Dr. Yvette Fay Francis-McBarnette, a longtime Oak Bluffs summer resident known for her groundbreaking work in treating sickle cell anemia, died peacefully in Alexandria, Va. on the afternoon of March 28, surrounded by her loved ones. She was just weeks from her 90th birthday.

Born in Jamaica in 1926 to Clarence and Sarah Francis, Dr. Francis immigrated to the United States as a young child with her parents and became an American citizen. She grew up in Harlem, New York city, where she attended St. Philip’s Episcopal Church. There she married Olvin McBarnette, her husband of 60 years, and together they raised their six children in Queens.

In the early 1970s, she purchased her summer home in Oak Bluffs, where she vacationed with her family every summer. Her children and grandchildren continue to vacation annually in Oak Bluffs.

Dr. Francis excelled in her educational pursuits. She attended Hunter College in New York city, graduating magna cum laude at just 17 years old. She then earned a master’s degree in chemistry, graduating with honors from Columbia University. Next she entered the Yale School of Medicine as the second African American woman ever accepted into the program. She earned her doctorate in 1950.

Dr. Francis was a pediatrician with a clinical specialty in hematology. Her focus was sickle cell anemia, an inherited blood disorder affecting primarily people of African and Mediterranean descent. In 1966, she launched the Foundation for Research and Education in Sickle Cell Disease to promote testing, research, public education and patient services. Dr. Francis’s work came to influence national policy when she was invited by the Nixon administration to be a member of an advisory committee on sickle cell anemia. Soon after, the National Sickle Cell Anemia Control Act of May 1972 was signed.

Dr. Francis owned and operated the St. Albans Family Medical Center in Queens and she was the director of the Sickle Cell Clinic in Jamaica Hospital, also in Queens. She received numerous awards and accolades for her service to her patients and the community.

Known as Fay to her friends and family, she enjoyed singing, playing the piano, and competing in bridge tournaments at her summer getaway on Martha’s Vineyard. She was a lifelong learner who in her mid-70s took philosophy classes in the graduate program at Hunter College. In 2003, she and her husband moved from New York to Virginia to be near their grandchildren. She was deeply religious. and enjoyed Bible study and singing in the choir at the Episcopal chapel of Goodwin House, the retirement community where she lived with her husband.

Dr. Francis leaves behind to cherish her memory her loving husband Olvin McBarnette; her children Bruce, Camilla, Yvette, Elayne Sara, Ellen and Andrea; her grandchildren Nettie McMiller, and Baily and Taylor Moore; her brother Mac Francis; and numerous nephews, nieces, extended family and friends.

Her memorial service will be held on April 30 in Alexandria, Va.




The second black woman to enter the School of Medicine became a pioneer in sickle cell disease.

A medical student in a time charged with racial tension in America, Yvette Fay Francis-McBarnette, M.D. ’50, echoes black Yalies before her who consistently reported getting along well with their white classmates. “We were a close-knit, supportive group,” she said.

Perhaps this atmosphere motivated a 22-year-old Fay Francis, as she was known, to write a letter to the Pittsburgh Courierduring her second year of medical school. “I have been urging all the prospective [black] medical students I know to apply,” she wrote, “but most [feel] it would be a waste of time. This is not true.” Francis-McBarnette concluded that as long as blacks were not represented in top schools, “the number of Negro doctors and nurses [would continue] decreasing.”

Yvette Fay Francis-McBarnette broke race and gender barriers at the medical school and in her career as a pediatrician. In the 1960s she launched the Foundation for Research and Education in Sickle Cell Disease.

The daughter of college-educated schoolteachers who emigrated from Jamaica, Francis-McBarnette always knew that she would go to college. After skipping several grades in school, she enrolled at Hunter College when she was just 14 and earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in three and a half years. At 18, Francis-McBarnette was too young for medical school and unable to get a job in a lab in New York City. Those jobs were reserved for white applicants, she was told. So she got a master’s in chemistry at Columbia instead. In 1946, at the age of 19, she was the second black woman to enroll at the Yale School of Medicine.

Despite her letter to the Pittsburgh Courier, Francis-McBarnette had no involvement in the civil rights movement. But in the medical profession, she broke barriers for women and blacks. While running a private pediatric practice, directing a clinic at Jamaica Hospital in Queens, and completing a second residency in internal medicine, Francis-McBarnette raised six children with her husband of 54 years, Olvin McBarnette, now a retired district superintendent for the New York City Board of Education. Among her children are three attorneys and a schoolteacher.

In medicine, Francis-McBarnette broke barriers for sufferers of sickle cell disease. She began using prophylactic antibiotics 15 years before their effectiveness was confirmed by an article inThe New England Journal of Medicine.

Francis-McBarnette first heard of sickle cell disease and its mostly black victims in the 1950s during her pediatrics residency at Chicago’s Michael Reese Hospital. The hospital, which closed its doors in 2009, served the city’s black population, which was increasing due to the migration of African Americans from the South to the North. “I went home and tested all my relatives [for sickle cell],” she said.

In 1966, in private practice and an attending pediatrician at Jamaica Hospital, she launched the Foundation for Research and Education in Sickle Cell Disease with colleagues who included Doris Wethers, M.D. ’52. The foundation was instrumental in opening the first comprehensive sickle cell clinic of which Francis-McBarnette became director.

The pediatrician was soon invited to Washington to sit on an advisory committee before then-President Richard M. Nixon signed the National Sickle Cell Anemia Control Act in May 1972.

Since 1970 she had been successfully treating sickle cell children with prophylactic antibiotics. “I stayed on antibiotics for 35 years,” said Cassandra Dobson, D.N.Sc., a lifelong patient of Francis-McBarnette, who started on the regimen in 1971. “If I hadn’t, I would’ve died.”

And by 1970, five years before New York State mandated the screening of infants for sickle cell disease, Francis-McBarnette’s organization had already screened some 20,000 schoolchildren. That year in the May issue of the Journal of the National Medical Association, the doctor called for treatment that would allow those with sickle cell disease “to pursue their education, earn a living, and rear their families.” These endeavors were unheard-of for sickle cell patients, who barely lived to adolescence when Francis-McBarnette started practicing.

“I was told I was going to die at 5, at 10, at every milestone of my life,” Dobson said.

On the pediatrician’s then-controversial advice that her patients do anything they wanted to do, including bear children, Dobson had children, became a registered nurse, and earned her doctorate in nursing. Francis-McBarnette recently attended Dobson’s 50th birthday party, where Dobson said in a speech that she wouldn’t be celebrating this milestone if it weren’t for “Dr. Francis.”

When Francis-McBarnette’s first patients lived beyond age 18, Francis-McBarnette referred them to adult doctors, but they refused to go. “They don’t know anything about me. I’m staying right here with you,” her patients told her. So in 1978, at age 52, Francis-McBarnette completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in hematology at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center so that she could continue to care for her former pediatric patients.

Like Dobson, Maureen Michel has also been a lifelong patient of Francis-McBarnette. When she was visiting New York from Haiti in 1975, Michel, then 9 years old, was hospitalized. Now 44, Michel saw Francis-McBarnette until the doctor retired in 2000. Today, in the course of searching for a new doctor, Michel still meets many who do not know what sickle cell disease is. “My whole life, every time I go to the emergency room, I call Dr. Francis. ‘Do you think this medication is good for me?’ When she retired, I didn’t know if I would ever find any doctor like her, and to tell you the truth, I never have.”




A box of Lucky Charms cereal.

General Mills

For nearly 30 years, Arthur Anderson was the voice of Lucky the Leprechaun for the General Mills breakfast cereal Lucky Charms.

There’s a good chance you’ve seen the commercial, heard Anderson’s voice and can recite lines from memory.

In your best Irish brogue, give it a go:

“Pink hearts, yellow moons, orange stars and green clovers.”

Or, “They’re always after me Lucky Charms!”

And then there’s, “Frosted Lucky Charms — they’re magically delicious.”

Anderson died on Saturday in Manhattan. A friend, Craig Wichman, confirmed Anderson’s death to The New York Times.

Anderson made a living voicing an animated leprechaun, but he wasn’t Irish.

He was born on Staten Island, N.Y., in 1922 to parents from Denmark and England.

In 2005, he told ABC: “People have expectations. I just have an Irish-sounding name.”

In that interview he added: “It was a fun character to play. Hardly a day goes by when somebody doesn’t ask me to sing the Lucky Charms jingle, and I’m proud of that.”

Anderson began his professional career in 1935 when he was 12 years old, appearing in a radio show called Tony and Gus.

Besides doing radio and appearing on Broadway, he was in television shows including episodes of Car 54, Where Are You? and Law & Order.

He also did films including 1969’s Midnight Cowboy and Zelig in 1983.

But it may have been the work in Lucky Charms commercials where Anderson found his pot of gold.

“I never got free cereal,” he told ABC, “but they gave me lots of green money.”




  • 15 April 2016
Malian photographer Malick SidibeMalick Sidibe started taking private pictures for clients in 1957. Copyright Right Reserved.

Tributes are being paid to the award-winning Malian photographer, Malick Sidibe, who has died at the age of 80.

Sidibe, who died on Thursday, is known for his black and white studio portraits that captured the lives of young Malians in the 1960s and 1970s.

Critics say his photos of Mali’s post-colonial period helped people see the West African nation in a new light.

In 2007, he became the first African winner of the Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the Venice Biennale.

People on Twitter describe him as a talent whose images of popular and youth culture still resonate among young photographers across Africa.

Sidibe’s work captures the lives of young men and women, often showing off a prized possession like a watch or a motorbike.

Friends of the Spanish, 1968Copyright Malick Sidibe – Courtesy Magnin-A
Friends of the Spanish – 1968
A family on a motorbike in a photo studio in MaliCopyright Malick Sidibe – Courtesy Magnin-A
All the Family on a Motorbike – 1962

He also captures street scenes and young men seducing girls at parties with a sense of newfound freedom and identity.

Christmas Eve at Happy Club, 1963Copyright Malick Sidibe – Courtesy Magnin-A
Christmas Eve at Happy Club – 1963
People dancing in Mali 1962Copyright Malick Sidibe – Courtesy Magnin-A
Look At Me! – 1972

Sidibe has work in several private and public museums around the world.

Friends battle with stone in 1976Copyright Malick Sidibe – Courtesy Magnin-A
Friends Battle with Stones – 1976

He became famous around the world after holding his first exhibition in France in 1996

Picnic by the River Bank 1972Copyright Malick Sidibe – Courtesy Magnin-A
Picnic by the River Bank – 1972

Andres Magnin, Malick Sidibe’s close friend and owner of the Parisian gallery which represented him, called the photographer an author “of thousands of images of tenderness and beauty”.

“A photographer of the young generation of an independent Mali, untroubled, free, modern, full of joy and hope… He was generous, welcoming, loved by all the young people in Bamako.”

Three Malian men stand holding a boombox looking very seriousCopyright Malick Sidibe – Courtesy Magnin-A
Young Peul Herdsmen – 1972
Man wearing flares and sunglasses stands with his hands on his hipsCopyright Malick Sidibe




From left, Carlo Mastrangelo, Dion DiMucci and Fred Milano of Dion and the Belmonts. Credit Laurie Records

Carlo Mastrangelo, an original member of Dion and the Belmonts, whose baritone vocals undergirded the group’s harmonies on a string of doo-wop hits like “No One Knows” and “A Teenager in Love,” died on Monday in Boynton Beach, Fla. He was 78.

The cause was cancer, Warren Gradus, a current member of the Belmonts, said.

Mr. Mastrangelo grew up in a mostly Italian neighborhood around Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. He played drums, wrote songs and sang, often on streetcorners or in subway stations, with his Roosevelt High School classmates Angelo D’Aleo and Fred Milano.

They formed the Belmonts in the mid-1950s, taking the band name from the avenue where Mr. Milano lived. (The neighborhood is also called Belmont.) Dion DiMucci, another boy from the neighborhood, joined the group as lead tenor in 1957.

In 1958 they released their first hit, “I Wonder Why,” an upbeat earworm that began with a memorable wordless vocal by Mr. Mastrangelo.

“You hear this kind of nasally bass coming out of Carlo Mastrangelo,” Mark Rotella, author of “Amore: The Story of Italian American Song” (2010), said in an interview with NPR in 2010. “And it sounds like the revving of a car engine.”

“I Wonder Why” climbed to No. 22 on the Billboard singles chart. The group reached No. 5 with “A Teenager in Love” in 1959 and No. 3 with “Where or When” in 1960.

“He actually arranged some of the vocals, and Dion learned a lot of his scatting from Carlo,” Mr. Gradus, who joined the Belmonts in 1963, said, “so Dion took a lesson from him.”

Mr. DiMucci left the group in 1960 for a solo career; as Dion, he had a string of hits including “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer.” The Belmonts continued to chart with hits like “Tell Me Why” and “Come On Little Angel,” but Mr. Mastrangelo left in 1962 to pursue a solo career of his own.

In early 1959 the Belmonts toured with Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. Mr. Holly’s drummer got frostbite during the tour, so Mr. Mastrangelo filled in. Mr. Holly, Mr. Valens and the Big Bopper, whose real name was J. P. Richardson, died in a plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959.

In 1971 Mr. Mastrangelo released an album with the progressive rock band Pulse. He continued to play in a variety of ensembles and occasionally performed with the Belmonts, sometimes along with Dion.

Mr. Milano died in 2012. Mr. D’Aleo still performs with the group.

Carlo Mastrangelo was born in the Bronx on Oct. 5, 1937. He lived in Boynton Beach with his wife, Lucille, who survives him. He is also survived by three sisters, Margie DiDio, Martha Onofrietto and Anna Gaudio; a daughter, LuAnn Mastrangelo; two grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

Correction: April 7, 2016
An earlier version of this obituary misidentified the city in Florida where Mr. Mastrangelo died. It is Boynton Beach, not Tampa Bay (which is an area and not a city).

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: