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Obituaries in the News

August 21, 2004

Robert Berl

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) _ Robert Berl, longtime chief executive of the Zweigle’s Inc. sausage, hot dog and deli meats company founded by his grandparents, Wilhelm and Josephine Zweigle, died Sunday, a company spokesman said. He was 90.

Berl, who helped manage the company for more than 50 years, died after a lengthy illness. The cause of death was not disclosed.

Berl was renowned within the company ranks for relying on his own experience, rather than expensive focus groups or other modern marketing tools, in choosing flavors and textures of Zweigle’s food products.

Berl began working for the family business, one of the oldest and most recognizable names in Rochester, as a teenager in the 1920s. On the death of his uncle, William Zweigle, he inherited the company in 1953 along with his aunt and cousin, then bought them out two years later.

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June Elizabeth Kay Campbell

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) _ June Elizabeth Kay Campbell, the mother to one son who became North Carolina’s state auditor and another who became the mayor of Atlanta, died Thursday. She was 79.

She died of complications from pancreatic cancer.

Eldest son Ralph Campbell Jr. became North Carolina’s state auditor and the first black person elected to the Council of State _ the group of department heads who, together with the lieutenant governor, are elected rather than being appointed by the governor.

Her second son, Bill, became mayor of Atlanta.

Campbell is also remembered as the well-dressed, composed mother in a historic 1960 photo, walking her young son Bill through hostile onlookers to his first day at Raleigh’s Murphey School _ the first time a black student attended a previously all-white Raleigh public school.

Her husband, the late civil rights activist Ralph Campbell Sr., was employed with the postal service in Raleigh, and had been told he would be fired if he chose to escort his son to school over going to work that day. He died in 1983.

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Pete Dobrovitz

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) _ Pete Dobrovitz, a former TV reporter who underwent a lifesaving, living-donor kidney transplant in 2002 after placing a classified ad in a newspaper that read ``WANTED: Your Spare Kidney,″ died Tuesday of complications from food poisoning, his family said. He was 51.

Dobrovitz, who had two cadaver-kidney transplants in the 1980s that eventually failed, was hospitalized in June with food poisoning that he contracted last fall. He died at a Rochester hospital.

A stranger stepped forward in 2001 after reading about Dobrovitz’s plight and turned out to be an ideal tissue match.

Donor Steve Aman had attended the same Catholic school as Dobrovitz in the 1960s, but they never knew each other.

One detail in the ad caught Aman’s eye _ Dobrovitz ran Rochester’s Big Brothers-Big Sisters chapter, a child-mentor program where Aman had once volunteered.

Nearly 60,000 Americans are signed up for a kidney transplant. Every day, nine of them die waiting.

Born with kidney ailments, Dobrovitz had his first transplant in 1983. The donor kidney stopped functioning 18 months later, but dialysis three times a week kept him alive. Another kidney transplanted in 1987 gave out in 1995.

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Peggy Peterman

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ Peggy Peterman, a 31-year veteran at the St. Petersburg Times who was influential in persuading the paper to discontinue its Negro news section in the 1960s, died Thursday. She was 67.

Peterman, who retired in 1996, died after a struggle with heart disease, the funeral home said.

The daughter of civil rights activist William P. Mitchell, Peterman joined the Times in 1965, reporting for the Negro news page, which was distributed only to black neighborhoods. She urged her white editors to incorporate news of the black community in the entire newspaper, and the Negro news page was abolished in 1967.

``My ambition as a journalist was always to help the public understand who and what the African- American family and culture was all about,″ Peterman wrote in 1996.

After 20 years as a reporter, she became a columnist and joined the editorial board in 1994.

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