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Obituaries in the News

December 18, 2004

Daniel Brink

SEATTLE (AP) _ Daniel P. Brink, a former state legislator and lawyer who fought battles over Democratic party structure and site selection for the Kingdome, has died. He was 75.

Brink, who specialized in property law cases, died Wednesday of esophageal cancer, relatives and friends said.

Brink served in the state House of Representatives in 1959-63.

In 1968 he sued against a proposal to build the Kingdome sports and events stadium near the Seattle Center because of concern over traffic congestion. He lost the case in court but helped promote a referendum campaign that rejected the site.

The Kingdome wound up being built south of the downtown area; it was demolished in 2000.

Brink advocated keeping representation on the state Democratic Central Committee to a man and a woman from each county, rather than adding representation based on legislative districts. He won the case before the U.S. Supreme Court, but the committee later expanded membership through a technicality.

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James J. Ling

DALLAS (AP) _ James J. Ling, a Dallas tycoon who was a pioneer of the modern-day conglomerate, has died. He was 81.

Ling, who died Friday of esophageal cancer, was the L in LTV Corp., a now-defunct business that became Fortune magazine’s 14th-largest industrial company with $3.8 billion in revenues.

Ling’s conglomerate-building career at LTV ended in the 1970s after his foray into the steel industry proved catastrophic. When financial problems mounted he was booted out of the corporation. But he stayed active until recently in business, running a Dallas energy company and other enterprises.

E-Systems Inc., Braniff Airlines, Wilson Sporting Goods, resorts in Acapulco and Steamboat Springs, Colo., and National Car Rental were all once part of LTV _ America’s first billion-dollar conglomerate.

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Agnes Mary Mansour

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. (AP) _ Agnes Mary Mansour, who gave up her religious vows rather than resign as Michigan’s welfare director in a showdown with the Vatican over abortion, has died. She was 73.

Mansour died Friday at McAuley Center, an assisted living facility operated by the Sisters of Mercy. Mansour was a member of the order for 30 years and an associate for the 20-plus years following dispensation from her vows.

Controversy arose in the 1980s over her role as a nun and as head of an agency that oversaw Medicaid funding for abortions for low-income women. A representative of Pope John Paul II gave Mansour an ultimatum to either resign as DSS director or be dismissed from the Sisters of Mercy.

Mansour said that while she personally disapproved of abortion, as long as it was legal it would be unfair to limit the procedure only to women able to afford it. Saying she wanted to avoid causing further conflict within the Catholic Church, she asked to be released from her vows.

Her numerous awards and honors included induction into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 1988.

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Bobby Mattick

TORONTO (AP) _ Bobby Mattick, who managed the Toronto Blue Jays in 1980 and ’81 and helped develop the talent that produced five division titles and two World Series championships, has died. He was 89.

Mattick died Thursday after a stroke at his Scottsdale, Ariz., home, the Blue Jays said.

He joined the Blue Jays in 1976 as the expansion team’s scouting supervisor. Mattick played a key administrative role in scouting and development, leading to the Blue Jays’ five AL East titles, as well as World Series crowns in 1992 and 1993.

He played in the majors as an outfielder from 1938-42 with the Chicago Cubs and Cincinnati Reds.

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Seymour Melman

NEW YORK (AP) _ Seymour Melman, a retired Columbia University professor who argued that U.S. military spending compromised the quality of the nation’s domestic programs, has died. He was 86.

Melman died Thursday of an apparent aneurysm, said Benjamin Abrams, his research assistant.

An outspoken advocate for disarmament during the Cold War and after, Melman was co-chairman of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy and chairman of the National Commission for Economic Conversion and Disarmament.

Melman often criticized what he considered the United States’ exorbitant spending on weapons and defense programs, saying the money could more usefully be spent at home. ``To eliminate hunger in America $4-5 billion C-5A aircraft program,″ he wrote in his 1974 book, ``The Permanent War Economy.″ He wrote extensively about ``economic conversion,″ the process of turning military facilities over to civilian uses.

He opposed the current war in Iraq, and argued against the long-held belief that World War II pulled the United States out of the Great Depression, saying other factors revived the economy.

Melman was born in the Bronx in 1917 and received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the College of the City of New York in 1939. He later earned a doctorate in economics at Columbia.

He served in the Army during World War II.

His books included ``Our Depleted Society″ (1965), ``Profits Without Production″ (1983) and ``After Capitalism: From Managerialism to Workplace Economy″ (2001).

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Lorenzo Ponza Jr.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) _ Lorenzo ``Larry″ J. Ponza Jr., who developed and perfected the modern pitching machine, has died. He was 86.

Ponza, who died Wednesday at his home, grew up on a farm-sawmill operated by his immigrant parents, and later operated a fix-it shop where many of his baseball products were created, a nephew said.

Ponza’s 1952 invention, the ``Power Pitcher,″ became the prototype for pitching machines he and others built.

His 1974 machine, ``The Hummer,″ became a batting practice staple for players from Little League to the Major League because it could be set to replicate fast balls, ground balls and pop-up flies.

But Ponza kept tinkering with his designs, producing the ``Casey″ in 1983, the ``Ponza Swing King″ in 1987 and the ``Rookie″ in 1988. He sold his company in the early 1990s to Athletic Training Equipment Co., of Sparks, Nev.

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E. Wyman Spalding

VENTURA, Calif. (AP) _ E. Wyman Spalding, grandson of the co-founder of the A.G. Spalding & Bros. sporting goods empire, has died. He was 86.

Spalding, a retired Army Reserves officer and longtime schoolteacher, died in his sleep Dec. 3 of natural causes at a hospital, said his daughter, Wilda Spalding.

Spalding wasn’t involved in running the sporting goods empire, which was founded by his grandfather, J. Walter Spalding, and his granduncle, A.G. Spalding, the Hall of Fame pitcher and Major League baseball pioneer.

Instead, he pursued a career as a Shakespearean actor and also played roles such as Gen. Douglas MacArthur and French novelist Emile Zola. During World War II, he performed Shakespearean readings that aired over the radio.

Spalding, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves, was also a flight commander who trained B-25 pilots. He flew planes well into his 70s, performing aerobatics at the Santa Paula Airport.

He retired from the San Francisco Unified School District in 1984 after 21 years as a teacher.

Spalding attended Yale University and graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with degrees in theater and secondary education.

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