Sunday, December 31, 2000

Notable passings

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

An odd year
Local events
        Among the Greater Cincinnatians who died in 2000:

        Patricia Berlin, Sept. 22 at age 67

        A professor of voice, she was an admired department chair at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music for 17 years. Many of her students have performed in the major opera houses of the U.S. and Europe.

        Theodore Berry, Oct. 15 at age 94

       One of the most influential Greater Cincinnatians of the 20th century. He was the city's first African-American mayor and a pioneer in civil rights.

        Donald Cox, Aug. 27 at age 64

       A well-respected cancer researcher at Miami University in Oxford, Mr. Cox died of the disease he spent much of his professional life trying to help cure.

        Officer Kevin Crayon, Sept. 1 at age 40

        A four-year Cincinnati police veteran who wore Badge No. P347 with pride. He was killed in the line of duty on Colerain Avenue in Mount Airy, attempting to stop a 12-year-old boy from driving.

        Dixie Harmon, April 5 at age 63

       A longtime champion for people with disabilities, Ms. Harmon had broken her neck in a swimming accident at age 12.

        John Holcomb, July 20 at age 63

        Ohio's longest-serving prosecutor, he was respected for his tough and uncompromising stance against criminals. He also was embroiled in a tough re-election campaign.

        Howard Kabler, Nov. 21 at age 77

        The driving force behind the establishment of the home for military veterans in southern Ohio, Mr. Kabler of Ripley was inducted earlier this year into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame.

        Rev. Germain Krizmanich, Sept. 8 at age 76

       A heroic World War II tail-gunner with the 530th Army Bomber Squadron, the Father Krizmanich became the longtime pastor of St. Francis Seraph Church in Over-the-Rhine, where he ministered to the poor with distinction for decades.

        Tom Meyer, March 26 at age 54

       An enthusiastic educator never at a loss to quote the great writers, particularly William Shakespeare, Mr. Meyer held a special place on the St. Xavier High School campus in Finneytown for three decades.

        Ella Miller, Nov. 21 at age 118 or 119

       Born in rural Tennessee to former slaves, she came to Cincinnati as a teen and stayed nearly a century. She helped shape Mount Zion Baptist Church in Woodlawn.

        Neil Ransick, Sept. 28 at age 95

       A four-time winner of the Cincinnati Met golf championship, the longtime Mount Lookout and Hyde Park resident won his first Met title in 1928 — at the age of 23 — and at 85 was still shooting golf scores lower than his age.

        Estella Rowe, May 31 at age 85

       The first local African-American soprano to appear in a subscription concert with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, she sang the role of Bess in Gershwin's Porgy and Bess conducted by Thor Johnson in 1952.

        Rufus Biggs Smith, April 5 at age 75

       Look in your cupboard. See any bendable straws? Thank Mr. Smith. He invented them.

        Jack Torbeck, Dec. 7 at age 72

       A well-known commercial and residential developer in Cincinnati, Mr. Torbeck helped build more than 4,000 homes during his long career on the west side.

        Connie Soriano, Dec. 11 at age 66

        A music director and teacher, he was “Coach” to his musicians and singers at Xavier University for 24 years. He also was organist and choir director at the Church of the Annunciation in Clifton for 35 years.


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