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Obituaries in the News

July 24, 2002

Nicholas Bonanno

ATLANTA (AP) _ Nicholas Bonanno, who helped lead the Southern labor movement and spent 50 years with the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union, died Friday of prostate cancer. He was 74.

By 1986, his union represented 2,000 apparel workers in Georgia and 12,000 nationwide. Over the years, Bonanno testified before Congress, staged rallies at the Georgia Capitol, stood in picket lines and even went to jail for his constituents.

As the textile industry declined, he fought for thousands of lost textile and apparel jobs.

``Nick had a passion for the problems of garment workers and an ability to relate to them that could only come from someone who started out at sewing machines in the Lower East Side of New York,″ said Bruce Raynor, president of the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees.

Bonanno started working with the union in the late 1940s and settled in Atlanta in the mid-1950s. He became director of ILGWU’s Southeastern division in 1969 and a vice president the following year.

Bonanno helped form UNITE, a merger of the ILGWU and the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, in 1995.

Jack Keady

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ Jack Leland Keady, sports editor of the Arkansas Democrat newspaper for over 30 years, died Monday of a heart attack. He was 87.

During his years at the paper, he reported on the construction of Barton Coliseum, was an official scorer for the Arkansas Travelers minor-league baseball games and covered the University of Arkansas Razorbacks football team under five coaches.

In 1966, Keady was named Sportswriter of the Year by the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters. He helped start the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.

He had begun covering sports for the Democrat _ the predecessor of today’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette _ as a high school student in the 1930s. He became a full-time sports reporter after graduation and was named the sports editor in 1939.

With four years out to serve in the military during World War II, he served as sports editor until his retirement in 1974, when he began writing a column.

Ned Martin

BOSTON (AP) _ Ned Martin, the radio and television voice of the Boston Red Sox for 31 years, died Tuesday. The cause of death has not been determined. He was 79.

Martin collapsed at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina after a return trip from Boston, team officials said.

Martin’s trademark call _ ``Mercy!″ _ was a familiar sound to generations of Red Sox fans.

Martin announced the AL playoffs on CBS radio four times and worked the 1975 World Series on television for NBC. The Red Sox inducted Martin into their Hall of Fame in 2000.

Martin began his career in 1956 covering minor league baseball in West Virginia. He joined Curt Gowdy in the Red Sox booth in 1961 and stayed for the rest of his career. Martin retired in 1992.

He also worked as a football announcer and did play-by-play for the Boston Patriots, as well as schools like Harvard, Dartmouth and Yale.

Harry Purdy Sr.

ZILLAH, Wash. (AP) _ Harry E. Purdy Sr., listed by the Veterans of Foreign Wars as the third oldest U.S. veteran of World War I, died Friday. He was 108.

Purdy, the son of a Civil War soldier in the Union Army, died in his sleep in this lower Yakima Valley town 130 miles southeast of Seattle.

He was born on Nov. 23, 1893, 30 years to the day after the Battle of Chattanooga. During his lifetime 19 presidents took office.

In 2000 he was awarded the French National Order of the Legion of Honor for his service as an Army engineer in World War I. He built bridges, dug trenches, strung barbed wire, helped build roads and saw action in combat without being injured.

In civilian life, he worked as a farmer, logger and road construction employee.

E. Eugene Spear

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) _ State Appellate Court Judge E. Eugene Spear, Connecticut’s first black administrative judge, died Monday. He was 63.

Spear was a sitting member of the Appellate Court, to which he was reappointed in March.

During his tenure on the Bridgeport bench he presided over the trial of convicted kidnapper and killer Thomas Marra.

In 1989 he was appointed administrative judge of the Bridgeport state courts and in 1991 was named chief judge of the state’s civil division. In 1994, he was elevated to the state Appellate Court.

Spear was appointed an assistant public defender in Bridgeport in 1973. Five years later, he became the public defender for the Milford-Ansonia Judicial District. In 1982 he was appointed to the Superior Court bench.

Spear served on the local board of education, the board of fire commissioners and the YMCA’s board of directors. He also was a life member of the NAACP.

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