John Procope, 82, a former president and publisher of the New York Amsterdam News, a Harlem-based newspaper, died of complications from pneumonia July 15 in New York, according to a statement released by the insurance brokerage firm E.G. Bowman.
Mr. Procope had served as chairman of E.G. Bowman's board since 1982. A native New Yorker, he was a former president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association. He also was a president of the Harlem Business Alliance and served as a trustee of Howard University for 15 years.
The Amsterdam News was founded by James Henry Anderson in 1909. W.E.B. Du Bois, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. and Malcolm X are among the famous black Americans who have written for the newspaper.
Mary Washington Wylie
First Black Female CPA
Mary Washington Wylie, 99, the nation's first black female certified public accountant, died July 2 in Burbank, Ill. No cause of death was reported.
Born in Vicksburg, Miss., Ms. Washington Wylie moved to Chicago as a child and graduated in 1941 with a business degree from Northwestern University. A study by the National Association of Black Accountants found that she became the first black female CPA in 1943, said Theresa Hammond, chairman of the accounting department at Boston College's Carroll School of Management.
Ms. Washington Wylie recruited other black businesses as clients when she opened her own accounting firm. Her first partner, Hiram Pittman, once described it as an "Underground Railroad" for aspiring black CPAs who came from across the country to work there. In 1968, with Pittman and Lester McKeever, she founded Washington, Pittman and McKeever LLC, one of the nation's largest black CPA firms. She retired from the firm in 1985 at age 79.
Dame Cicely Saunders
Dame Cicely Saunders, 87, who launched the modern system of hospice care, died of cancer July 14 in the London hospice she founded in 1967.
"Countless patients and families in this country and all over the world have benefited from Dame Cicely's vision and leadership on end-of-life care," said Mike Richards, Britain's national cancer director.
While working in the late 1940s at a London hospital, Dame Saunders met a 40-year-old survivor of the Warsaw ghetto named David Tasma who was dying of cancer. She was his only visitor, and as the two became close, they talked about the care patients need at the end of their lives. He left 500 pounds -- about $880 in today's dollars. It would take nearly 20 years of fundraising before she could build a home.
Dame Saunders, who had trained as a nurse and then a social worker, enrolled in St. Thomas's Hospital Medical School in London, became a doctor at 39 and opened St. Christopher's Hospice 10 years later.
Norman Raab, 88, co-founder of the former Villager apparel line popular with preppies and matrons in the 1950s and early 1960s, died of pneumonia July 9 at Broward Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
In 1957, Mr. Raab and his brother founded Villager on the strength of their first innovation: the trend-defining shirtdress. They took an oxford button-down shirt, extended it, put a belt at the waist, and gave birth to the must-have item for upper-crust college girls and their mothers. The firm had other hits, including ribbon-bound Shetland cardigans, Madras shirts and wraparound skirts, which soon propelled its yearly sales of $140 million.
By 1969, however, the line faltered. Jeans and Army jackets became the uniform on college campuses, and Villager was no longer in demand. The brothers sold the firm, and Mr. Raab retired to Fort Lauderdale. The Villager brand is now owned by Liz Claiborne, which still markets its dresses and accessories.