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Obituaries in the News

October 15, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ John DeConcini, retired president of the Bakery, Confectionery and Tobacco Workers International Union, died Tuesday of kidney failure. He was 80.

DeConcini lead the movement to reunify bakery workers in the late 1950s after the union was ousted from the AFL-CIO amid charges of corruption against top officials. Through the reform efforts of DeConcini and other officials, the reorganized union regained admission to the AFL-CIO in 1960.

DeConcini won election as the first president of the combined bakery and tobacco workers union, which now has about 110,000 members. He headed the bakery union from 1978 to 1992, setting up the union’s first political action committee.

Reinaldo Ferrer

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) _ Dr. Reinaldo Ferrer, a medical educator and commissioner of New York’s Health Department under former Mayor Edward Koch, died Oct. 8 after a long illness. He was 82.

His office grappled with such problems as oil spills and beach closings in Queens and reports of typhoid fever in Brooklyn. In the late 1970s, the department traced an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease to an air conditioning tower in Manhattan.

Born in Lajas, Puerto Rico, Ferrer was one of the highest-ranking Hispanic officials in the Koch administration.

Fujiko Fujima

TOKYO (AP) _ Fujiko Fujima, a dancer and choreographer for the traditional kabuki theater, died Wednesday of stomach cancer. She was 90.

Ms. Fujima, born Kimiyo Tanaka, became an accredited dance master in 1926, after being adopted into the Fujima family, famous for performing traditional Japanese-style dancing.

She was highly regarded for her refined yet orthodox choreography of classical dance pieces and new kabuki dances.

In 1985, the Japanese government designated her a living national treasure, becoming the first woman in kabuki dance to be so honored.

Lynn Hageman

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Rev. Lynn Hageman, a drug counseling pioneer who founded Exodus House, a nationally-known drug treatment center in East Harlem, died of a heart attack on Oct. 3. He was 67.

The center, which opened in 1963 and helped thousands of addicts, offered a program that had an unusually high success rate.

Hageman developed a rehabilitation method that included abstinence, spiritual guidance, group therapy and artisan training.

Before he established Exodus House, Hageman, a native of Lincoln, Neb., was a minister and participated in the 1960s civil rights movement. He was arrested and spent time in jail with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Albany, Ga.

Samuel Kushner

CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) _ Samuel Kushner, an award-winning photographer at the Courier-Post of Cherry Hill for nearly three decades, died Monday. He was 77.

Kushner began his career as a freelance photographer for the now-defunct Philadelphia Bulletin. He joined the Courier-Post in 1957 and was known for his photographs of the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team. He retired in 1985.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara, three sons, and six grandchildren.

Fred W. O’Green

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Fred W. O’Green, former chairman of Litton Industries through most of the 1980s, died Oct. 2. He was 77.

O’Green, Litton’s president since 1972, oversaw the vast restructuring of the conglomerate, which had been involved in businesses spanning aircraft and missile navigation, communications systems, desktop calculators and microwave ovens.

O’Green presided over the divestiture of 25 corporate divisions. He stepped down in 1988.

Frankie Yankovic

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ Frankie Yankovic, the accordion-playing Polka King from Cleveland who had folks rolling out the barrel for generations, died Wednesday. He was 83.

Yankovic wowed dance-hall crowds throughout the Midwest for more than 60 years with his rollicking, toe-tapping performances, won the first Grammy ever awarded for polka in 1986 and more recently reached a new generation by teaming up with TV’s Drew Carey and ``Weird Al″ Yankovic.

Yankovic was the best-known practitioner of Slovenian-style polka, which is heavy on the accordion, clarinet and saxophone.

His biggest hits were ``Just Because,″ which sold more than 1 million copies in 1948, as did ``Blue Skirt Waltz″ the following year. Among other hits: ``In Heaven There Is No Beer,″ ``Dizzy Day Polka,″ and the classic ``Beer Barrel Polka.″

He continued performing, mostly in the Great Lakes area, for the next 40 years. He also had television shows in Cleveland and Chicago in the 1960s.

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