Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

April 12, 2003

W. Thacher Longstreth,

82, a longtime Philadelphia City Council member whose beloved image as a wisecracking, bow-tied blue blood changed in his later years amid failing health and a court battle pitting his family against his fiancee, died yesterday of a pulmonary embolism at a Florida hospital.

An aristocratic Republican in a largely blue-collar Democratic city, Mr. Longstreth was first elected to City Council in 1969 but forged alliances across the aisle with Democratic governors, mayors and business leaders.

Mr. Longstreth was born to a Quaker family in suburban Haverford, on Philadelphia's patrician Main Line, on Nov. 4, 1920. The stock market crash nine years later wiped out the family's industry and banking fortune but Mr. Longstreth attained a measure of wealth in later years from financial consulting jobs.

Mr. Longstreth grabbed headlines in 2001 when he filed for divorce from his wife and became engaged to Melanie Hopkins, his chief of staff since 1996. Hopkins and Mr. Longstreth's four children fought for custody of Mr. Longstreth after he was hospitalized in Florida. His sons were awarded custody of their father.

James "Spider" Martin,

64, who captured powerful images of the civil rights movement on film, died Wednesday in Birmingham, Ala.

Mr. Martin, a former photographer for The Birmingham News, was known for his pictures of the "Bloody Sunday" beating of protesters on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma during the march to Montgomery in 1965.

James D. Finley,

86, chairman of textile giant J.P. Stevens & Co. for 14 years, died of a heart attack April 5 in Gulf Stream, Fla.

He led the textile company from 1965 through his retirement in 1979, a period in which J.P. Stevens was the second-largest textile maker in the United States. The company at its peak topped $1 billion in annual sales and had 44,000 employees in 85 plants.

He was the company's chairman during its lengthy battle with the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, which fought for nearly two decades to represent workers at a Stevens plant in North Carolina. That story inspired the film Norma Rae.

Laura Richardson Houghton,

102, the matriarch of a glassmaking dynasty that has dominated the western New York town of Corning for five generations, died Wednesday.

Mrs. Houghton made her mark as a philanthropist after marrying Amory Houghton Sr. in 1921, the year he joined the family business. Her husband was president of Corning Glass Works from 1930 to 1941, chairman from 1945 to 1961 and ambassador to France from 1957 to 1961.

Frank P. Smeal,

84, a former Wall Street executive who donated millions of dollars to Pennsylvania State University, died Tuesday in Rumson, N.J.

Mr. Smeal and his wife, Mary Jean, gave more than $11 million to Penn State, endowing a fellowship in business administration, a faculty chair in literary theory and comparative criticism, a creative writing award and a graduate assistantship in botany and plant pathology.

But they probably are best known for giving $10 million for Penn State's College of Business, the largest individual donation in the university's history. The college was later renamed the Mary Jane and Frank P. Smeal College of Business Administration.

James V. Walker,

26, an environmental and military affairs reporter for The Clarion-Ledger newspaper of Jackson, Miss., was killed Wednesday in a traffic accident. Newspaper officials said Walker was on his way to Natchez, in the southwestern part of the state, to report on a story about a solider who had been killed in Iraq when the accident occurred.

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