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Obituaries in the News

April 15, 2005

Don Blasingame

FOUNTAIN HILLS, Ariz. (AP) _ Don Blasingame, who played with five major league baseball teams over 12 years, died Wednesday at his home of heart failure, said his son, Kent. He was 73.

Blasingame, an infielder, played in the major leagues beginning in 1955 with the St. Louis Cardinals. He also was with the San Francisco Giants, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Senators and Kansas City Athletics.

In 1958, he made the National League All-Star team as a backup second baseman. He finished his major league career with a .258 batting average.

Blasingame continued as a player in Japan, spending 1967-69 with the defunct Nankai Hawks before joining their coaching staff in 1967. He later managed the Hiroshima Carp and the Hanshin Tigers.


Chen Yifei

BEIJING (AP) _ Chen Yifei, one of China’s most successful contemporary moviemakers and artists, died Sunday from severe intestinal bleeding, a business associate said. He was 59.

Chen was admitted to Shanghai’s Huashan Hospital on April 6 with stomach pains, said Dennis Wang, an executive with Beijing-based Huayi Brothers and Taihe Film Investment Co.

Before turning to film in the early 1990s, Chen was widely acclaimed for his rich oil portrayals of daily life in a style he called romantic realism.

He later found success in New York, and in 1992, Christie’s sold his ``Lingering Melodies From the Xunyang River″ for $176,282, then a world record price for a Chinese oil painting at auction.

Returning to Shanghai, he opened a trendy restaurant and branched into businesses ranging from magazines and a clothing line to film production and a modeling agency.

Chen was directing ``Hairdresser″ when he became ill, Wang said. Its producers have said they’ll find a replacement to complete the project, about a tragic love story set in 1920s China.


Clifton Kelly

SEBRING, Fla. (AP) _ Clifton Kelly, a judge who came out of retirement to review the case of a farm worker convicted of poisoning his seven children, died Tuesday at 87.

Kelly retired from the Highlands County bench in 1983 but accepted a Florida Supreme Court appointment in 1989 to review the conviction of James Joseph Richardson. The deaths occurred in 1967.

An investigation by then-Dade County State Attorney Janet Reno resulted in the review, and Richardson’s new attorneys claimed he was framed and implicated a neighbor.

Richardson was freed after Kelly concluded he did not receive a fair trial.

Kelly also made national headlines in the 1970s when he handed a death sentence to a boy who was 15 when he stomped to death an elderly woman in a robbery that netted him and an accomplice $6 and a jewelry box. The sentence was later commuted to life.

Kelly lamented at the time that children weren’t being taught respect for the law and wrote a book for use in schools about the consequences of crime.

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