Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

August 16, 2004

William D. Ford, 77, a Democrat who dedicated himself to expanding educational opportunities for children while serving for three decades in Congress, died Saturday of complications from a stroke at his home in Ypsilanti Township, Mich.

A House member from 1965 to 1995, he served as chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor and as chairman of the House Committee on Post Office and Civil Service.

He wrote the Middle Income Student Assistance Act and the Plant Closing Act and orchestrated the passage of the Family Medical Leave Act. In 1994 the Federal Direct Student Loan Program was named for him.

A Navy veteran, he was a delegate to the Michigan Constitutional Convention and a member of the Michigan Senate before representing Michigan's 15th and 13th congressional districts.

Donald Justice, 78, an elder of American poetry whose formalist verse and teaching skills were equally acclaimed, died Aug. 6 at an Iowa City, Iowa, nursing home of pneumonia. He had also been suffering from Parkinson's disease.

Just before his final illness, he checked the review copies of the last of 14 volumes of his poetry, Collected Poems. It will be issued by Knopf on Wednesday, the publisher announced.

He was acclaimed both as a poet and a teacher. His work was recognized with a Pulitzer Prize in 1980 and the Bollingen Award in 1991. He was a fellow and past chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

His poetry followed an unusual trajectory over the decades, starting out in a traditional way, diverting into the experimental and surreal, and returning to meter and rhyme in the end. He pursued a successful parallel academic career, with many years on the faculty of the University of Iowa, Syracuse University and, for 10 years until 1992, the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Gypsy Boots, known to several generations of Southern Californians as a fig-chomping, garlic-gobbling health food enthusiast who sold organic fruit to celebrities and carried his playful message about wholesome eating to football half-time shows, farmers' markets and other venues, died of natural causes Aug. 8 in Camarillo, Calif.

He was believed to be 89, his son, Daniel Bootzin, said. When he celebrated his birthday three years ago, he claimed to be 91. His family viewed the discrepancy as a mild exaggeration that Mr. Boots, the self-described "Ageless Athlete," believed "helped his case" that a healthy diet promoted longevity, Mr. Bootzin said.

No exaggeration was necessary for the zany zealot who downed watercress and wheat grass like others gobble M&Ms and chips. In his 60s, he could throw a football farther than many men half his age. In his 70s, he had groupies: a band of young fitness-conscious women called the Nature Girls. In his 80s, he was still a joyful nonconformist, ringing his signature cowbell from the sidelines at University of Southern California football games in an outlandish outfit topped with a cardboard crown and chanting his mantra: "Don't panic, go organic; get in cahoots with Gypsy Boots."

Alan Norman Cohen, 73, a sports and entertainment executive who once headed the company that owned Madison Square Garden, died Tuesday at his home in Boca Raton, Fla., from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease.

He was chairman of ANC Sports Enterprises, which he founded in 1997. The company, with headquarters in Purchase, N.Y., builds illuminated advertising signs for sports arenas around North America, including Yankee Stadium.

A lawyer by training, he was chief executive in the mid-1970s of the Madison Square Garden Corp., which owned the Knicks and the Rangers. In 1978, he was one of the investors who bought the Nets' NBA franchise and moved it to the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, N.J. He sold his interest in 1983 to join the partnership that bought the Boston Celtics.

Semiha Berksoy, 94, a prima donna of the Turkish opera whose career spanned more than half a century, died yesterday in Istanbul's Memorial Hospital where she had been under treatment for kidney and lung complications following heart surgery.

Ms. Berksoy, known as an eccentric character for wearing heavy makeup, was born in 1910 in Istanbul. She started her career in 1934, performing in Turkey, Germany and Portugal. She was known as a Wagnerian alto soprano. She also sang in the opera The Days Before at Lincoln Center in New York in 1999. The next year, she had her jubilee.

In an interview in 2000, she complained that she was long denied senior positions in the Turkish opera because of what she said were "groundless" accusations of being a communist after she visited declared communist Nazim Hikmet, Turkey's best-known poet, in prison in the late 1930s.

Frank Maxwell, 87, a character actor from the soap opera General Hospital and a longtime activist with the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, died Aug. 4 at his home in Santa Monica, Calif.

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