A tireless civic worker lost her life as she celebrated Olympic spirit Ga. blast victim to be honored in memorial service

Atlanta Olympics

July 30, 1996|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

ATLANTA -- Although Alice S. Hawthorne did not run a single lap or win a single competition, her name is likely to be forever associated with the 1996 Summer Olympics as a casualty of the Games' spirit of harmony and openness.

Hawthorne, who was 44, died in the Saturday morning bomb blast that sprayed shrapnel over a swath of Centennial Olympic Park, the 21-acre grass and brick-paved area that stands at the physical heart of the Olympic Games. The park had been reclaimed from slums and old warehouses to become a place for visitors and locals to meet, greet and celebrate -- no high-priced tickets or special passes needed.

"Mrs. Hawthorne will forever be remembered as one who lost her life while celebrating the human spirit at the Olympics," said Gordon Joyner, a member of the Fulton County Commission.

Yesterday, Joyner joined other elected officials and various celebrities in rallying around Hawthorne's family -- her husband, John, who works for the city of Albany's Community and Economic Development Department; her 14-year-old daughter, Fallon Stubbs, who is recuperating at Atlanta's Georgia Baptist Hospital from wounds suffered in the blast; and an extended network of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Family members learned just yesterday morning about the memorial service planned by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games for today, soon after the park reopens. The service, involving public officials, senior representatives of the Olympics and athletes, will honor Hawthorne; the Turkish television cameraman, Melih Uzunyol, who suffered a heart attack while rushing to cover the blast; and the 110 people who were injured.

But in Albany, some 200 miles south, where Hawthorne lived, people who knew her insisted she would be much more than a footnote to the 1996 Summer Games. A former U.S. Army lieutenant, she was a co-owner of Fallon's Ice Cream Parlor and an employee of the local cable television company. Friends cited her tireless civic work for the Chamber of Commerce. And they pointed out that she was one of the first women to be accepted as a member of the local American Legion chapter.

Hawthorne, a volunteer in the city's literacy program, had completed a chamber-sponsored leadership training program and was managing the campaign of a candidate for the state Legislature.

But virtually everyone who spoke of Hawthorne agreed she will best be remembered as someone who brought people together. "The Hawthorne family lived their lives for others," said Mayor Tommy Coleman of Albany. "And this lady will be remembered as a person who believed in the coming together of others, and not because of a cowardly act of violence."

Curt Kennedy, Hawthorne's business partner at the ice cream parlor, stood in the shop yesterday where a wreath with satin ribbons adorned the door. On the counter was a vase of carnations and lilies; leaning against it, a hand-lettered sign reading: "We feel your loss and sorrow."

Kennedy's sadness could barely suppress his anger as he noted that burglars had broken into the Hawthorne home sometime Sunday morning, making off with a television and a VCR.

Yesterday, while police were stationed outside the home in a quiet middle-class subdivision, Kennedy could only shake his head and ask: "How can all this happen because a mother took her daughter to the Olympics as part of a birthday present?"

Friends in Albany said that Fallon, who turned 14 on Wednesday, had asked her mother to take her to the Games. The youngster had been close enough to the blast to suffer large gash wounds, doctors reported. Still, they said yesterday that she was in good condition and was likely to be released today.

Pub Date: 7/30/96

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