Sammy Cahn, 79, a witty, wisecracking lyricist whose songs, including "Three Coins in the Fountain" and "Call Me Irresponsible," won an Emmy, four Oscars and a firm foothold in the nation's musical memory, died Jan. 15 in Los Angeles.
A New York high school dropout of great verbal dexterity, Mr. Cahn wrote hundreds of popular songs that were featured on radio and television, on Broadway and in Hollywood movies. He was known in particular for the work he did for Frank Sinatra, and he starred in a one-man show on Broadway that provided a framework for his lyrics and his memories.
Mr. Cahn died of congestive heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was admitted Dec. 30.
In addition to "Three Coins," from the 1954 film of the same name, Oscar-winning songs included "All the Way" from "The Joker is Wild" (1957), "High Hopes" from "A Hole in the Head" (1959) and "Call Me Irresponsible" from "Papa's Delicate Condition" (1963).
"Love and Marriage," which was written for a television musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town," won a special Emmy. James Van Heusen, who wrote the music, was one of several composers with whom Mr. Cahn teamed. Others included Saul Chaplin, Nicholas Brodszky and Jule Styne.
Fast and prolific, Mr. Cahn wrote "Be My Love" with Brodszky and "Saturday Night Is the Loneliest Night in the Week" and "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" with Styne. "Teach Me Tonight" was written with Gene De Paul.
Mr. Cahn had a snappy answer to the riddle of which comes first, words or music. "The telephone call," he said. "I don't need to be inspired. . . . I just have to be hired."
It was said that Styne and Mr. Cahn came up with words and music for "Three Coins" in an hour. Sinatra, who was heard on the soundtrack of the film, made it a hit record. "High Hopes" also was written for Sinatra and was revised for use as a theme song for John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign.
For Sinatra, Mr. Cahn also wrote the title songs of such best-selling albums as "Come Fly With Me" (1958), "Only the Lonely" (1958), "Ring-a-Ding Ding" (1961) and "September of My Years" (1965).
Although Mr. Cahn said he enjoyed "merely sitting and typing," he was an irrepressible performer, which helped give him a start, proved invaluable in pitching his songs and won him applause on Broadway and on tour with his one-man show, "Words & Music."
Born June 18, 1913, he acquired skill with the violin as a child, and as he told it, he looked at the instrument with new interest when, at a bar mitzvah, he saw musicians being paid "for having so much fun."
Later, he recalled, he was playing in an orchestra at a wedding when the scheduled singer could not go on. Friends pointed out Mr. Cahn, citing his penchant for concocting impromptu verse.
"But not that anybody can listen to!" Mr. Cahn protested. His objections were overcome, he said, and "I got up and started this extemporaneous lyric writing, which I am doing to this day" and which was a main attraction of his one-man show.
After several years of doing odd jobs while providing material for vaudeville acts, he and Chaplin in 1935 wrote a hit for Jimmy Lunceford's orchestra, "Rhythm Is Our Business," and more work as a lyricist followed.
In 1938, the Andrews Sisters became stars with their rendition of Mr. Cahn's new English lyrics to a Yiddish song, "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen."
In 1940, Mr. Cahn went to Hollywood. Rejected for military service because of ulcers, he began in the 1940s to write a string of hit movie songs with Styne, including "I'll Walk Alone" from "Follow the Boys" and "Five Minutes More," which Sinatra sang and which reached No. 1 on the Hit Parade in 1946.
Although Mr. Cahn's own crooning inspired jibes and jokes, Sinatra "never turned down a song I sang to him," the lyricist said. "I am unerring when I sing a lyric. To say the words where they roll with the notes, to give the words and notes their proper inflection is very, very special."
Survivors include his wife, Tita; a son, Stephen; and a daughter, Laurie.
PAMELA MARIE ONDER
Cancer Group Founder
Pamela Marie Onder, 42, a former corporate communications director who was a co-founder of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, died of breast cancer Jan. 11 at the National Institutes of Health. She lived in Bethesda.
Mrs. Onder was one of six women who founded the coalition in 1991 to focus attention on breast cancer as a national epidemic and to press for increased research funding. She represented the organization in appearances on CNN, the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour and other programs and before congressional committees.
A native of San Diego, Mrs. Onder moved to the Washington area in 1964. She received a bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in communications from American University.
She taught communications at the University of Maryland from 1974 to 1976 and was director of communications for Aspen Systems Corp. in Rockville from 1986 to 1989.
Mrs. Onder volunteered as national campaign spokesperson for the United Way of America and as a communications trainer for medical personnel at NIH. She was also president of the Greater Washington National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship.
Her marriage to James Onder ended in divorce.
Survivors include three children, Nicholas Onder, Adrienne Onder and Julia Onder, all of Bethesda; her mother, Florence Patton of Placentia, Calif.; and two brothers, Michael Patton of Newport Beach, Calif., and Bruce Patton of San Francisco.
FLORENCE A. KINCANNON
Florence A. Kincannon, 87, a retired senior tutor at the Kingsbury Center for Remedial Education who was active in church and service organizations, died of a stroke Jan. 13 at Suburban Hospital.
Mrs. Kincannon, a resident of Bethesda, was born in Egg Harbor, N.J. She graduated from Goucher College. She moved to the Washington area in 1945.
From 1949 until she retired in 1975, Mrs. Kincannon was a senior tutor at the Kingsbury Center, and from 1957 to 1960, she also served on its board of trustees.
Mrs. Kincannon was a member of Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church, the board of directors of the Presbyterian Home of the District of Columbia, Chevy Chase Woman's Club, Planned Parenthood, the National Press Club, the Goucher Alumnae Association and the Jefferson Islands Club.
Her husband, William Oliver Kincannon, died in 1969.
Survivors include three children, Ellen Kendrick of New York, William Oliver Kincannon Jr. of Hockessin, Del., and James C. Kincannon of Chaska, Minn.; a brother, James N. Ake of Darnestown; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
ROBERT F. CAHILL
Robert F. Cahill, 59, a retired independent insurance consultant who was a soccer coach at the Annandale Boys Club, died of cancer Jan. 13 at Fairfax Hospital.
A resident of Alexandria, Mr. Cahill was born in Brockton, Mass. He graduated from Brown University and served in the Air Force in the early 1950s.
In 1958, Mr. Cahill joined the Aetna Life & Casualty Co. in Boston. In 1959, he was transferred to the Washington area, where he worked in sales and service in the group health division. In 1974, he joined the Huntington T. Block Insurance Co. in Washington. In 1979, he became an independent consultant, and he retired a year ago for health reasons.
Mr. Cahill was a member of the parish of Queen of Apostles Catholic Church in Alexandria.
Survivors include his wife of 34 years, Mary Lou Cahill of Alexandria; four children, Robert F. Cahill Jr. of Annandale, James H. Cahill of Arlington, Ellen Cahill Baldwin of Fredericksburg, Va., and Patricia A. Cahill of Alexandria; three sisters, Patricia Barnett of Merion, Pa., Elizabeth Cahill of Waltham, Mass., and Carol Cahill of Brockton; a brother, John D. Cahill of Denver; and a grandchild.
THOMAS P. "PAT" MALONEY
Thomas P. "Pat" Maloney, 61, retired manager of the arts programs, production services and Neighborhood Arts Academy for the D.C. Department of Recreation, died Jan. 14 at Arlington Hospital of complications after a stroke.
Mr. Maloney, who lived in Arlington, was born in Kansas City, Mo. He grew up in Washington and graduated from Sidwell Friends School and Georgetown University. He served in the Army Counterintelligence Corps from 1954 to 1957 and was assigned to Stuttgart, Germany.
After his Army service, he worked briefly as assistant comptroller of the American Chemical Society in Washington and as director of public relations for Our Lady of Cincinnati College in Cincinnati.
Mr. Maloney retired from the D.C. Department of Recreation in 1989 after 23 years' service. His work there included the design and management of theatrical productions, musicals, dramas and art exhibits. In 1987, he received a master's degree in arts management from American University.
In retirement, he had been manager of the McLean Symphony Orchestra and later a teller at the Westover branch of First American Bank in Arlington.
He was a member of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Arlington.
Survivors include a brother, Walter H. Maloney of Beltsville.
BENJAMIN WILLIAM WOODWARD
Gravel Company Founder
Benjamin William Woodward, 84, the founder and former president of Arundel Supply Co., a sand-and-gravel firm in District Heights, died of congestive heart failure Jan. 13 at Manor Care Nursing and Rehabilitation Home in Pinehurst, N.C.
Mr. Woodward was born in Niagara, N.D. He moved to the Washington area from Baltimore in 1945 and founded Arundel Supply in 1946. He continued to operate the business until retiring in 1987. He also was president of two related companies, Walker Mill Trucking and Arundel Asphalt Inc.
He was a charter member and former president of the Lions Club of District Heights, a former president of the Prince George's County Board of Trade, a former president of the Prince George's Chamber of Commerce and a former chairman of the Prince George's Airport Committee and the Prince George's Economic Development Committee. He also was a Mason and a member of the Prince George's Country Club.
A former resident of Mitchellville, Mr. Woodward moved to Vass, N.C., after retiring.
Survivors include his wife of 63 years, Hazel L. Furness Woodward of Vass; two children, Ronald Woodward of Mitchellville and Beverly Wright of Brielle, N.J.; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
SHEILA DENISE JOHNSON
Sheila Denise Johnson, 35, a secretary with the American Bar Association in Washington, died Jan. 13 at the New Medico Rehabilitation Center in Cortland, N.Y. of complications related to hypertension. She had been hospitalized since last summer, initially at Washington Hospital Center and later at the New Medico facility.
Miss Johnson was a lifelong resident of Washington. She graduated from Cardozo High School and the Washington School for Secretaries.
She had worked for the American Bar Association for about the last two years. Earlier she had been a secretary for construction companies.
Survivors include her daughter, Keisha Gray Johnson of Busby, Md., and a brother, Michael Johnson of Mitchellville.
HARRY R. BATES JR.
Stone Firm Executive
Harry R. Bates Jr., 64, vice president of sales at Chantilly Crushed Stone Inc., died of pancreatic cancer Jan. 6 at Fairfax Hospital. A native of Washington, he lived in Vienna.
Mr. Bates worked for the stone company for 33 years and had been vice president since the 1980s. Earlier, he was in procurement for the W.C. & A.N. Miller Co.
He was a graduate of Wilson High School and the University of Maryland. He served in the Air Force during the Korean War.
Mr. Bates was a Mason and a Shriner and a member of the Scottish Rite of Washington, Sigma Phi Epsilon social fraternity, the Heavy Construction Contractors Association and the National Crushed Stone Association. He also was president, manager and coach in the Vienna Pigtail-Ponytail Girls Softball League.
His marriage to Phyllis Bates ended in divorce.
Survivors include his wife, Ann C. Bates of Vienna, and a daughter, Bunni Bates Sadler of Melbourne, Fla.