Published: September 21, 2013

  • Bonita Spence, an investigator for public defenders whose second job as a basketball referee took her to the sport’s highest level, working at National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament games, Women’s National Basketball Association games and at the first men’s professional game to be officiated entirely by women, died on Sunday in West Orange, N.J. She was 51.

John Dunn for The New York Times

Bonita Spence officiating a game in 2001.

The cause was suicide, said her aunt Alma Dobson.

Well known in the world of basketball, Ms. Spence officiated at college games for nearly three decades and at N.C.A.A. Division I championship games since 2000.

In 1992, she broke new ground when she and Sandhi Ortiz-Del Valle became the first all-female crew to officiate at a men’s professional basketball game, in the United States Basketball League.

“It was just another game for us,” Ms. Spence said at the time. “I thought the players had a harder time getting adjusted to two women officials.”

The Web site College Spun said Ms. Spence was “one of the few officials willing to joke with students in the crowd,” and noted that at the annual Paradise Jam basketball tournament in the Virgin Islands, she even participated in a halftime dance competition.

“She always put a smile on my face, no matter what, whether we won or lost,” said Way Veney, a basketball assistant at Temple University.

Ms. Spence would be greeted at University of Connecticut games, which she frequently officiated, with a cheer from the student section: “Boooooniiiiiitaaaaa!”

She worked as an investigator in the public defender’s office in Newark. Having run youth basketball clinics around the city, she was fearless about going to rough neighborhoods late at night, said Michael Marucci, the deputy public defender for the Essex region.

Bonita Spence was born on Aug. 5, 1961, in Atlantic City, and was raised by her aunt, Ms. Dobson. At 5 feet 4 inches, she played point guard for what was then Monmouth College and set the program record for assists in the 1982 season. “When you assist, you don’t have to be big and tall,” Ms. Dobson said.

Besides her aunt, Ms. Spence is survived by a daughter, Leslie Celeste Sekou; her father, Archie Spence Sr.; a stepsister, Cathy Rabb; and a grandmother, Anna Mae DeShields.

Asked how she was able to officiate at so many basketball games and also work for the public defender’s office, Mr. Marucci responded, “She did a lot of night flights.”


This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: September 22, 2013

An earlier version of this article misstated the age of Bonita Spence. She was 52, not 51.



Associated Press

Ken Norton connects with a left to the head of Muhammad Ali during a bout in Inglewood, Calif., in 1973.


Published: September 18, 2013

  • Ken Norton, who had three memorable fights with Muhammad Ali, breaking Ali’s jaw in winning their first bout, then losing twice, and who went on to become the World Boxing Council heavyweight champion, died Wednesday in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson, Nev. He was 70.

Steve Marcus/Reuters

Ken Norton in Las Vegas in 2012 for the 70th birthday celebration for Muhammad Ali.

Associated Press

Muhammad Ali, right, knocking Ken Norton back in their third and final meeting, in Yankee Stadium in 1976. Ali won by a decision.

His death was confirmed by his son Ken Jr., an assistant coach with the Seattle Seahawks of the N.F.L. and a pro linebacker for 13 seasons, The Associated Press said. Norton had been in poor health for several years after sustaining a series of strokes, The A.P. reported.

Norton defeated Ali on a 12-round split decision in 1973 to capture the North American Boxing Federation heavyweight title. Norton was an exceptionally muscular 6 feet 2 inches and 220 pounds, but he was a decided underdog in the first Ali fight.

“Ali thought it would be an easy fight,” Norton’s former manager, Gene Kilroy, was quoted by The A.P. as saying. “But Norton was unorthodox. Instead of jabbing from above like most fighters, he would put his hand down and jab up at Ali.”

Kilroy said that after the fight, Norton visited Ali at the hospital where he was getting his broken jaw wired, and Ali told him he never wanted to fight him again.

But the second bout in their trilogy came six months later, when Ali rallied to win a narrow split decision. In their final bout, Ali retained his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association titles when he defeated Norton on a decision that was unanimous but booed by many in the crowd of more than 30,000 at Yankee Stadium in September 1976.

“I was never the same fighter after that,” Norton told Red Smith of The New York Times in October 1979. “I never trained so hard again, never could put the same feeling into it. I was at my best that night, in the best shape I ever was.”

In 1977, Norton knocked out the previously unbeaten Duane Bobick in the first round and defeated Jimmy Young in a 15-round split decision in a W.B.C. title elimination series. He became the mandatory challenger for the winner of the coming fight between Ali and Leon Spinks. Spinks defeated Ali for the championship but shunned Norton for his first defense in favor of a rematch with Ali. The W.B.C. stripped Spinks of the title and awarded it to Norton.

Norton made his first defense of the W.B.C. title in 1978 against Larry Holmes and lost by a 15-round split decision in one of boxing’s most exciting fights.

Kenneth Howard Norton was born Aug. 9, 1943, in Jacksonville, Ill., and starred in high school football, basketball and track. He attended Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State University) on a football scholarship but was hampered by a shoulder injury in his first two seasons and enlisted in the Marine Corps. Norton started boxing while he was in the Marines, compiling an amateur record of 24-2 and winning the All-Marine Heavyweight Championship three times.

He turned pro in 1967 and won 16 straight bouts before being knocked out by Jose Luis Garcia. Soon afterward, he read Napoleon Hill’s motivational book “Think and Grow Rich.”

“I must have read that book 100 times while in training, and I became a stronger person for it,” the Web site quoted him as saying. He said he believed in the book’s philosophy that a person could do the unexpected if he put his mind to it.

“So I train for my fights mentally as well as physically,” he said. “One thing I do is only watch films of the fights in which I’ve done well or in which my opponent has done poorly.”

Norton fought the undefeated George Foreman for the W.B.C. and W.B.A. heavyweight championships in 1974 and was knocked out in the second round. He stopped Jerry Quarry in five rounds in 1975 to regain the N.A.B.F. crown. In his next fight, Norton avenged his 1970 loss to Garcia with a fifth-round knockout.

After retiring for a time, Norton returned in 1980 and defeated the previously unbeaten Tex Cobb on a decision. The next year, Gerry Cooney, ranked No. 1 by the W.B.A. and the W.B.C., knocked Norton out in the first round in what became his final fight. Norton won 42 fights (33 by knockout), lost seven times and fought one draw.

Norton acted in several movies, most notably “Mandingo” (1975), in which he played the slave Mede, who is trained to fight by his owner.

Ken Norton Jr. played linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys from 1988 to 1993 and for the San Francisco 49ers from 1994 to 2000. He was a three-time Pro Bowl player with the 49ers.

In addition to Ken Jr., Norton’s survivors include his wife, Rose Conant; two other sons, Keith and Kenny John; and a daughter, Kenisha.

Reprinted from Thursday’s late editions.





Published: September 21, 2013

  • When Dr. John H. Kennell was a hospital pediatrician in the 1950s, newborns were typically whisked away within minutes of delivery, washed, weighed, blood-tested and plunked into bassinets under the nursery’s fluorescent lights. Their mothers would not be permitted to hold them for 12 hours, sometimes longer.

Dittrick Medical History Center, Case Western Reserve University

Dr. John H. Kennell, seated, around 1960. “No one was paying attention to what the baby wanted,” he said of his research.

At University Hospital in Cleveland, where Dr. Kennell was the staff neonatologist, nurses bottle-fed infants every four hours. Mothers could visit, but not for very long.

Dr. Kennell, who died on Aug. 27 at 91, liked to say that it was the full-throated complaints about this state of affairs by his patients that led him to undertake a research project in the 1960s that helped change the world on which most newborns now open their eyes.

His findings, published in “Maternal-Infant Bonding,” a 1976 book written with Dr. Marshall H. Klaus, a fellow professor of pediatric medicine at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, were considered a prime catalyst for changes in hospital procedures that gave new mothers more private time with their infants, let fathers into the delivery room and allowed young children to visit new siblings in the hospital.

The book’s central claim was that infants and their mothers were hormonally primed in the first hours after birth to form crucial bonds, but that under hospital rules then commonly observed, that process was not allowed to happen.

“Babies were ready to eat right away after being born, but they didn’t get to their mothers for 12 hours,” Dr. Kennell said. “No one was paying attention to what the baby wanted.”

The doctors’ ideas were well received by developmental psychologists who ascribed to attachment theory, which links the relations newborns have with their first caregivers to their ability to have healthy relationships in adulthood. Relatively quickly, “bonding” became widely adopted as part of maternity ward routines.

But “Maternal-Infant Bonding” came under severe criticism. Fellow researchers said its conclusions were based on too small a case sample and put too much stock in the mother-child interactions in the first hours. Adoptive parents complained that the theory left them out of the picture. Some feminists saw it as just another way to place child-rearing responsibilities solely on women and to blame the mother if a child grew up troubled.

Dr. Kennell and Dr. Klaus acknowledged mistakes in their findings and published a revised version of their book in 1982, “Parent-Infant Bonding.” Though it stuck to the original premise, the new edition was less specific about a bonding timetable. The book has been updated several times since. In an introduction to the 1996 edition, the noted pediatrician-author Dr. T. Berry Brazelton defended the authors.

“Despite criticism by some that ‘proof’ of a sensitive period for bonding between parent and baby has not been shown, the authors have continued to fight for a more humane atmosphere in hospitals at the time of delivery,” Dr. Brazelton wrote, “including time for early attachment behavior between a new parent and baby. We now realize how important it is to create this atmosphere.”

The sea change in hospital childbirth practices drew on many social currents of the 1960s and ’70s, including the natural childbirth movement, the women’s movement and an anti-authoritarian climate, said J. Kevin Nugent, the director of the Brazelton Institute, a child and family research center founded by Dr. Brazelton at Boston Children’s Hospital.

“Maternal-Infant Bonding,” he said, struck a chord with a broad cross section of women, many of them nurses and hospital administrators who were also mothers and were receptive to the changes it proposed.

“Hospital procedures were geared to the efficient running of hospitals rather than to the needs of mothers and babies,” Dr. Nugent added. “John helped change that.”

John Hawks Kennell was born on Jan. 9, 1922, in Reading, Pa., to Doris Hawks and Carlyle Kennell and grew up in Buffalo. His mother was a high school English teacher, and his father an insurance salesman.

After medical school at the University of Rochester and two years in the Navy, Dr. Kennell did his residency at Harvard Medical School. He was the chief resident at Boston Children’s Hospital before he moved to Cleveland in 1952 to teach at Case Western Reserve and serve as the attending pediatrician in the neonatal unit of the university hospital.

Dr. Kennell, who died in Cleveland, is survived by his wife, Margaret Lloyd Kennell; a daughter, Susan; two sons, David and John, who confirmed his death; and five grandchildren.

Dr. Kennell went on to study the bonding process from another perspective, looking at parents of infants who die in delivery or soon after being born. He was one of the first neonatal experts to recommend that the grieving parents hold their newborns, and his insights about the emotional benefits such physical contact can provide parents have been incorporated in the standard procedures of most neonatal intensive care units.

Dr. Kennell also became an advocate of doulas, trained nonmedical professionals who help women during pregnancy, labor and postpartum. With Phyllis H. Klaus and Dr. Klaus, he wrote “The Doula Book: How a Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have a Shorter, Easier and Healthier Birth,” published in 2003 and now in its third printing.

The great question of his work, however, was the mystery of the chemistry between children and parents.

“What is the process by which a father and mother become attached to an infant?” he asked in “Bonding,” a 1996 book he also wrote with the Klauses. “We have developed ever-greater respect for the complexities of the process. It is our continuing quest.”




Albert Taylor teaching in the 1980s.


Published: September 18, 2013

  • Albert Taylor, a former United States Border Patrol agent who came to be regarded as a legend in the art of tracking in the wild — sensing in shifting sand or broken twigs the sparest of signals that someone had passed that way — died on Sept. 9 in Alpine, Calif. He was 88.

Mr. Taylor in the mid-1970s.

Mr. Taylor, in the ’80s, hugging a tree — the advice he gave to children should they become lost, the idea being that they should stay in place.

He had Alzheimer’s disease, his son Kenneth said in confirming the death.

Mr. Taylor, who was known as Ab, honed his skill at tracking people in the rugged backcountry of Southern California during nearly three decades with the Border Patrol. He played a key role in developing a national program to teach children what to do if they become lost.

“Thousands of tracking students owe their individual and corporate understanding, knowledge and tracking skill to this one dynamic man,” Joel Hardin, a leading professional tracker in Idaho, wrote in an online tribute.

Tracking people across wilderness, whether a fleeing fugitive or a lost child, is a “weird, mystical art” that blends intense attention and intuition, said Paul Saffo, a consultant and analyst in Silicon Valley who is involved in search and rescue efforts in the Bay Area. But Mr. Taylor, he said, became “an absolute legend” by pioneering a systematic approach to tracking that could be taught.

In 1990 Mr. Taylor published “Fundamentals of Mantracking,” which he wrote with Donald C. Cooper. The book described his methodical approach of using well-trained searchers.

“In searching,” the authors wrote, “more people is seldom better. Sheer numbers do not guarantee success. Neither do millions of dollars or sophisticated equipment.”

In fact, the book warns, “The large, untrained, disorganized groups, all too characteristic of searches done in this country, cost far more lives than they save.”

Perhaps his most important contribution to the field resulted from failure. In February 1981, a 9-year-old boy named Jimmy Beveridge was separated from his two brothers on a nature trail on Palomar Mountain, northeast of San Diego. Mr. Taylor was among some 400 searchers who combed the area for the boy for four days before finding the body. Jimmy had died of hypothermia.

Mr. Taylor said it was the first time in 31 years of tracking that he had not found a missing child. “It changed his life,” Kenneth Taylor said.

Mr. Taylor was part of a team that developed Hug-a-Tree and Survive, a program that teaches children how to stay safe if they become lost and increase their chances of being found.

Along with wilderness survival training, children are taught to “find a spot where you’re comfortable and stay put,” said Howard Paul, a board member of the National Association for Search and Rescue, which now manages the program.

“Let the searchers come to you,” he said.

The message is important, Mr. Paul said, because a lost child runs the risk of leaving an area that has not yet been searched and wandering into an area that had already been searched. The program’s first presentation, a slide show, featured one of Mr. Taylor’s grandchildren.

Jacquie Beveridge, Jimmy’s mother, said in an interview that Mr. Taylor had been instrumental in popularizing the program among search-and-rescue organizations around the country. “It was Ab’s name and reputation that helped catapult the program,” she said.

Albert Snow Taylor was born on Nov. 24, 1924, in San Angelo, Tex. According to family lore, he was too young to enlist in the military in World War II but was so eager to join the effort that he quit high school and traveled to Britain to work for Boeing, repairing B-17s that had returned from bombing runs. When he was eligible to enlist, he came back to the United States and served in the Navy aboard the aircraft carrier Hancock. He joined the Border Patrol in 1949.

In an interview, Mr. Hardin, who was trained by Mr. Taylor during their Border Patrol days, called him a “hell-on-wheels individual, if you will.” Mr. Taylor, he said, could get agents to work around the clock for days on end in an investigation.

“He could figure out how to get the job done when nobody else could,” Mr. Hardin said.

After retiring from government service in the late 1970s, Mr. Taylor was a technical adviser to “Borderline,” a 1980 film loosely based on his Border Patrol career, featuring Charles Bronson, Bruno Kirby and Ed Harris; Mr. Taylor had a small role as a border patrolman.

He was married three times. Besides his son Kenneth, he is survived by his wife, the former Lillian Beam; two other children from his first marriage, Stuart and Patti; three stepchildren, Rick, Kenny and Kevin Beam; two sisters, Barbara Tolch and Marjorie Grubb; 14 grandchildren; and 16 great-grandchildren.

By the 1990s, Mr. Taylor and Lillian Taylor were traveling six months a year in a motor home, leading tracking seminars and presenting Hug-a-Tree programs around the country.

Robert J. Koester, a researcher at Kingston University in London, who maintains a large database of search and rescue incidents, said, “Several areas around the country where Hug-a-Tree has been taught have reported a drop in the number of lost-children search incidents.”

Mr. Taylor “reawakened” search-and-rescue groups to practical tracking methods, Mr. Koester said, adding, “I’m sure his saves number in the thousands.”



1 Comment

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One response to “IN REMEMBRANCE: 9-22-2013

  1. Cathy Rabb

    Bonita Spence Had no spouse and no children she was a mentor to Leslie and had a motherly presence in that childs life but she had no children. Cathy Rabb (SISTER)

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