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Obituaries in the News

June 21, 2002

Frank J. Pelisek

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MILWAUKEE (AP) _ Frank J. Pelisek, a lawyer who served on the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and helped to guide a major merger of the UW System in the 1970s, died Thursday after a long battle with cancer. He was 72.

Pelisek served on several civic and governmental boards. He also helped in the drive to build a dramatic addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum, designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. It opened last year.

As a lawyer, he became an authority on mergers and acquisitions and later got involved in politics, working for Republican campaigns, including those of longtime Gov. Tommy Thompson, who now serves as U.S. secretary of health and human services.

Pelisek, a UW regent from 1969-77, did the legal work to create a single UW System by merging the UW campuses in Madison and Milwaukee with the various campuses of the old State University System.

Walter B. Toner

SEATTLE (AP) _ Walter B. ``Barney″ Toner, one of the nation’s first federal labor mediators, died Tuesday of injuries from a recent car accident. He was 91.

Toner helped resolve labor disputes at the Boeing Co., Weyerhaeuser Co. and numerous other major employers in 27 years with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

Toner grew up in Seattle and Lacey, near Olympia, and earned a football scholarship to Gonzaga University in Spokane but had to work to help support his family in the Depression.

Loading goods onto ships and working on U.S. 2 through Stevens Pass, he became a labor organizer, then president of the Boilermakers union local. He joined the fledgling mediation agency in 1951.

``It was a kind of new position. No one really knew what a federal mediator was,″ said Jerry Toner, a son. ``He became a household name on the radio because strikes were a real big thing back then.″

Sophie Untermeyer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Sophie Untermeyer, who served on the board of directors for the New York Philharmonic for more than two decades, died Saturday. She was 92.

Untermeyer was a supporter of the Philharmonic for many years, doing both paid and volunteer work for the orchestra.

She was the director of fund-raising from 1965 to 1980, and from 1958 to 1980, she directed Friends of the Philharmonic, a fund-raising group.

In the 1950s and 60s, Untermeyer was associate chairman of the Lewisohn Stadium concerts, which were founded and run by her mother, Minnie Guggenheimer.

She was also a noted athlete who played tennis, polo, and golf, winning the New York Women’s Metropolitan Golf Championship eight times.

Maia Wojciechowska

LONG BRANCH, N.J. (AP) _ Maia Wojciechowska, an award-winning author of children’s books, died of a stroke June 13. She was 74.

Wojciechowska wrote 19 books, including ``Shadow of a Bull″ in 1964. The book, which won the Newbery Medal, is about a young boy in Spain who must decide whether to follow in his father’s footsteps as a bullfighter.

``I’ve been writing for children because I’ve always remained sort of a child in my directness,″ Wojciechowska said in a 1995 interview with The Record of Hackensack.

Besides writing, Wojciechowska was a private detective, a translator for Radio Free Europe and tennis instructor.

She lived most recently in Garfield, N.J. She had also lived in New Mexico, Florida, Haiti, and California.

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