Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

September 11, 2002

Kenneth J. Yablonski, 68, a lawyer who championed workers' compensation benefits before and after his labor leader father was slain by fellow union members, died of a heart attack Sunday in Washington, Pa.

A black wreath hung Monday on the main door of Yablonski, Costello and Leckie, the law firm he helped found.

His father, Joseph "Jock" Yablonski, an unsuccessful candidate for the presidency of the United Mine Workers of America, was found murdered with his wife and daughter at their Clarksville, Pa., home in 1969. UMWA President Anthony Boyle and three others were convicted of the murders. Kenneth Yablonski and his brother, Joseph, responded by helping form the Miners for Democracy, which brought reforms to the UMWA.

Kenneth Yablonski served as compensation and labor counsel for the union's District 5 until 1981. Even before the family tragedy, he championed for miners as a lawyer. He argued a precedent-setting legal case against United States Steel Corp. for the widows of 37 miners who were killed in a mine explosion in 1962.

Erma Franklin, 64, a Grammy-nominated recording artist who at times backed up her sister Aretha, died of cancer Saturday in Detroit.

Ms. Franklin spent most of the past three decades working for the Boysville of Michigan, helping at-risk children.

Her biggest hit, "Piece of My Heart," was released in 1967 and was nominated for a Grammy Award the next year. The song was revived in a Levi's jeans commercial in Europe in 1992.

Earlier this year, it was No. 10 on the British charts, the Detroit Free Press reported.

Ms. Franklin was born in Memphis, Tenn., and started her singing career at age 5 at a church in Buffalo, N.Y., where her father, the late C.L. Franklin, was pastor.

After moving to Detroit, she, Aretha and their sister Carolyn sang in the choir at New Bethel Baptist Church.

She and Carolyn, now deceased, sang backup on Aretha's "Respect," and some credit Erma Franklin with creating the "sock-it-to-me" refrain.

Jim Fras, 77, who wrote Nebraska's state song, died Monday in Fairmont, Neb., after a long illness.

A Russian immigrant who moved to the United States in 1952, Mr. Fras wrote "Beautiful Nebraska," which was adopted by the Legislature as the state song in 1967.

The song begins, "Beautiful Nebraska, peaceful prairie land; laced with many rivers and the hills of sand. Dark green valleys cradled in the earth; rain and sunshine bring abundant birth."

"He was very proud of that song," said Allen Beermann, who as Nebraska's then-deputy secretary of state pushed for the song to be adopted. "The words really do capture Nebraska pretty well."

Katrin Cartlidge, 41, a spirited English actress who distinguished herself in the movies of Mike Leigh and in the London theater, died Saturday in London of complications from pneumonia. She had been admitted to Royal Free Hospital for treatment of flulike symptoms two days earlier.

On stage, Ms. Cartlidge had a reputation as an intelligent, independent-minded actress who tended to crop up at London's tonier playhouses.

But it was on screen -- working with such maverick filmmakers as Lars Von Trier, Milcho Manchevski and Leigh -- that she found an audience that seemed to respond to her taste for demanding and expressive work.

Two Leigh films within four years showed her versatility. In Naked in 1993, she played the punky, spaced-out Sophie, an early sexual conquest of the film's leading character.

Career Girls in 1997 cast Ms. Cartlidge as the pricklier of the two professionally minded women of the title.

Her other film credits include Hotel Splendide, a screen version of Chekhov's play The Cherry Orchard, and the recent Johnny Depp film, From Hell, which was one of Ms. Cartlidge's more commercial ventures.

Pee Koelewijn, 62, a Christian pro-Israel activist who helped Ukrainian and Ethiopian Jews immigrate to Israel, died of heart failure yesterday in Amersfoort, Netherlands .

Mr. Koelewijn was a driving force behind Christians for Israel, a Zionist charity where he served as project manager, on the board of directors, and as editor of its newspaper.

He led projects to bring more than 70,000 Ukrainian and Ethiopian Jews to Israel. More recently, he worked to provide clothing and medicine for Israelis injured by Palestinian suicide bombers.

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