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Former SF Giants Owner Peter Magowan, 76

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Peter Magowan, the lifelong San Francisco Giants fan who formed the ownership group that kept the team in San Francisco with a sparkling waterfront ballpark, died Sunday after a battle with cancer. He was 76.

Magowan was a fan ever since going to games at the Polo Grounds in New York and then played a critical role in the team’s success over the past quarter-century.

“During a tenuous period for the franchise, Peter stepped up and led the group that purchased the Giants and kept them in San Francisco,” commissioner Rob Manfred said. “With groundbreaking vision, he then guided the effort that resulted in a ballpark that became a landmark for the city. In his 16 seasons of leadership, Peter oversaw a winning, civic-minded ballclub that represented the spirit of San Francisco. The foundation created under his direction helped make the Giants the model club they remain today.”

Magowan helped form the ownership group that bought the franchise for $100 million from Bob Lurie in December 1992 to keep the team from moving to Tampa Bay. One of his first moves was signing Barry Bonds to a six-year, $43.5 million free agent deal even before he formally completed the purchase of the team.

In a tweet Sunday night, Bonds shared his thoughts on Magowan and what he meant to San Francisco.

“I’m extremely saddened by the passing of Peter Magowan. I will never forget our first call about the possibility of me coming home to play. He saved baseball for San Francisco and will be greatly missed. Sending my love and prayers to Debby and family. I love you Peter Magowan,” tweeted Bond.

With the game’s greatest slugger in place, the Giants went on to have great success and Magowan put together a plan to build a privately funded ballpark on the water in downtown San Francisco. That park, the first in years built without direct public funding, opened in 2000 and became one of the jewels of the game.

Magowan stepped down following the 2008 season but had put in place the management team that helped bring San Francisco its first World Series title in 2010, followed by championships in 2012 and 2014.

“Peter’s mark on the Giants and the San Francisco community can be felt throughout the ballpark, in which he was intimately involved in the design and planning and throughout the daily operations of the organization,” Giants president and CEO Larry Baer said. “He set forth a Giants vision to create a winning culture and to serve our fans and the community. Over the past 25 years, we have followed through on his vision and his impact on our community will be felt for decades to come.”

Magowan moved to California in 1958, the same year the Giants relocated from New York to San Francisco. He had a successful business, working 37 years for Safeway Inc., including serving as chairman and CEO from 1980-93 before stepping down after taking over the Giants.

The Giants made the playoffs four times in Magowan’s 16-year tenure running the Giants, including a trip to the World Series in 2002 before losing in seven games to the Angels.

Bonds also went on to set the single-season and career homer records during his tenure with the Giants, hitting 73 homers in 2001 and 762 in his career.

Magowan did significant work in the community, making the Giants the first professional sports team to dedicate an annual game to the fight against AIDS/HIV with the creation of “Until There’s A Cure Day” in 1994. He also formed the Junior Giants program that provided free leagues for kids to play and learn baseball.

Magowan also revered the rich history of the franchise he started following as a child, signing Hall of Famer Willie Mays to a lifetime contract and bringing back Hall of Famers Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda to the organization to serve as special advisers. In 2008, he established the Giants Wall of Fame, which serves as a tribute to the organization’s greatest players of the San Francisco era.

Magowan will be added to the Wall of Fame on Feb. 9.

“Peter Magowan has been a part of my life for a long, long time, first as a fan watching me play in New York and then, remaining a fan when we moved to San Francisco,” Mays said. “Along the way, he became my friend. Peter would call me often to check in. He and Debby cared about me and it was so easy to care about them in return. It’s hard to find the right words just now, but in losing Peter, I’ve lost a great, great friend. He was like my godfather. No one can replace him.”

He is survived by wife Debby, five children and 12 grandchildren.

“Our family lost a great man today,” the family said in a statement. “We all know how much Peter loved his Giants and San Francisco, and he had that same love and passion for his family. He was so proud of his children and grandchildren, and we will forever cherish the memories we made together.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Community

Marvin Norman, 55

Marvin Norman of Oakland and Antioch, California, died at the age of 55 after enduring a ferocious battle with COVID-19 for more than four months.

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Marvin Norman

Marvin Norman of Oakland and Antioch, California, died at the age of 55 after enduring a ferocious battle with COVID-19 for more than four months.

He transitioned on Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, in Santa Clara, CA.  

Marvin Gay Norman was born on Jan.19, 1966, in Houma, Louisiana, the son of Dennis Norman Sr. and Cora Mae Prevost.  He was the youngest of eight children.  

After moving to California in 1991, he met and married Terri (Gray) on April 20, 1996. Married for more than 25 years, they built a loving family.  

In 2000, he was hired as a longshoreman, becoming a crane operator at the Port of Oakland.  Together with his ILWU 10 brothers and sisters, he worked on the docks, moving products through the Port terminals. 

Marvin Norman was a religious man.  Most important to him was having a family, being a husband and providing for his family. He enjoyed his life and those around him, always ready with a smile and southern hospitality.

He enjoyed fishing, hunting, gardening, cooking and was an avid fan of all sports, especially football.  He was a dedicated fan of the New Orleans Saints and the Morehouse College football team. 

He would make a yearly trip to support his youngest son’s game.  When his children were younger, he would often cheer and coach from the sidelines at their soccer, football and basketball games. 

 Additionally, he was a great cook, pouring love and a smile into the meals he prepared.

His happiest moments were being able to spend time with his family and friends, which included his four dogs.  

He was preceded in death by his parents and the family members Darrell “Flick” Norman, Evette Norman and Angela Norman.

He is survived by his wife Terri Norman; daughter Marshante Roberts and three sons Marvin “Smurf” Jones, Joshua James Norman and Daniel Isiah Norman; seven grandchildren, ages, 13, 7, 6, 5 and 3; as well as siblings: Ralph Hayes, Inez Williams, Bettie Jean Norman, Carnell Norman, Connie Berry, Dennis Norman, Jr., Bernadette Norman, and Mary Butler; by his in-laws Sam Brownstone and Virginia Brownstone; and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. 

 Condolences may be sent to 4735 Crestone Needle Way, Antioch, CA  94531.

The Oakland Post’s coverage of local news in Alameda County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.

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In Memoriam

In Loving Memory

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Nisayah Yahudah

January 29, 2020

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Black History

Lucille Times, Who Inspired the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Dies at 100

Lucille Alicia Sharpe was born on April 22, 1921, in Hope Hull, a community outside Montgomery.

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Lucille Times, Photo courtesy of Troy University

Lucille Times, whose encounter with a bus driver in Montgomery, Ala., in June 1955 led her to begin a one-woman boycott of the city’s public transportation, an act of defiance that inspired a mass boycott six months later after another Black woman, Rosa Parks, was charged with defying the same bus driver, died on Aug. 16 at the home of her nephew Daniel Nichols. She was 100.

Mr. Nichols, with whom she had been living for several years, said the cause was complications of Covid-19.

Mrs. Times was driving to the dry cleaners on June 15, 1955, when she got into an altercation with James Blake, the bus driver, who tried to push her car off the road three times. She continued on her errand, but he followed her.

Parking his bus across the street, he ran over to her and yelled, “You Black son of a bitch!” she recalled in a 2017 interview.

She immediately replied, “You white son of a bitch!” and the two started fighting. At one point she bit him on the arm.

Suddenly she felt a blow to her neck. She looked down and saw the high boots of a motorcycle police officer, who had hit her with his flashlight.

The officer took Mr. Blake aside, then turned to her.

“‘Do you know that was a white man you called a white son of a bitch?’” she recalled him saying. “I said, ‘Do you know I’m a Black woman that he called a Black son of a bitch?’”

The officer let her off with a warning, telling her that if she had been a man, he would have “beat my head to jelly,” she said.

Mrs. Times drove away, furious. “My blood was almost boiling,” she said. “I didn’t even take my clothes into the dry cleaners.”

At home her husband, Charlie, had already heard about the incident. Together they called E.D. Nixon, the head of the local N.A.A.C.P. chapter, and asked what they could do. He came over that night.

As a child, she had taken part in a boycott of a butcher shop in Detroit, where she was visiting relatives, and she suggested to Mr. Nixon that the city’s Black community could do the same. He agreed, but said the time wasn’t right — they would need money, cars and other supplies to make it happen. He asked her to have patience.

She called the city bus company to complain, but no one responded. She sent letters to The Montgomery Advertiser and The Atlanta Journal, but they refused to print them. She decided not to wait.

Over the next six months, she operated her own boycott, driving to bus stops and offering free rides to Black passengers waiting to board. Charlie, with whom she ran a cafe across from their house, collected money for gas, and they used the cafe as a planning hub — people could call Charlie to arrange a ride, and he would assemble a schedule for his wife.

“Lucille was loaded for bear, and she wouldn’t back down from nothing,” Mr. Nichols said. “She was full steam ahead.”

On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a seamstress and activist in the Montgomery N.A.A.C.P., boarded Mr. Blake’s bus and sat in the front section, which was reserved for white riders. When he ordered her to move to the back, she refused, and was arrested. Four days later, the Montgomery Improvement Association, formed in coordination with the N.A.A.C.P. and led by a 26-year-old preacher, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., announced a citywide boycott.

The Timeses participated in the boycott, which lasted over a year and helped lead to the end of segregation on the city’s public transportation.

“You’ve got to fight,” Mrs. Times said in 2017.  “You don’t get nothing for free. I’ve been a fighter all of my days.”

Lucille Alicia Sharpe was born on April 22, 1921, in Hope Hull, a community outside Montgomery. Her mother, Jamie (Woodley) Sharpe, died when she was young, and Lucille and her five siblings were raised by her father, Walter Sharpe. They later moved to Montgomery, though she lived for stretches of time with relatives in Chicago and Detroit.

She married Charlie Times in 1939 and later received a bachelor’s degree from Huntingdon College in Montgomery. Mr. Times served in the Army Air Corps during World War II, and when he returned, they opened the Times Cafe. It became a social hub for the city’s Black community.

It was also a center for civil rights activism. The Timeses joined the N.A.A.C.P. in the 1940s, and after Alabama outlawed the organization in 1956, they let Mr. Nixon use their home for secret meetings.

The Timeses remained active in the movement, participating in the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery and hosting 18 other marchers, Black and white, at their home. Mr. Times died in 1978.

Despite her signature role in the origins of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Mrs. Times was for decades unrecognized for her contribution. Troy King, a former attorney general of Alabama who became friends with her in the 2010s, speculated that it was because her outspokenness ran against the image of civil rights protesters as quiet and reserved.

“She was like an iron fist in a velvet glove,” Mr. King, now in private practice, said in an interview. “She didn’t get pushed around.”

At one point he invited her to speak to his daughter’s fourth-grade class, which was studying Alabama history. Though Mrs. Times had trouble speaking because a stroke had left her vocal cords partially paralyzed, she managed to narrate her tale, peppering it with profanity and racial epithets, shocking students and teachers.

“It was exceptionally jarring, but it left an impression that they will never forget,” Mr. King said.

Mrs. Times did eventually receive some local recognition. In 2007, her house was placed on the Alabama Registry of Landmarks and Heritage, and the state placed historic markers in front of her home and the building that once housed the Times Cafe.

Her neighbors also created a community garden in her honor and named it for her and Mr. Nixon. In April they held a 100th birthday party for her, but she was unable to attend because of the pandemic.

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