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Obituaries in the News

November 23, 1998

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. (AP) _ Erwin C. Cronk, who rose to editor of The Binghamton Press during a career that spanned more than four decades, died Saturday. He was 92.

Colleagues and friends of Cronk remembered him as a taskmaster and perfectionist who became a model of conviviality once the work day was ended.

``He was a great teacher _ a tough one but a great one,″ recalled Robert Fichenberg, who joined The Press, the forerunner of today’s Press & Sun-Bulletin, in 1942.

Cronk went to The Press in 1928 after graduating from Syracuse University. He was a reporter, assistant city editor, city editor, managing editor and editor, a position from which he retired in 1971 at age 65.

Survivors include his wife, Greta, a daughter and, a son.

William Githens

NEW YORK (AP) _ William F. Githens, who opened the first all-newsreel movie theater, died Nov. 10 in Arlington, Va. He was 92.

Githens opened what he called the world’s first all-newsreel, all-the-time movie theater in Manhattan on Nov. 2, 1929. Within a few years, he expanded it into a chain of 26 theaters stretching from New York to California, helping to turn the United States into a nation of news addicts during the Depression.

He also opened his own production company in the 1930s. During World War II, he produced training films for the Navy.

Githens went bankrupt with the emergence of television after the war.

Gerard Grisey

PARIS (AP) _ Gerard Grisey, a leading modern French composer, died of a stroke Wednesday. He was 52.

Grisey attended the Paris Conservatory, where he began teaching in 1986, and the Superior Normal School of Music, a well-respected school where many learn to teach music. He also studied acoustics at the Faculty of Sciences in Paris.

He was awarded the Rome Prize in 1972 and spent the next two years studying in the Italian capital.

In 1980, he became one of the first composers to work at the Institute of Research and Coordination for Acoustics and Music. The Paris center, dedicated to promoting modern music in France, was the brainchild of composer Pierre Boulez and the late French President Georges Pompidou.

Grisey’s best-known compositions include the 1977 work ``Modulations″ and ``Jour Contre Jour,″ completed in 1979. He completed ``Stele″ in 1995.

Mikolaj Kozakiewicz

WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ Mikolaj Kozakiewicz, a peasant party activist who became the speaker of Poland’s first post-communist parliament, died Sunday. He was 75.

Kozakiewicz was a prominent activist of the Peasant Party, a satellite of the Communist Party, and became a member of parliament in 1985. After the partly free elections in 1989 that opened a path to democracy, he became speaker of the Sejm, the more powerful parliament chamber. He was speaker until the 1991 elections.

Kozakiewicz received a degree in sociology from Warsaw University and began teaching. In 1984, he became a professor. He was also a sexologist, promoting birth control in the predominantly Roman Catholic country.

Milton Kutsher

MONTICELLO, N.Y. (AP) _ Milton Kutsher, owner of a Catskills resort that was a magnet for leading entertainers and sports figures for decades, died Nov. 16. He was 82.

Kutsher turned his family’s Kutsher’s Country Club into one of the most successful resort hotels in the Catskills, a vacation spot that became popular, especially with urban Jews, by the middle of the century.

Even as the allure of the Catskills has declined in the past 20 years, Kutsher strived to keep his resort current. Jerry Seinfeld was a regular in the 1980s, according to Kutsher’s daughter, Mady Prowler.

Kutsher’s also attracted professional basketball players for the Maurice Stokes exhibition game, a fund-raiser for needy former National Basketball Association players, which started 41 years ago and continues today.

Area resorts frequently held basketball competitions between teams of employees and Kutsher was known to hire the best college and high school players for summer jobs; Wilt Chamberlain was once a bellhop.

Kutsher even hired Boston Celtics Hall-of-Famer Red Auerbach to coach his squad.

Ex-champs Ezzard Charles and Rocky Marciano used the resort as a training ground for some of their heavyweight boxing matches.

Kutsher took over the resort from his father and uncle after serving in the Army during World War II. He built the hotel into one of the area’s largest with 410 rooms.

He also maintained the hotel as a family business, now run by his wife Helen and son Mark.