IRENE M. KIRKALDY, 90
First 'freedom rider"
Irene Morgan Kirkaldy, a black woman whose refusal to give up her bus seat to white passengers triggered a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision almost a decade before Rosa Parks gained recognition for doing the same, died Friday at her daughter's home in Gloucester, Va., said Fred Carter, director of Carter Funeral Home in Newport News.
Born Irene Morgan in Baltimore in 1917, she was arrested in 1944 for refusing to give up her seat on a Greyhound bus heading from Gloucester to Baltimore. Her case was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court by an NAACP lawyer named Thurgood Marshall, who later became the first black justice on the high court. The case resulted in a 1946 decision striking down Jim Crow segregation in interstate transportation.
At the time, the case received little attention, but it paved the way for Mrs. Parks' famous stand on a local bus in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955.
MARY MURPHY, 89
Water ski enthusiast
Along with her husband and four children, Mrs. Murphy started water-skiing at lakes and off the coast of Southern California in the 1950s. When she was in her mid-70s, her son Mike taught her to ski on a new contraption he and a business partner had invented.
Instead of standing on traditional water skis, the hydrofoil skier sits in a chair mounted on a single ski. It's about a foot wide and about four feet long.
The hydrofoil ski ensured a smoother ride across the rough ocean, and in 2002 she set a world record for age and endurance when she made the 62-mile round trip from Long Beach to Catalina in five hours and 17 minutes.
Mrs. Murphy made her last Catalina crossing in March to celebrate her 89th birthday.