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Social Activist

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NEWS
June 17, 2010
David Lewis, 54, an ex-convict who cofounded a drug-treatment and prisoner-rehabilitation program that gained national recognition, died June 9 of a bullet wound to the abdomen. He was shot at a mall in San Mateo, Calif., in what police called a targeted attack. With a Stanford University student in 1992, he started Free at Last, in East Palo Alto, Calif. The organization helps more than 4,200 people annually.
NEWS
December 21, 1999 | By Rusty Pray, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Elinor Kemper Newbold, 82, a liberal social activist who once planned to seek nomination for Congress but withdrew from the race, died Thursday of a brain aneurysm at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Fla. Beginning in the mid-1980s, Mrs. Newbold split her time between Florida and a summer home in Mount Desert, Maine, after living in Chestnut Hill for close to 50 years. In 1966, Mrs. Newbold, then Elinor Wolf, planned to go after the Democratic nomination for the Fourth District seat.
NEWS
July 16, 2010 | By Sally A. Downey, Inquirer Staff Writer
Mary Ann Walker Ralls, 85, formerly of Mount Airy, a retired office administrator and social activist, died of cancer Monday, July 5, at home in Kennesaw, Ga. She had survived the disease for 42 years. Ms. Ralls was a longtime member of the NAACP and participated in civil rights marches, said her daughter, Stephanie Stradford. In the mid-1960s, Ms. Ralls helped organize a benefit in Philadelphia for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Congress of Racial Equality, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
NEWS
December 19, 2005 | By Sally A. Downey INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Dorothy Shaltz Rubin, 99, of Center City, a former vaudeville dancer who became a social activist, died Saturday at home. In 1941, Mrs. Rubin attended a lecture and learned what was happening to Jews in Germany. She was so inspired, she told a reporter 40 years later, that she founded the Philadelphia Women's Division of the American Jewish Congress to fight anti-Semitism. Over the years, she fought racism, participated in the 1963 March on Washington with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and was outspoken about liberal causes, said Judith Garfinkel, her daughter.
NEWS
December 2, 1997 | By Andy Wallace, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Virginia Wolf Briscoe, 55, a social activist who co-founded Congregation Mishkan Shalom, now located in Chestnut Hill, died of ovarian cancer Sunday at her home in Newtown Square. For much of her life, Mrs. Briscoe created organizations to do the things she thought needed doing. Years ago, those were social causes. More recently, they had to do with personal healing. Whatever the cause, she did it intensely. "She had such a drive, such a passion and intensity with which she lived her life," said Rabbi Brian Walt, of Mishkan Shalom.
NEWS
June 9, 1999 | By Dale Mezzacappa, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
James M. Lafferty, 49, who devoted his life to his family and to seeking justice for the poor, died Sunday of an apparent heart attack. A lawyer at Community Legal Services for 21 years and a lifelong social activist, Mr. Lafferty collapsed while riding his bike in Chestnut Hill. Naturally shy, with a hearty, infectious laugh, Mr. Lafferty became passionate when addressing social-justice issues. Steve Oldham, a friend and teacher at St. Joseph's Prep, told how Mr. Lafferty shook up his students with a fervent presentation on the effects of the new welfare laws.
NEWS
November 3, 2010 | By Sally A. Downey, Inquirer Staff Writer
Bernice Shay Sisson, 83, of Chester, a former cooking school owner and social activist who shared her opinions on subjects from children's nutrition to the Iraq war, died of cancer Friday, Oct. 26, at home. Even while bedridden, Mrs. Sisson was instructing health care workers how to make granola, her husband, Will Richan, said, and he overheard her lecturing them about the skills chefs need. She was "the cooking schoolmarm to the end," he said. When her children were in elementary school in Swarthmore, Mrs. Sisson and other mothers helped develop improved home economics classes.
NEWS
July 6, 2011 | By Jeremy Roebuck and Larry King, Inquirer Staff Writers
Mark Geisenheyner spent most of the last 22 years landing himself behind bars or pleading with the state parole board to let him out again. Paul Shay - a social activist and owner of a New York City plumbing business - looked kindly upon men whom others had written off as lost causes. How exactly the two men met - one a career criminal, the other a self-described sucker for second chances - remains unclear. But the extent of their relationship may hold the answers to explaining one of the most bizarre murder cases Montgomery County prosecutors have seen in years.
NEWS
October 4, 2010 | By Sally A. Downey, Inquirer Staff Writer
Robert J. Rutman, 91, formerly of West Mount Airy, a professor of biochemistry and a social activist who lost his job during the McCarthy era, died of heart failure Monday, Sept. 20, at Ahwatukee Care Center in Phoenix. Dr. Rutman and three other professors were fired from Jefferson Medical College for alleged communist affiliations in 1953, a month after he had been called before a House Un-American Activities subcommittee in Philadelphia. He invoked the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution when asked if he ever had been a member of the Communist Party.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
January 6, 2015 | By Angelo Fichera, Inquirer Staff Writer
  Anthony Neri, 65, of East Falls, died of an aortic aneurysm Wednesday, Dec. 31, while evaluating a home heating system in Southwest Philadelphia. Mr. Neri brought a radiating warmth to the people he met, and not just in the figurative sense. In 1980, Mr. Neri founded the Heater Hotline, a free resource for low-income homeowners that now operates under the nonprofit Energy Coordinating Agency. For much of the last 30-plus years, Mr. Neri dedicated his life and time to helping the city's neediest, even on the coldest of days.
NEWS
December 9, 2012 | By Joe Trinacria, Inquirer Staff Writer
Jon Kest, 57, a social activist and founder of the Philadelphia chapter of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), died Wednesday, Dec. 5, of liver cancer at his home in Brooklyn, N.Y. Born in New York City, Mr. Kest graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in history. He remained in Philadelphia after his graduation and became an advocate for the less fortunate. Through his work with ACORN, in conjunction with the Kensington Joint Action Council, Mr. Kest led an effort to transfer the titles of abandoned houses to low-income families in the early 1980s.
NEWS
September 14, 2012 | By Vernon Clark, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A group of distinguished athletes and the wife of Muhammad Ali tackled questions about athletes being role models and social activists during a forum this afternoon at the National Constitution Center. The panel - made up of Lonnie Ali, the boxing great's wife; his daughter Laila Ali, herself a former professional boxer; retired basketball star Dikembe Mutombo; and recent Olympic champions, boxer Claressa Shields, and rower Susan Francia - addressed a wide range of questions raised by moderator, acclaimed bioethicist Arthur Caplan.
NEWS
May 5, 2012 | By Walter F. Naedele, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
H Fred Clark, 75, of Center City, a social activist who was one of a trio of Philadelphia scientists whose work on the rotavirus vaccine is credited with saving children's lives worldwide since 2006, died of complications from heart and Parkinson's diseases Saturday, April 28, at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center. The target of the vaccine was rotavirus, "a cause of fever, vomiting and diarrhea and dehydration in young children," said Dr. Paul Offit, who along with Dr. Stanley Plotkin, formed the trio.
NEWS
July 6, 2011 | By Jeremy Roebuck and Larry King, Inquirer Staff Writers
Mark Geisenheyner spent most of the last 22 years landing himself behind bars or pleading with the state parole board to let him out again. Paul Shay - a social activist and owner of a New York City plumbing business - looked kindly upon men whom others had written off as lost causes. How exactly the two men met - one a career criminal, the other a self-described sucker for second chances - remains unclear. But the extent of their relationship may hold the answers to explaining one of the most bizarre murder cases Montgomery County prosecutors have seen in years.
NEWS
April 24, 2011 | By Walter F. Naedele, Inquirer Staff Writer
It's likely that few get to see their dining room reconstructed as an art exhibit. But the Fleisher Art Memorial in Bella Vista gave that honor to Miriam Wexner Crawford and her husband, William, in 1999. "The walls are covered completely with political memorabilia - posters of Lenin and Angela Davis, Paul Robeson and Ho Chi Minh," an Inquirer reporter wrote. Perhaps not surprisingly, her daughter Fanny said, Mrs. Crawford was "very proud to be a member of the Communist Party USA. " On Saturday, April 9, Mrs. Crawford, 94, a Temple University librarian from 1958 to 1986, died at Wesley Enhanced Living at Stapeley, the Germantown retirement community, after a fall in December.
NEWS
November 3, 2010 | By Sally A. Downey, Inquirer Staff Writer
Bernice Shay Sisson, 83, of Chester, a former cooking school owner and social activist who shared her opinions on subjects from children's nutrition to the Iraq war, died of cancer Friday, Oct. 26, at home. Even while bedridden, Mrs. Sisson was instructing health care workers how to make granola, her husband, Will Richan, said, and he overheard her lecturing them about the skills chefs need. She was "the cooking schoolmarm to the end," he said. When her children were in elementary school in Swarthmore, Mrs. Sisson and other mothers helped develop improved home economics classes.
NEWS
October 30, 2010 | By Sally A. Downey, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Rev. Alfred C. Krass, 74, of Levittown, retired pastor of United Christian Church in Levittown and a social activist, died of complications of pneumonia Tuesday, Oct. 26, at St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne. Mr. Krass was passionate about serving the needy and people with different backgrounds, his wife, Susan Byrne Krass, said. His favorite biblical passage, she said, was from the Gospel of St. Luke: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.
NEWS
October 4, 2010 | By Sally A. Downey, Inquirer Staff Writer
Robert J. Rutman, 91, formerly of West Mount Airy, a professor of biochemistry and a social activist who lost his job during the McCarthy era, died of heart failure Monday, Sept. 20, at Ahwatukee Care Center in Phoenix. Dr. Rutman and three other professors were fired from Jefferson Medical College for alleged communist affiliations in 1953, a month after he had been called before a House Un-American Activities subcommittee in Philadelphia. He invoked the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution when asked if he ever had been a member of the Communist Party.
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