Deaths Elsewhere


Edgar Allan Toppin, 76, a nationally known expert on black history who was key in establishing Black History Month, died Wednesday of congestive heart failure in Richmond, Va.

Dr. Toppin, a professor emeritus at Virginia State University, wrote 10 books during his nearly 50-year career.

As president of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, he was instrumental in turning Black History Week into Black History Month in 1976, said Lauranett Lee, curator of African-American history at the Virginia Historical Society.

In 1969, he wrote "Blacks in America," a 15-part series of articles published by The Christian Science Monitor. From then on, he was in demand as an expert on African-American history.

Maxwell McCrohon, 76, who arrived in the United States as an aspiring foreign correspondent and went on to lead the Chicago Tribune and United Press International, died Wednesday of lung cancer in Washington.

He came to New York in the early 1950s from his native Australia and eventually landed a job at Chicago's American, which later became Chicago Today, where he was appointed managing editor in 1970. Two years later, he became managing editor of the Chicago Tribune.

He was appointed the Tribune's editor in 1979 and named vice president of news in 1981. He left the paper in 1983 to become editor in chief of United Press International. He left the wire service in 1986 as president and chief operating officer. He later became editor of The Los Angeles Herald Examiner, which published its last edition in 1989.

Morris Gold, 85, who helped make his mother's horseradish a household name, died Nov. 29 in Oceanside, N.Y., of congestive heart failure,

He was the oldest of three brothers who made Gold's Horseradish a national brand in the 1970s after taking over the business two decades earlier from their parents. They were Polish immigrants who began packaging and peddling a few dozen jars from their apartment in Brooklyn as a desperate measure to make money in the Depression.

The Gold Pure Food Products Co., based in Hempstead, N.Y., now sells 17 million jars of its horseradish a year, mostly the familiar 6-ounce bottles of red, white or extra hot.

Pete Franklin, 76, a pioneering sports radio talk show host who worked in San Francisco, Cleveland and New York, died Nov. 23 in California after a long illness, KNBR in San Francisco announced Thursday.

He was known for his rough treatment of callers, whom he would sometimes abruptly dismiss with audio of a flushing toilet.

Mr. Franklin, who used the on-air nickname "The King," worked at WWWE in Cleveland in the 1970s and '80s before heading to New York as afternoon drive-time host at WFAN, the nation's first 24-hour sports radio station. He later worked at KNBR and returned to WWWE briefly in 1998 when the station landed the Cleveland Indians broadcasts. He ended his career in 2000 at KNBR.

Francess Lantz, 52, an author of fiction popular with teen and preteen girls, including the Luna Bay surfer girl series, died Nov. 22 at her home in Santa Barbara, Calif. She had ovarian cancer.

Over the past two decades, she wrote more than 30 books, including several juvenile best sellers. She won the American Library Association's "Best Book for Young Adults" award for her 1997 romance, Someone to Love. Her novel Stepsister From Planet Weird was made into a Disney Channel movie in 2000.

Last year, the first of seven books she wrote for the Luna Bay paperback series began to appear. Aimed at 8- to 13-year- old girls, the books focus on five teenage girls who live in the fictional seaside town of Luna Bay. The books are produced in an unusual partnership between a clothing company, Roxy Girl, whose logo appears on the cover, and HarperEntertainment, a division of HarperCollins.

Prince Bernhard, 93, a bon vivant and outspoken member of an ancient German royal family who became husband of one queen of the Netherlands and father of another, died of cancer Dec. 1 at a hospital in Utrecht near Amsterdam.

For six decades, he lived at the royal palace in Soestdijk with his wife, Queen Juliana. His daughter Beatrix became queen in 1980. His wife died in March at age 94. He earned global prominence by helping to establish the World Wildlife Fund in 1961 and serving as its president until 1977.

During the Nazi occupation, he was the top aide in Queen Wilhelmina's exiled government in London, and he headed the Dutch military at the end of World War II. He also raised money to help rebuild the devastated country after the war. But his image was tarnished by a bribery scandal in the 1970s and by his openly rocky marriage and affairs.

Angela Leigh, 78, a founding member and former principal dancer of the National Ballet of Canada, died Nov. 30 in Victoria, British Columbia, after a long illness.

An outspoken dancer, choreographer and interior designer, she was born in Uganda and trained with the Royal Ballet in London, where she met her first husband, Clayton Leigh, a Royal Canadian Air Force bomber pilot in World War II.

She became one of 25 founding members of the National Ballet of Canada, danced most of the leading roles in the classical and modern repertoires with the company, taught at its school and was an assistant professor of dance at York University. Last year, she played a key role in the founding of Ballet Victoria, the first professional ballet company on Vancouver Island.

Emil Eschenburg, 88, a retired Army brigadier general and one of the few remaining members of an elite World War II force that inspired the 1968 film The Devil's Brigade, died Nov. 26 of an undisclosed illness in Helena, Mont.

A farm boy from Michigan, he was selected to join the U.S.-Canadian First Special Service Force when it was activated in 1942. The commando-style brigade is best known for capturing German forces in the mountains of Italy. The Germans called the 1,800-man force "Black Devils" because of their faces, which were blackened with shoe polish before nightly raids.

He rose to the rank of brigadier general during his service with the Devil's Brigade. He served in Vietnam as assistant commander of the 101st Airborne Division and later a commanding general. He received 115 military decorations, including the Purple Heart, before retiring in 1970.

Fathi Arafat, 67, the brother of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and founder of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, died Dec. 1 at the Palestine Hospital in Cairo, Egypt, where he had been receiving treatment for stomach cancer.

He resigned his position as chairman of the Palestinian Red Crescent three years ago. He was also a senior member of Fatah, the Palestine Liberation Organization's political movement headed by his brother, who died Nov. 11 in Paris.

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