters, petitions, mass mailings, or virus warnings to large numbers of others. This is my contribution to the survival of the online community.”

Not only was Ebert eager to correspond with and encourage skilled movie bloggers, but he also put his money where his mouth was, investing early in the Google search engine and making several million dollars doing so.

Ebert received honorary degrees from the American Film Institute, the University of Colorado and the School of the Art Institute. He is a member of the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame and was honored with a sidewalk medallion under the Chicago Theatre marquee.

He first had surgery to remove a malignant tumor on his thyroid in 2002, and three subsequent surgeries on his salivary gland, all the while refusing to cut back on his TV show or his lifelong pride and joy, his job at the Sun-Times.

“My newspaper job,” he said in 2005, “is my identity.”

But as always with Roger Ebert, that was being too modest. He was a renaissance man whose genius was based on film but by no means limited to it, a great soul who had extraordinary impact on his profession and the world around him.

“Kindness covers all of my political beliefs,” he wrote, at the end of his memoir, “Life Itself.” “No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.”

Survivors, in addition to his wife, include stepchildren Sonia and Jay, and grandchildren Raven, Emil, Mark and Joseph.


Malachi Bennett, 2, Born to be a Drummer

By Stephanie Neeley

Malachi Demetri Bennett was a natural entertainer.

Whether he was at home, in school or even at church, he had a penchant to bring joy to people.

“My baby enjoyed music,” Montre Bennett said of his 2-year-old son. “He loved to sing, play the drums, the piano, and the guitar.”

Malachi was struck and killed by a motor vehicle Feb. 18 in front of his grandmother’s house.

Malachi attended Mt. Olive Christian Academy, where he excelled and was loved by everyone, Bennett said.

“He was very active in school and he loved to make people happy,” he said.

Malachi had a liking for drums and wanted to one day be in a drum line, his father said.

“He had a drum set, which he played at home,” Bennett said. “He also played them at his church.”

A service was held March 2 at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Delray Beach.

Along with his father, survivors include his mother Amber L. Russell; grandparents Christine and Alfonza Bennett; Margarie Thompson and Al Russell; great grandparents Alberta Morris of Delray Beach, Louise Bennett of Georgetown, S.C., and Ruby and Joe Potts of Delray Beach; several aunts, uncles and a host of other relatives.

Charles “Chuck” Magazine, 63, Boynton Beach’s Risk Manager

By Stephanie Neeley

Charles “Chuck” J. Magazine was considered among the “best and brightest” in the risk manager circle – at least in Florida.

He spent more than 30 years in the fields of risk management and insurance claims, having worked in the public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Mr. Magazine, who for the last 16 years guarded Boynton Beach against claims as its risk manager, died at his home in the city Feb. 17 after suffering a heart attack. He was 63.

“Chuck was extraordinarily passionate in all of his endeavors but particularly those that were related to risk management,” said Carisse LeJeune, assistant city manager, who supervised Mr. Magagine. “He had a very warm, good humor, he had an outgoing personality and because of the unique position that he had with the city, you either love Chuck or you didn’t because as risk manager, he fought very hard to protect the interests of the city.”

A native of Boston, Mr. Magazine lived in Virginia and Maryland before moving to West Palm Beach in 1994 to take a job as risk manager at Wellington Regional Medical Center.

He was currently serving as president of the Palm Beach County Chapter of the Risk and Insurance Management Society.

He also was an active member of the Public Risk Management Association (PRIMA), and served on the board of directors of the Safety Council of Palm Beach County.

Mr. Magazine was an advocate of maintaining excellent health.

“Health is a wonderful thing,” he wrote in his “Safety Newsletter” in the summer of 2009. “Everyone needs to do a better job in managing their health and the health of their family members. Don’t wait until it’s too late.”

He also had high hopes of one day becoming an educator.

“I’d like to get into teaching,” he said in an interview on the city’s blog. “I have been offered to guest lecture at the University of Tennessee and would like to do that along with other mentoring programs.”

Among his survivors are mother, Irene Magazine; daughters, Shaina and Erica Magazine

Services were on Feb. 21 at Beth Israel Memorial Chapel,, Boynton Beach, with internment at South Florida VA National Cemetery.

Ed Koch, mayor who became a symbol of NYC, dies

By Celeste Katz, Joanne Wasserman, Mattew Lysiak, Corky Siemaszko

New York Daily News

Ed Koch, the irascible three-term mayor whose exuberant “How’m I doin’?” tagline and unabashed style made him synonymous with New York chutzpah, died early Friday at age 88.

To the end, Koch was the nasally Noo Yawk-voiced ambassador of a city that remained his true love long after he left City Hall.

“I am grateful, most of all, to the people of the City of New York for allowing me to be their mayor,” Koch told the Daily News in an interview two months before he died.

His death triggered an outpouring of tributes from allies and enemies who credited him with rescuing a desperate, crime-ridden city from bankruptcy and setting it on the path of a remarkable renaissance that continues to this day.

Flags across the city were lowered to half-staff in his honor and his praises were sung from the White House to Jerusalem.

President Obama called him “an extraordinary Mayor, irrepressible character, and quintessential New Yorker.”

Mayor Bloomberg lauded Koch as “a great mayor, a great man and a great friend” who was the city’s “most charismatic cheerleader and champion.”


“When we were down, Ed Koch picked us up,” Bloomberg said. “When we were worried, he gave us confidence. When someone needed a good kick in the rear, he gave it to them — and, if you remember, he enjoyed it.”

Koch had endured heart problems but was in relatively good health until a series of illnesses and hospitalizations — most recently on Monday.

Koch was moved to the intensive care unit at New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia on Thursday. He died at 2 a.m. Friday of congestive heart failure.

“The mayor died with dignity,” a nurse at the hospital said. “He didn’t suffer.”

Koch’s sister, Pat Koch Thaler, had been with him at the hospital earlier for several hours Thursday, Koch spokesman George Arzt said.

“She sat for hours and hours by his side holding his hand gently,” the nurse said.

Koch’s funeral will be 11 a.m. Monday at Temple Emanu-El on the upper East Side, following a program Koch laid out, including an organist playing Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” Burial will follow at Trinity Cemetery, at 155th St. and Broadway.


In a city of outsized egos and giant personalities, Koch loomed large, forging a remarkable public career that played out in two unforgettable acts. And like the Sinatra song, Koch often did it, “My Way.”

Across 12 colorful and tumultuous years as mayor, from 1978 to 1989, Koch helped to put a near-broke city back on its feet, leaving a legacy that includes more than 150,000 units of affordable housing, landmark campaign finance and judicial reform — and even a bridge, formerly the Queensboro, that’s now named after him.

And when voters grew weary of the corruption scandals and racial strife of his final term and sent him packing, Koch forged a new life as a lawyer, author, talk-show host, celebrity pitchman and movie reviewer.

“You knew where Ed stood on any topic, and whether or not you agreed with him or what he said, you couldn’t help but like him,” former President Bill Clinton and his wife, outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said. “His personality was enormous, big enough for the city he called home for nearly his entire life.”

Edward Irving Koch was born Dec. 12, 1924, in the Crotona Park section of the Bronx, the son of a Polish-Jewish furrier. The middle of three kids, he grew up idolizing his big brother Harold, who died in 1995.

In a kids book Koch wrote with his sister called “Eddie: Harold’s Little Brother,” he recounted how his brother set him on the path to City Hall by telling him to do something he’s good at.

“I like to talk,” Eddie says in the book.

“You sure do!” Harold agrees.

And the die was cast.

Koch’s family moved to Newark, N.J., where he went to high school, but by 1941, he was back in the city, attending City College and supporting himself by selling shoes and working a deli counter. Drafted into the Army, Koch fought in Europe in World War II — earning two battle stars as an infantryman — before returning home and enrolling in New York University Law School.

He settled in Greenwich Village and waded into politics as a street stumper for Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic presidential candidate who twice lost to Republican Dwight Eisenhower.

Koch joined the Village Independent Democrats and was elected district leader in 1963, defeating Carmine De Sapio, the last of the old bosses who ruled the Democratic political machine known as Tammany Hall. He served in the City Council was elected five times to Congress before setting his sights on Gracie Mansion in 1977.

Koch was the dark horse in a crowded field seeking to oust hapless Abe Beame from City Hall. But on primary day, Koch led the pack followed closely by then Secretary of State Mario Cuomo — setting the stage for a brief but brutal runoff battle that Koch won.

Cuomo refused to quit and carried on as the Liberal Party candidate. And on the streets, some of his supporters took the campaign to a new low by posting signs reading, “Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo.”


Koch won — but just barely. In a city scarred by constant fires and a sticky-hot July blackout that sparked riots, his “law and order” message carried the day.

But Koch never really forgave Cuomo, or his rival’s then 19-year-old son, future governor Andrew Cuomo, who managed his dad’s campaign.

Koch got some posthumous payback Friday, calling Mario Cuomo a “p—k” in a New York Times video that was released — on his instructions — after his death.

Koch made a point of taking a bus to his inauguration. It was the start of a 12-year ride at City Hall that was as bumpy as a trip on the IRT before he helped overhaul subway service.

As mayor, Koch was a quote machine who courted controversy, a self-proclaimed “liberal with sanity” who angered civil libertarians and civil rights activists, and attacked opponents as “wackos.”

“I’m not the type to get ulcers,” he once bragged. “I give them.”

But when Koch took over, there wasn’t much laughter in City Hall. New York was on the verge of financial ruin.


“His first order of business was restoring the city’s credit, and he did that by establishing budgetary transparency,” said Jonathan Soffer, author of “Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of NYC.”

Koch slashed budgets, attracted new jobs, and refused to take no for an answer in dealing with the federal government. Within three years, he balanced the books.

“People need to remember that he was more than the guy with the quick comment,” said former mayor David Dinkins, who ousted Koch in 1989. “He is also the man that repaid the loan in the 1980s when the federal government had first said they weren’t going to help us. And he not only repaid it, but paid it early.”

Soffer said Koch also did another very smart thing to bring New York city back from the brink. “Koch organized state, local and private money to rebuild the areas of New York that had been burned down, flattened or discarded as a result of austerity programs from the 1970s,” Soffer said.

The result was a sweeping, $5.4 billion housing program that provided jobs and homes in some of the most desperate corners of the city.

Koch was the first New York mayor to march in a gay pride parade and to champion gay rights. But he was pilloried by playwright Larry Kramer as an “evil man” for his slow response to the AIDS crisis.

If that stung, Koch didn’t show it. And while he may have been as gabby as a Gotham cab driver, his own sexuality was off-limits for discussion. Nor would he discuss his relationship with Bess Myerson, the first Jewish Miss America, who sometimes appeared on his arm at campaign events.
“I have a social life,” Koch, lifelong bachelor, once said. “But I don’t discuss it.”

Throughout, his unabashed adoration of New York energized a beaten-down city. His thumbs-up trademark and signature phrase “How’m I doin’?” made him famous around the world.

“I love being the mayor,” he said. “I want to be the mayor forever.”

He famously cheered commuters walking over the Brooklyn Bridge because of a 1980 transit strike. “I began to yell, ‘Walk over the bridge, walk over the bridge, we’re not going to let these bastards bring us to our knees.’ And people began to applaud. I knew I was onto something,” he said.

Reelection in 1981 was a cinch, but Koch learned there were geographical limits to his popularity. Running for governor in 1982 against Cuomo, he made a colossal flub. “Have you ever lived in the suburbs?” Koch remarked about Albany. “It’s sterile. It’s nothing. It’s wasting your life.”

Voters beyond the five boroughs were unamused, and he lost. But he breezed to a third term in 1985 before trouble set in — racial tensions and a corruption scandal.

The rot was in the city’s Parking Violations Bureau, and the federal investigation brought down some of Koch’s closest allies. “I am shocked,” Koch declared three times in a packed City Hall press conference after the scandal broke.


The federal probe was led by an ambitious prosecutor named Rudy Giuliani, who later became mayor and had a fierce on-again off-again relationship with Koch

Koch backed the Republican for mayor but also penned a book about him in 1999 entitled “Nasty Man.”

“We disagreed at times, but no one ever doubted his deep love for our city,” Giuliani said Friday.

Although Koch marched for civil rights in the South, he had an uneasy relationship with the city’s black leaders. He offended many by slamming Jesse Jackson in the 1988 Presidential primary.

The one-two punch of an infamous 1986 racial beating in Howard Beach, Queens, and the 1989 shooting death of a black teen in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, proved fatal to his mayoralty.

He lost the 1989 Democratic primary to Dinkins, who became the city’s first black mayor.

When Koch walked out of City Hall on Dec. 30, 1989, it was to a bagpipe’s strains of “Give My Regards to Broadway.”

“I leave with joy,” he said — though when a constituent later urged him to run again, he said, “The people have spoken … and they must be punished.”

Unlike most losing politicians, Koch did not fade away. “In many ways, Ed Koch never stopped being mayor,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.Koch weighed in with five books on politics, was a regular on news radio and TV programs and cranked out a column that ran in The News. He endorsed candidates without regard to party. He appeared in TV commercials hawking products like Snapple and made cameo appearances in movies and shows like “Sex and the City.” Koch even spent two years as the judge on “The People’s Court.”

Koch, who had a mild stroke while in office in 1987, suffered a heart attack in 1999 and had a bout with pneumonia in 2001.

Nothing slowed him down for long. But as he marked his 85th birthday, Koch acknowledged his mortality.

“I’m coming to the end of my life,” he told the News. “I do reflect on what I’ve done for the 85 years that I have been given so far. And I’m proud of what I’ve done.”

Koch’s downward slide began in September when he was hospitalized for anemia. In December, he returned with a respiratory infection. Two more hospitalizations followed in January.

Koch went out “the way he would have wanted to go: no pain, still kicking and fighting,” Bloomberg said.

He was brash — and loyal to his beloved New York — to the end, purchasing a plot at the Trinity cemetery, after learning that the church permitted Jews to be buried there.

“I don’t want to leave Manhattan, even when I’m gone,” he explained. “This is my home. The thought of having to go to New Jersey was so distressing to me.”

Mary Jo Mahannah, 74, Seacrest High School Graduate

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Annetta Mae Matuck, 90, Musician with the Symphonic Orchestra of the Palm Beaches

By Fred Hamilton

Staff Writer

Some people move to Florida to retire and live the rest of their lives.

Not Annetta Mae Matuck who spent her golden years as a violinist and pianist for the Symphonic Orchestra of the Palm Beaches. She lived in the High Point community.

With her family by her bedside, Mrs. Matuck died at her home in Newmarket, N.H. where she lived with her daughter and family. She was 90.

Born June 16, 1922 in Alberta B.C. to George Livingston Ralston and Mina Blanche Hartley, Mrs. Matuck came to the United States as a child and grew in up Winchester, Mass., at her grandparents’ home.

She married Robert James Gough of Medford, Mass., on June 5, 1943 and they made their home in Wells, Maine.

Mrs. Matuck earned her Master’s in remedial reading in 1945.  She started one of the first special education programs in the state of Maine.

She is survived by five children: Bonnie Lee Carson (Tom), Robert James Gough II (Patti), James Henry Gough III (Dee), Martin George Gough II and Elizabeth Anne Curley (Fred); six grandchildren, Christopher Carson, Kimberly Riddle, Jimmy Gough, Gregory Gough, Alex Gough and Victoria Curley; and six great grandchildren, Paul Carson, Isabelle Carson, Teylah Carson, Mina Carson, and Aaron Gough

Two previous husbands, Robert James Gough and George Matuck preceded her in death as well as brothers George Livingston Ralston, Hartley Layton Ralston (Bruz) and Arthur Harvey Ralston.

In honoring her wishes there will be no funeral.  Family and friends however may make a memorial contribution in her name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at Stjude.org or by calling 1-800-805-3856.

George McGovern, 90, Lost Three Presidential Bids

By Kristi Eaton and Walter R. Mears

Associated Press

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Oct. 21) – George McGovern once joked that he had wanted to run for president in the worst way — and that he had done so.

It was a campaign in 1972 dishonored by Watergate, a scandal that fully unfurled too late to knock Republican President Richard M. Nixon from his place as a commanding favorite for re-election. The South Dakota senator tried to make an issue out of the bungled attempt to wiretap the offices of the Democratic National Committee, calling Nixon the most corrupt president in history.

A proud liberal who had argued fervently against Vietnam War as a Democratic senator from South Dakota and three-time candidate for president, McGovern died at 5:15 a.m. local time Sunday at a Sioux Falls hospice, surrounded by family and lifelong friends, family spokesman Steve Hildebrand told The Associated Press. McGovern was 90.

The family had said late last week that McGovern had become unresponsive while in hospice care.

“We are blessed to know that our father lived a long, successful and productive life advocating for the hungry, being a progressive voice for millions and fighting for peace. He continued giving speeches, writing and advising all the way up to and past his 90th birthday, which he celebrated this summer,” the family said in the statement.

Hildebrand said funeral services were to be held in Sioux Falls and details would be announced shortly.

McGovern could not escape the embarrassing missteps of his own campaign of 1972. The most torturous was the selection of Missouri Sen. Thomas F. Eagleton as the vice presidential nominee and, 18 days later, following the disclosure that Eagleton had undergone electroshock therapy for depression, the decision to drop him from the ticket despite having pledged to back him “1,000 percent.”

It was at once the most memorable and the most damaging line of his campaign, and called “possibly the most single damaging faux pas ever made by a presidential candidate” by the late political writer Theodore H. White.

After a hard day’s campaigning — Nixon did virtually none — McGovern would complain to those around him that nobody was paying attention. With R. Sargent Shriver as his running mate, he went on to carry only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia, winning just 38 percent of the popular vote in one of the biggest landslides losses in American presidential history.

“Tom and I ran into a little snag back in 1972 that in the light of my much advanced wisdom today, I think was vastly exaggerated,” McGovern said at an event with Eagleton in 2005. Noting that Nixon and his running mate, Spiro Agnew, would both ultimately resign, he joked, “If we had run in ’74 instead of ’72, it would have been a piece of cake.”

A decorated World War II bomber pilot, McGovern said he learned to hate war by waging it. In his disastrous race against Nixon, he promised to end the Vietnam War and cut defense spending by billions of dollars. He helped create the Food for Peace program and spent much of his career believing the United States should be more accommodating to the former Soviet Union.

Never a showman, he made his case with a style as plain as the prairies where he grew up, sounding often more like the Methodist minister he’d once studied to become than longtime U.S. senator and three-time candidate for president he became.

And he never shied from the word “liberal,” even as other Democrats blanched at the word and Republicans used it as an epithet.

“I am a liberal and always have been,” McGovern said in 2001. “Just not the wild-eyed character the Republicans made me out to be.”

McGovern’s campaign, nevertheless, left a lasting imprint on American politics. Determined not to make the same mistake, presidential nominees have since interviewed and intensely investigated their choices for vice president. Former President Bill Clinton got his start in politics when he signed on as a campaign worker for McGovern and is among the legion of Democrats who credit him with inspiring them to public service.

“I believe no other presidential candidate ever has had such an enduring impact in defeat,” Clinton said in 2006 at the dedication of McGovern’s library in Mitchell, S.D. “Senator, the fires you lit then still burn in countless hearts.”

George Stanley McGovern was born on July 19, 1922, in the small farm town of Avon, S.D, the son of a Methodist pastor. He was raised in Mitchell, shy and quiet until he was recruited for the high school debate team and found his niche. He enrolled at Dakota Wesleyan University in his hometown and, already a private pilot, volunteered for the Army Air Force soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Army didn’t have enough airfields or training planes to take him until 1943. He married his wife, Eleanor Stegeberg, and arrived in Italy the next year. That would be his base for the 35 missions he flew in the B-24 Liberator christened the “Dakota Queen” after his new bride.

In a December 1944 bombing raid on the Czech city of Pilsen, McGovern’s plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire that disabled one engine and set fire to another. He nursed the B-24 back to a British airfield on an island in the Adriatic Sea, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. On his final mission, his plane was hit several times, but he managed to get it back safety — one of the actions for which he received the Air Medal.

McGovern returned to Mitchell and graduated from Dakota Wesleyan after the war’s end, and after a year of divinity school, switched to the study of history and political science at Northwestern University. He earned his master’s and doctoral degrees, returned to Dakota Wesleyan to teach history and government, and switched from his family’s Republican roots to the Democratic Party.

“I think it was my study of history that convinced me that the Democratic Party was more on the side of the average American,” he said.

In the early 1950s, Democrats held no major offices in South Dakota and only a handful of legislative seats. McGovern, who had gotten into Democratic politics as a campaign volunteer, left teaching in 1953 to become executive secretary of the South Dakota Democratic Party. Three years later, he won an upset election to the House; he served two terms and left to run for Senate.

Challenging conservative Republican Sen. Karl Mundt in 1960, he lost what he called his “worst campaign.” He said later that he’d hated Mundt so much that he’d lost his sense of balance.

President John F. Kennedy named McGovern head of the Food for Peace program, which sends U.S. commodities to deprived areas around the world. He made a second Senate bid in 1962, unseating Sen. Joe Bottum by just 597 votes. He was the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from South Dakota since 1930.

In his first year in office, McGovern took to the Senate floor to say that the Vietnam war was a trap that would haunt the United States — a speech that drew little notice. He voted the following August in favor of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution under which President Lyndon B. Johnson escalated the U.S. war in the southeast Asian nation.

While McGovern continued to vote to pay for the war, he did so while speaking against it. As the war escalated, so did his opposition. Late in 1969, McGovern called for a cease-fire in Vietnam and the withdrawal of all U.S. troops within a year. He later co-sponsored a Senate amendment to cut off appropriations for the war by the end of 1971. It failed, but not before McGovern had taken the floor to declare “this chamber reeks of blood” and to demand an end to “this damnable war.”

McGovern first sought the Democratic presidential nomination late in the 1968 campaign, saying he would take up the cause of the assassinated Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. He finished far behind Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, who won the nomination, and Minnesota Sen. Eugene McCarthy, who had led the anti-war challenge to Johnson in the primaries earlier in the year. McGovern later called his bid an “anti-organization” effort against the Humphrey steamroller.

“At least I have precluded the possibility of peaking too early,” McGovern quipped at the time.

The following year, McGovern led a Democratic Party reform commission that shifted to voters’ power that had been wielded by party leaders and bosses at the national conventions. The result was the system of presidential primary elections and caucuses that now selects the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees.

In 1972, McGovern ran under the rules he had helped write. Initially considered a longshot against Sen. Edmund S. Muskie of Maine, McGovern built a bottom-up campaign organization and went to the Democratic national convention in command. He was the first candidate to gain a nominating majority in the primaries before the convention.

It was a meeting filled with intramural wrangling and speeches that verged on filibusters. By the time McGovern delivered his climactic speech accepting the nomination, it was 2:48 a.m., and with most of America asleep, he lost his last and best chance to make his case to a nationwide audience.

McGovern did not know before selecting Eagleton of his running mate’s mental health woes, and after dropping him from the ticket, struggled to find a replacement. Several Democrats said no, and a joke made the rounds that there was a signup sheet in the Senate cloakroom. Shriver, a member of the Kennedy family, finally agreed.

The campaign limped into the fall on a platform advocating withdrawal from Vietnam in exchange for the release of POWs, cutting defense spending by a third and establishing an income floor for all Americans. McGovern had dropped an early proposal to give every American $1,000 a year, but the Republicans continued to ridicule it as “the demogrant.” They painted McGovern as an extreme leftist and Democrats as the party of “amnesty, abortion and acid.”

While McGovern said little about his decorated service in World War II, Republicans depicted him as a weak peace activist. At one point, McGovern was forced to defend himself against assertions he had shirked combat.

He’d had enough when a young man at the airport fence in Battle Creek, Mich., taunted that Nixon would clobber him. McGovern leaned in and said quietly: “I’ve got a secret for you. Kiss my ass.” A conservative Senate colleague later told McGovern it was his best line of the campaign.

Defeated by Nixon, McGovern returned to the Senate and pressed there to end the Vietnam war while championing agriculture, anti-hunger and food stamp programs in the United States and food programs abroad. He won re-election to the Senate in 1974, by which point he could make wry jokes about his presidential defeat.

“For many years, I wanted to run for the presidency in the worst possible way — and last year, I sure did,” he told a formal press dinner in Washington.

After losing his bid for a fourth Senate term in the 1980 Republican landslide that made Ronald Reagan president, McGovern went on to teach and lecture at universities, and found a liberal political action committee. He made a longshot bid in the 1984 presidential race with a call to end U.S. military involvement in Lebanon and Central America and open arms talks with the Soviets. Former Vice President Walter Mondale won the Democratic nomination and went on to lose to President Ronald Reagan by an even bigger margin in electoral votes than had McGovern to Nixon.

He talked of running a final time for president in 1992, but decided it was time for somebody younger and with fewer political scars.

After his career in office ended, McGovern served as U.S. ambassador to the Rome-based United Nation’s food agencies from 1998 to 2001 and spent his later years working to feed needy children around the world. He and former Republican Sen. Bob Dole collaborated to create an international food for education and child nutrition program, for which they shared the 2008 World Food Prize.

“I want to live long enough to see all of the 300 million school-age kids around the world who are not being fed be given a good nutritional lunch every day,” McGovern said in 2006.

His opposition to armed conflict remained a constant long after he retired. Shortly before Iowa’s caucuses in 2004, McGovern endorsed retired Gen. Wesley Clark, and compared his own opposition to the Vietnam War to Clark’s criticism of President George W. Bush’s decision to wage war in Iraq. One of the 10 books McGovern wrote was 2006’s “Out of Iraq: A Practical Plan for Withdrawal Now,” written with William R. Polk.

In early 2002, George and Eleanor McGovern returned to Mitchell, where they helped raise money for a library bearing their names. Eleanor McGovern died there in 2007 at age 85; they had been married 64 years, and had four daughters and a son.

“I don’t know what kind of president I would have been, but Eleanor would have been a great first lady,” he said after his wife’s death in 2007.

One of their daughters, Teresa, was found dead in a Madison, Wis., snowdrift in 1994 after battling alcoholism for years. He recounted her struggle in his 1996 book “Terry,” and described the writing of it as “the most painful undertaking in my life.” It was briefly a best seller and he used the proceeds to help set up a treatment center for victims of alcoholism and mental illness in Madison.

Before the 2008 presidential campaign, McGovern endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination but switched to Barack Obama that May. He called the future president “a moderate,” cautious in his ways, who wouldn’t waste money or do “anything reckless.”

“I think Barack will emerge as one of our great ones,” he said in a 2009 interview with The Associated Press. “It will be a victory for moderate liberalism.”



McGovern Center for Leadership and Public Service: http://www.mcgoverncenter.com


EDITOR’S NOTE — Walter R. Mears, who reported on government and politics for The Associated Press in Washington for 40 years, covered George McGovern in the Senate and in his 1972 presidential campaign.