ALBERT BROWN, SURVIVOR OF BATAAN DEATH MARCH
Published: August 15, 2011
Albert Brown, the oldest American survivor of the Bataan Death March, in which as many as 11,000 soldiers died at the hands of the Japanese in the Philippines in 1942, and perhaps the oldest American veteran of World War II, died Sunday in Nashville, Ill. He was 105 and lived in Pinckneyville, Ill.
Capt. Albert Brown
His death was confirmed by Kevin Moore, co-author with Don Morrow of “Forsaken Heroes of the Pacific War: One Man’s True Story” (2011), a biography of Mr. Brown.
In 2007, Mr. Brown was acknowledged by other members of the veterans organization American Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor as the oldest living survivor of the six-day death march. The American War Library in Gardena, Calif., lists Mr. Brown as the nation’s oldest World War II veteran, but that could not be confirmed.
Mr. Brown, then an Army captain, was among the approximately 76,000 Americans and Filipinos forced to march 66 miles on the Bataan peninsula starting on April 10, 1942.
The Japanese had invaded the Philippines two weeks after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. American and Filipino forces were overmatched and retreated into the mountainous jungles of Bataan. After four months of intense fighting — their ranks reduced by hunger and disease and with no reinforcements in sight — they surrendered.
With many already close to death, they were forced to trudge toward a prisoner-of-war camp during a torrid time of year with little food or water. Those who stopped were killed. Japanese soldiers fractured skulls with rifle butts and cut off heads. Prisoners who tried to help fallen comrades were bludgeoned or stabbed. “One 18-year-old I knew, he fell down,” Mr. Brown said in the book. “A guard came along and put a gun to his head, pulled the trigger and walked away.”
The nightmare was hardly over when the survivors arrived at the camp, or at the other camps in Japan to which many, including Captain Brown, were later taken. In three years in captivity Captain Brown was regularly beaten; thrown down stairs, seriously injuring his back; and struck in the neck by a rifle butt, causing a fracture. Though nearly 6 feet, he weighed 90 pounds when he was freed after the Japanese surrender.
Albert Neir Brown was born in North Platte, Neb., on Oct. 26, 1905, to Albert and Ida Fonda Brown. His father was a railroad engineer; his mother was an aunt of the actor Henry Fonda.
Young Albert was in the R.O.T.C. in high school and at Creighton University, from which he graduated in 1927 with a dentistry degree. A decade later, at 32, he was called into the Army.
Mr. Brown is survived by a daughter, Peggy Doughty; a son, Graham; 12 grandchildren; 28 great-grandchildren; and 19 great-great-grandchildren. His wife of 58 years, the former Helen Johnson, died in 1985.
Promoted to major, Mr. Brown spent two years in an Army hospital after the war. He later moved to Los Angeles, where he bought property and rented apartments. War injuries prevented his working as a dentist.
He moved to Illinois in 1998 to live with his daughter.
In the P.O.W. camps, Mr. Brown said: “We were listed in groups of 10. If one escaped out of the 10, they eliminated the rest of them, killed them. So, at night, just before roll call, you tried to find out if your 10 were still there.”
SHERMAN WHITE, AN L.I.U. STAR CAUGHT IN POINT-SHAVING SCANDAL
Published: August 11, 2011
Sherman White, an all-American forward at Long Island University of Brooklyn whose prospects for a brilliant N.B.A. career with the Knicks were shattered by his involvement in the 1951 point-shaving scandal that shook college basketball, died Aug. 4 at his home in Piscataway, N.J. He was 82.
White, an all-American at Long Island University, had his career ruined by his involvement in a point-shaving scandal.
Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times
Sherman White in 1998.
The cause was congestive heart failure, his wife, Ellen, said.
In the winter of ’51, his senior season at L.I.U., White emerged as perhaps the finest player in college basketball. An agile 6 feet 8 inches, he was leading the nation in scoring with an average of more than 27 points a game. He was adept at rebounding, jumping, handling the ball and running the court.
The Knicks were expected to select White in the N.B.A. draft, and he was told by his coach, Clair Bee, that they were going to offer a lucrative contract.
But only days after The Sporting News named him college player of the year, White and several L.I.U. teammates were arrested in February 1951 on charges of accepting bribes from a professional gambler. The players, in exchange for the bribes, affected the outcome of games, essentially by keeping margins of victory below the established point spreads to create betting coups. Players from powerful teams like City College, Bradley and the University of Kentucky were also implicated in what became a national scandal.
White, a consensus all-American in his junior year, was accused of taking bribes involving several L.I.U. games in his junior and senior seasons, one of them a loss to Syracuse in the 1950 National Invitation Tournament. He led detectives to $5,500 in bribe money he had hidden in an envelope taped to the back of a dresser drawer at his room in a Brooklyn Y.M.C.A.
White was sentenced to a year in jail in November 1951 on his guilty plea to a misdemeanor conspiracy charge and served nearly nine months. Together with the other players in the scandal, he was barred from the N.B.A.
“It wasn’t the money, it was peer pressure,” White told Dave Anderson of The New York Times in 1984. “I was naïve.”
White said: “I used to think about what I missed not playing in the N.B.A., but not much now. It took some time for the bitterness to go away, but you realize there are other values in life besides basketball.”
Sherman White was born on Dec. 16, 1928, in Philadelphia but grew up in Englewood, N.J., where he starred for an unbeaten Dwight Morrow High School team in 1947.
When Madison Square Garden marked the 50th anniversary of the college game there in 1984, White was named to its all-time team of collegians who had played at the old or new Garden, and he was introduced as “the virtuoso of New York basketball.”
In addition to his wife, White is survived by his daughter, Marcell White-Arcudi, from his marriage to his first wife, Doris, which ended in divorce; three stepchildren, Laurie Badami, Shelley Lane and Wilbert Lane; a brother, Robert; and a sister, Rebecca Davis.
White played basketball in the semipro Eastern League and worked in sales for a New Jersey liquor distributor, but he focused as well on coaching and mentoring inner-city youngsters. He did volunteer work with a community development center in Orange, N.J., and, as he related it to Charley Rosen for his book “Scandals of ’51” (1978), “I’ll tell a kid about my involvement in the scandals if I think it will do him any good.”
The basketball courts at Mackay Park in Englewood were named for White in 2010.
If not for the scandal, White might have propelled the Knicks to N.B.A. supremacy at a time when the Minneapolis Lakers and center George Mikan were dominating the league.
“Sherman would have put us over the top,” the Knicks Hall of Fame guard Dick McGuire told The Record of New Jersey in 1999. “We would have won championships with him. What you see now with Kevin Garnett, Marcus Camby and Lamar Odom, you saw Sherman doing back then. He was well before his time.”
Mr. Sherman White realized the error in his judgement in listening to his peers, and thereby he paid his dues, and for the remainder of his life, toed the line.
On the other hand, it would behoove the New York Times to show Mr. White just as much respect they show other decedents in their obituary reports. If others can have “Mr.”, “Mrs.”, or “Ms.” put before their names, surely Mr. Sherman White can have the same courtesy extended to him in death.
Rest in peace, Mr. White.
Rest in peace.
INDIANA STATE FAIR STAGE COLLAPSE VICTIMS
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Hundreds of mourners gathered Monday at the Indiana State Fairgrounds to remember five people killed when high winds caused an outdoor stage to collapse onto an audience awaiting the start of a country music concert.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told the roughly 500 mourners that the tragedy has broken the hearts of the state’s residents. He became emotional as he praised those who rushed to the stage to help the injured.
“I cannot tell you how proud I am,” Daniels said, his voice cracking, “to be the employee of six and half million people like that.”
Daniels said Saturday’s stage collapse was especially sad because the state fair is “a family reunion of all Hoosiers,” where farmers and city dwellers gather for fun.
Steven and Amanda Potaczek of the band 1,000 Generations opened the service with “Fail Us Not,” a song they wrote when one of their friends died in 2008. Amanda Potaczek said the song is keeping trust in God when tragedies happen.
“Stuff like this does not defeat him,” she said.
Wind gusts between 60 and 70 mph toppled the stage Saturday night as an estimated 12,000 people were waiting to see the band Sugarland. About four dozen people, some critically injured, were taken to hospitals.
As Monday’s service drew to a close, five young people lined up in front of the stage holding bouquets of flowers in honor of the dead as the victim’s names were read aloud.
Indiana’s first lady Cheri Daniels, who presides over fair events each year, said there are two options when tragedy strikes: to give up or rebuild.
“We have decided that we want to take heart and rebuild,” she said, as the state fair reopened following a one-day closure.
Daniels ordered flags at the fairgrounds flown at half-staff in honor of the victims.
Four of the victims died at the scene: Alina Bigjohny, 23, of Fort Wayne; Christina Santiago, 29, of Chicago; Tammy Vandam, 42, of Wanatah; and 49-year-old Glenn Goodrich of Indianapolis. Nathan Byrd, a 51-year-old stagehand from Indianapolis who was atop the rigging when it fell, died overnight.
Nathan Byrd’s older brother Randy Byrd, 54 of Indianapolis, said his brother was always a daredevil. Friends and colleagues knew he would fearlessly scale stage rigs, and dubbed him “Save-the-Show Nate,” Randy Byrd said.
The Byrd family sat at the front of the service, red-eyed and wiping away tears. Nathan Byrd’s daughter, Natalie, remembered her father as a man who loved making everyone laugh.
“Nathan meant everything in the world to me,” said Loretta Byrd, Nathan’s mother.
Santiago managed programming for the Lesbian Community Care Project at Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago and was named to the Windy City Times’ “30 Under 30″ list in 2007.
Jamal M. Edwards, the center’s president and CEO, said she was one of the organization’s “brightest stars” and worked to improve the lives of women, especially those who were lesbian, bisexual and transgender. Santiago attended the concert with her partner, Alisha Brennon, who was severely injured, Edwards said.
Bigjohny had been recently hired to teach seventh grade in Muncie, The Journal Gazette of Fort Wayne reported.
Kayla Sollers, 20, attended Manchester College with Bigjohny. She drove down from the campus Monday morning, bringing a sign with pictures of Bigjohny that read “Rejoice in Paradise. Alina Bigjohny.”
“She was full of life, energetic and caring,” Sollers said.
After the service, the quickly reopened, while visitors paid their respects to the five victims.
David and Jennifer Dominianni from the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers brought their 7-year-old daughter and 8-month-old son, in part so they could honor the dead and show their daughter the stage wreckage.
Jennifer Dominianni said they told their daughter about the accident because they don’t like to hide things from her.
“She said, ‘That’s where they lost their lives?’ And we said yes. She understands that it was a tragedy,” Dominianni said.
The family visited a makeshift memorial to the victims covered in flowers and wreaths, she said.
Only then did the family proceed on to indulge in “kids stuff” at the fair, heading off to see cows, hogs and baby chicks in the various livestock barns.
Daniels has said the wind burst was a “fluke” that no one could have foreseen. Dan McCarthy, chief meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Indiana, said the gust was far stronger than those in other areas of the fairgrounds.
The seemingly capricious nature of the gust was evident Sunday at the fair. A striped tent near the grandstand appeared unscathed, as did an aluminum trailer about 50 yards across from the grandstand. The Ferris wheel on the midway also escaped damage.
First Sgt. Dave Bursten of the Indiana State Police said the lack of damage to structures on the fair’s midway or elsewhere supported the weather service’s belief that an isolated, significant wind gust caused the rigging to topple.
“All of us know without exception in Indiana the weather can change from one report to another report, and that was the case here,” he said.
Fair officials had begun preparing in case they needed to evacuate visitors for the impending storm. Additional state troopers had been moved to the grandstand to help in the event of an evacuation, state police said.
Concert-goers and other witnesses said an announcer warned them of impending bad weather but gave conflicting accounts of whether emergency sirens sounded at the fair.
Meteorologist John Hendrickson said it’s not unusual for strong winds to precede a thunderstorm, and that Saturday’s gust might have been channeled through the stage area by buildings on either side of the dirt track where the stage fell, at the bottom of the grandstand.
The Indiana Occupational Health and Safety Administration and state fire marshal were investigating. The probe could take months, Bursten said.
The owner of Mid-America Sound Corp., which installed the rigging, expressed sympathy for the families of those killed or injured. Kerry Darrenkamp also said the Greenfield, Ind.-based company had begun “an independent internal investigation to understand, to the best of our ability, what happened.”
Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland sent a statement to The Associated Press through her marketing manager, saying she watched video of the collapse on the news “in horror.”
“I am so moved,” she said. “Moved by the grief of those families who lost loved ones. Moved by the pain of those who were injured and the fear of their families.”
The duo — composed of Nettles and Kristian Bush — canceled their Sunday show at the Iowa State Fair.