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Obituaries in the news: Umberto Abronzino |

Obituaries in the news: Umberto Abronzino

The Associated Press
| Thursday, July 6, 2006 12:00 a.m

Umberto Abronzino

ONEONTA, N.Y. (AP) — Umberto Abronzino, whose lifelong dedication to soccer earned him a spot in the National Soccer Hall of Fame, has died. He was 85.

Abronzino died Saturday in San Jose, Calif. A cause of death has not been released, said Jack Huckel, director of the Hall of Fame museum in Oneonta.

Abronzino immigrated to the United States in 1937 from his native Italy, where he was an accomplished player, and continued playing in the Hartford, Conn., area. He moved to the San Francisco area in 1952 and organized the Peninsula Soccer League, serving in a number of roles.

Abronzino was an officer in the California Soccer Association. He also helped organize California North Youth Soccer, served on the U.S. Soccer National Amateur Cup’s organizing committee and worked as a referee. He was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 1971.


Dick Dickey

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Dick Dickey, who starred on North Carolina State’s Final Four team in 1950 before playing briefly for the Boston Celtics, has died. He was 79.

Dickey died Monday at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis from complications of recent lung surgery, the university said.

In his four years at N.C. State from 1947-50, the Wolfpack went 107-22. Dickey, a 6-foot-2 forward, was part of the team that lost to eventual champion City College in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament.

The 1947 Wolfpack team introduced to college the tradition of cutting down nets, a celebration that originated in Indiana high schools.

Dickey was drafted in the third round by the NBA’s Baltimore Bullets. He played the 1950-51 season with the Anderson Packers and the next season with the Celtics, averaging 2.8 points.

He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005.


Kevin Herlihy

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Kevin Herlihy, who pitched New Zealand to two world softball championships, has died. He was 58.

Softball New Zealand said that Herlihy died Wednesday of a heart attack.

Herlihy competed in six world championships, beginning in 1966, and helped New Zealand win in 1976 and again in 1984 when he threw a perfect game.

While playing in the United States, Herlihy won two U.S. men’s club championships with the Saginaw Bolters, and was twice chosen as league pitcher of the year. He was New Zealand player of the year three times, and won six New Zealand championships.

Herlihy was inducted into the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in 1990, and the International Softball Federation Hall of Fame in 1991.


W.W. “Bill” Finlator

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Rev. W.W. “Bill” Finlator, an outspoken Baptist minister who championed civil rights during the 1960s, has died. He was 93.

Finlator, who died Monday of pneumonia after a period of poor health, was pastor at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church in Raleigh for 26 years until he retired in 1982. A white man who spoke up for civil rights from his pulpit, he also openly opposed the Vietnam War. In retirement, he was an activist against war, poverty and capital punishment.

“He thought of himself as imitating Jesus, and trying to bring justice to the poor and peace to the world,” his son, Raleigh lawyer Wallace Finlator Jr. said.

A Louisburg native, the minister had congregations in Pittsboro, Weldon and Elizabeth City before coming to Pullen.

He once asked the federal government to cut funding to the University of North Carolina system on grounds that it hadn’t made progress in racial integration. The view angered some faculty at N.C. State University, which is near the church.


Kenneth Lay

HOUSTON (AP) — Kenneth Lay, the founder of Enron Corp. who was convicted of helping perpetuate one of the most sprawling business frauds in U.S. history, has died in Aspen, Colo. He was 64.

An autopsy showed Lay died Wednesday of heart disease, Mesa County Coroner Dr. Robert Kurtzman said.

Lay was convicted May 25 along with former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling of defrauding investors and employees by repeatedly lying about Enron’s financial strength in the months before the company plummeted into bankruptcy protection in December 2001.

Lay was also convicted in a separate non-jury trial of bank fraud and making false statements to banks, charges related to his personal finances.

Prosecutors in Lay’s trial declined comment Wednesday, both on his unexpected death and what may become of the government’s effort to seek a $43.5 million judgment from Lay that they say he pocketed as part of the conspiracy. Lay’s death will not affect their case against Skilling.

Both were scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 23. Lay faced decades in prison, as does Skilling.

Lay led Enron’s meteoric rise from a staid natural gas pipeline company formed by a 1985 merger to an energy and trading conglomerate that reached No. 7 on the Fortune 500 in 2000 and claimed $101 billion in annual revenues. Lay traveled in the highest business and political circles.

For many years, his corporation was the single biggest contributor to President Bush, who nicknamed him “Kenny Boy.”

But Enron collapsed after it was revealed the company’s finances were based on a web of fraudulent partnerships and schemes, not the profits that it reported to investors and the public.

Both he and Skilling maintained that there had been no wrongdoing at Enron, and that the company had been brought down by negative publicity that undermined investors’ confidence.


Philip Rieff

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Philip Rieff, a University of Pennsylvania sociologist who was one of the first scholars to explore Sigmund Freud’s impact on Western culture, has died. He was 83.

A cultural theorist once married to Susan Sontag, Rieff died Saturday of heart failure at his Philadelphia home, his family said.

Rieff argued that the traditional function of culture — to teach morality — has been supplanted in modern times by the notion that culture exists merely for personal gratification. The first volume of his master work, “Sacred Order/Social Order: My Life Among the Deathworks,” was published just this year.

Rieff, who taught at Penn from 1961 until his 1992 retirement, started his career at the University of Chicago.

His standout reputation led the 17-year-old Sontag to audit his Kafka class. They married 10 days later, an eight-year union that produced one child, the journalist David Rieff. Sontag died in December 2004.


Pierre Rinfret

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Pierre Rinfret, the economist and political neophyte whose 1990 defeat against Mario Cuomo was the worst in modern times for a Republican candidate for governor in New York, has died. He was 82.

Rinfret died June 29 of heart-related problems on Nantucket, where he and his wife of more than 57 years had lived since 1991, his son, businessman Peter Alan Rinfret, said Wednesday. He had been briefly hospitalized at Nantucket Cottage Hospital, where he died, his son said.

The Manhattan-based Rinfret agreed to become the GOP candidate for governor after party leaders failed to find any well-known and politically experienced challenger to Cuomo. He collected just 22 percent of the vote in 1990 as Cuomo easily won a third term. A Conservative Party challenger, Herbert London, captured 21 percent of the vote.

His campaign for governor became something resembling comedic theater. He spent almost as much time criticizing state GOP leaders — many of whom had walked away from his candidacy after he balked at self-financing the effort — as he did attacking Cuomo, who largely ignored his Republican challenger.

The Rinfret debacle led to a rebuilding of the state GOP by then-Sen. Alfonse D’Amato and a top D’Amato aide, William Powers, who took over as state GOP chairman. In 1994, a then little-known Republican state senator, George Pataki, drove Cuomo from the governorship with the help of the D’Amato-Powers team.

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