IN REMEMBRANCE: 8-9-2015

FRANCES OLDHAM KELSEY, FDA OFFICER WHO BLOCKED THALIDOMIDE

Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey, whose tireless efforts uncovered a link between the drug thalidomide and severe birth defects, has died at age 101.

In 1960, Kelsey was the new medical officer at the Food and Drug Administration when an application for FDA approval of the sedative Kevadon, the trade name of thalidomide, manufactured by drug company William S. Merrell Company of Cincinnati.

Thalidomide had already been sold to pregnant women in Europe and elsewhere as an anti-nausea drug to treat morning sickness, and Merrell wanted a license to do the same in the U.S.

As The New York Times reports, Kelsey asked for more information.

“Thus began a fateful test of wills. Merrell responded. Dr. Kelsey wanted more. Merrell complained to Dr. Kelsey’s bosses, calling her a petty bureaucrat. She persisted. On it went. But by late 1961, the terrible evidence was pouring in.” Thalidomide “was causing thousands of babies in Europe, Britain, Canada and the Middle East to be born with flipperlike arms and legs and other defects.”

As The Washington Post adds, “[the] tragedy was largely averted in the United States, with much credit due to Kelsey. … For a critical 19-month period, she fastidiously blocked its approval while drug company officials maligned her as a bureaucratic nitpicker.”

The Post, in a front-page article published in 1962 described Kelsey as a “heroine” whose “skepticism and stubbornness … prevented what could have been an appalling American tragedy.”

Kelsey, a physician and pharmacologist, died on Aug. 7. Her daughter confirmed her death to The Washington Post, but did not cite a cause.

Photo

Dr. Kelsey reshaped American drug safety rules. Dr. Frances O. Kelsey of the U.S. FDA, who is credited with keeping the birth-deforming drug, Thalidomide, off the U.S. market, is shown in an Aug. 1962 photo. Kelsey died on Friday at age 101.  Credit Associated Press

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FRANK GIFFORD, PRO-FOOTBAL HALL OF FAMER

FRANK GIFFORD

Frank Gifford, right, in 1980 with his fellow “Monday Night Football” commentators Don Meredith and Howard Cosell. Steve Fenn/ABC Sports, via Associated PressFrank

NEW YORK — Pro Football Hall of Famer Frank Gifford has died. He was 84.

In a statement released by NBC News on Sunday, his family said Gifford died suddenly at his Connecticut home of natural causes that morning. His wife, Kathie Lee Gifford, is a host for NBC’s “Today.”

A versatile star on both offense and defense in an era when NFL players were starting to specialize, Gifford went on to a successful second career as a broadcaster on “Monday Night Football.”

Gifford was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1956 when he led the New York Giants to a league championship.

“We rejoice in the extraordinary life he was privileged to live, and we feel grateful and blessed to have been loved by such an amazing human being,” his family said in the statement. “We ask that our privacy be respected at this difficult time and we thank you for your prayers.”

Gifford was the centerpiece of a Giants offense that went to five NFL title games in the 1950s and ’60s. Beginning in 1971 he worked for ABC’s “Monday Night Football,” at first as a play-by-play announcer and then as an analyst.

Later in life he stayed in the spotlight through his marriage to Kathie Lee Gifford, who famously called him a “human love machine” and “lamb-chop” to her millions of viewers.

Gifford hosted “Wide World of Sports,” covered several Olympics – his call of Franz Klammer’s gold medal run in 1976 is considered a broadcasting masterpiece – and announced 588 consecutive NFL games for ABC, not even taking time off after the death of his mother shortly before a broadcast in 1986.

While he worked with others, including Dan Dierdorf, Al Michaels, Joe Namath and O.J. Simpson, Gifford was most known for the eight years he served as a calm buffer between the folksy Don Meredith and acerbic Howard Cosell.

In its early years the show was a cultural touchstone, with cities throwing parades for the visiting announcers and celebrities such as John Lennon and Ronald Reagan making appearances.

“I hate to use the words ‘American institution,’ but there’s no other way to put it, really,” Gifford told The Associated Press in 1993. “There’s nothing else like it.”

A handsome straight-shooter who came off as earnest and sincere, Gifford was popular with viewers, even if some accused him of being a shill for the NFL.

He experienced the highs and lows as an NFL player. Gifford fumbled twice early in the 1958 NFL championship game, both of which led to Baltimore Colts touchdowns, and later came up short on a critical third down. The Colts eventually won 23-17 in the league’s first overtime game. The thrilling finish helped popularize the NFL and was dubbed “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” although not by Gifford.

“Not my greatest game,” Gifford told the AP in 2008. “I fumbled going out (of the end zone) and I fumbled going in.”

Gifford and his teammates felt he was robbed by an incorrectly spotted ball with less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter, though video technology employed for a 50th anniversary documentary indicated the call was correct. In any event, the Giants were forced to punt in the ’58 game, leading to a famous drive led by Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas to send it into overtime.

Gifford had his best year in 1956, rushing for 819 yards, picking up 603 yards receiving and scoring nine touchdowns in 12 games. The Giants routed the Chicago Bears 47-7 at Yankee Stadium, where Gifford shared a locker with Mickey Mantle.

A crushing hit by 233-pound Eagles linebacker Chuck Bednarik in November 1960 flattened Gifford and likely shortened his football career. Bednarik was pictured standing over the unconscious Gifford, pumping his fist in a celebration thought by many to be over the top. Gifford was in the hospital for 10 days and sidelined until 1962.

Born Aug. 16, 1930, in Santa Monica, Calif., Frank Newton Gifford was the son of an itinerant oil worker. Growing up in Depression-era California, Gifford estimated he moved 47 times before entering high school, occasionally sleeping in parks or the family car and eating dog food.

The Giants used Gifford at running back, defensive back, wide receiver and on special teams. He went to the Pro Bowl at three different positions. His 5,434 yards receiving were a Giants record for 39 years, until Amani Toomer surpassed him in 2003. His jersey number, 16, was retired by the team in 2000.

When he wasn’t on the field, Gifford tried to put his movie-star good looks to use in Hollywood, appearing in about a dozen films, most notably the 1959 submarine movie “Up Periscope.”

Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press.

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JERRY BERRIGAN, CATHOLIC PEACE ACTIVIST

By Daniel E. Slotnik New York Times   August 08, 2015

NEW YORK — Jerry Berrigan, a Catholic peace activist who, like his better-known brothers Philip and Daniel, was arrested frequently for protesting the Vietnam War and other conflicts, died July 26 at his home in Syracuse, N.Y. He was 95.

His death was confirmed by his daughter Carla Berrigan Pittarelli.

jerry berrigan

Jerry Berrigan, left, and his brother the Rev. Daniel Berrigan, right, with Sister Elizabeth McAlister in 1972 in Harrisburg, Pa. Credit United Press International

Jerry Berrigan was a quieter counterpart to his brothers, the former Josephite priest Philip and the Jesuit priest and author Daniel. The two of them became international antiwar figures after they participated in the burning of Selective Service draft records in Catonsville, Md., on May 17, 1968. The trial of the Catonsville Nine, as they were known, helped galvanize protesters across the country.

Though he was not among the Catonsville Nine, Jerry Berrigan joined his brothers in protests against nuclear proliferation, both wars in Iraq, and other causes. He, Daniel, and 58 others were arrested in 1973 for disrupting a White House tour by kneeling in prayer on the last day of US bombing in Cambodia, and he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for pouring blood on the floor of the Pentagon in 1979.

He was arrested so many times he lost count. His most recent arrest occurred on Good Friday in 2011 at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base near Syracuse for protesting drone strikes.

Jerome Charles Berrigan was born in Ely, Minn. He was one of six sons of Thomas, a railroad engineer and union organizer, and Frida Berrigan.

He went to a Catholic high school in Syracuse and enlisted in the Army after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

After his service in the military, he spent years studying for the priesthood in the Josephite order at St. Joseph’s Seminary, but decided to leave. “I wasn’t holy enough,” he told The Post-Standard in an article published last month.

After earning a degree in philosophy and theology from the seminary, he began graduate studies in English at Le Moyne and Canisius colleges.

He married the former Carol Rizzo in 1955 and pursued a doctorate at Syracuse University. In addition to his wife, daughter, and brother Daniel, Mr. Berrigan leaves two sons, Philip and Jerome Jr.; another daughter, Maria; and five grandchildren.

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