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Obituaries

Jeanne Fiermonte (nee Curtin) died on Dec. 27, 1999 at St. Francis Hospital. She was predeceased by her husband Salvatore. Mother of Mark Fiermonte and daughter-in-law Marie, both of Port Washington. Jeanne is survived by brother Don Curtin and his wife Hiliah (Lee) of Matamoras, PA. Predeceased by sister Joan (Doll) Rizzo. Jeanne was the daughter of the late Fred and Anna Curtin and granddaughter of Charles E. Baxter and Isabel Baxter. Mr. Baxter had The Blacksmith Shop on Mill Pond in the early 1900s. Jeanne was a lifetime resident of Port Washington and worked at Publishers Clearing House for many years. She is survived by nieces and nephews Diana Aricins of Lemoore, CA and Peter Rizzo of Levittown, Dennis Curtin of Port Washington and Brian Curtin and his wife Karen of Hillsdale, NJ.

Funeral arrangements were made by the Austin F. Knowles Funeral Home, Port Washington. After a funeral procession past her childhood home, Jeanne was interred in Nassau Knolls Cemetery.

Ray Hubbard, a television producer and broadcasting executive who won numerous awards and whose career spanned the pioneering days of the medium, died Dec. 27, 1999 in Kenwood, CA. He was 75 years old and had suffered from Parkinson's disease for over 20 years. He and his family bought the Sousa House from Sousa's daughter in 1965. They lived there for five years and then moved to Maryland.

Mr. Hubbard was the recipient of vitually every major broadcasting award, including the Emmy, Dupont, George Foster Peabody, Freedom Foundation, National Conference of Christians and Jews and Action for Children's Television awards as well as prizes and medals from film festivals around the US and the world.

The range of Mr. Hubbard's pioneering programming subjects reflected his conviction that TV should be used as an engine for social change, justice and education. He started at Westinghouse in Group W and KPIX in 1951 as the art director. He then moved to WBZ (Boston) in 1956 where he produced In the Shadow of a City. It was the first TV documentary on inner city decay and the poor. It created a scandal because the popular belief was that squalor and racism existed only in the south. He moved back to KPIX in 1958 as its program director.

Roy felt that a station's broadcasters should reflect society and produced the first news program anchored by a woman (Wanda Ramey). Westinghouse executives were very surprised when, rather than fail, it became wildly successful. He broadcast the first on-air editorial where the station stated its position on a major issue and invited the viewers to respond on camera.

His documentary, The Innocent Fair, on the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition ended with an intentionally emotional, nostalgic look at the majestic, crumbling Palace of Fine Arts which was to be demolished for luxury apartments. It was so moving that it created a ground swell of support that saved the building which is now a park and home for the Exploratorium.

His educational shows included Discovery, a 13-part series on contemporary art with the San Francisco Musuem of Art, Black Culture, 65 half-hour programs in cooperation with Morgan State University in Baltimore and Children's Spectaculars, a series of hour-long dramatic specials featuring such performers as Zero Mostel, Boris Karloff, Claire Bloom, Steve Allen and Bill Baird and his marionettes.

He also produced the award winning The Reading Show. It used a silent serial The Vanishing Shadow and the children had to read what the actors said. Teachers discovered that the students intentionally read ahead of the show to discover what would happen. It had a dramatic effect on their skills and was a forerunner of today's computer aided teaching systems. He also broadcast what might be the first live surgery ever shown on television, lung and heart operations at Stanford Lane Hospital in San Francisco.

At Post-Newsweek (1969-76), Mr. Hubbard continued to be an innovator and pioneer in many broadcasting areas that have today become standard. Washington DC was 85 percent black, but all of the newscasters were white. Mr. Hubbard hired the first black man (Max Robinson) and woman (J.C. Hayward) to anchor a news cast. In retaliation, the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross on the lawn of WTOP (now WUSA).

Long before the advent of such vintage film channels as American Movie Classics, Mr. Hubbard, a lifelong movie lover, purchased rights to old black and white films that, as he said, "Nobody else wanted," gave them a regular Saturday evening slot, and called it Cinema Club 9, after the channel number of the Post's flagship station, WTOP. Relying on his vast personal knowledge of film lore, he introduced the movies himself, from a studio set, attired in a tuxedo. He commissioned American Film Institute programmer Stephen Zito to write elaborate notes on each offering in advance of broadcast, which would be mailed regularly to any viewer who requested them.

Long a critic of program managers who program against each other and not for the audience, he insisted on programming educational children's fare (often in prime-time hours) long before its popularity on PBS. He also worked closely with local school systems and hiring writers to create study guides, one of the earliest examples of the "interactive" use of television in learning. He was responsible for Harambee, the first daily scheduled black culture-oriented program on American television and Everywoman, the first prime-time women's program.

For the Bicentennial in 1976, Mr. Hubbard created The American Documents, a series of 13 hour-long documentaries on lesser known aspects of American culture which included the story of immigration through Ellis Island, suffrage and how women got the vote, the WWI news correspondents and the birth of Black cinema in the '20s and '30s. The series was syndicated nationally and was shown both on television and in schools for many years thereafter and its format has been reused many times. He also brought classical theater to younger viewers by collaborating with the Young Vic Theatre Company in London.

Upon retiring from Post-Newsweek, Mr. Hubbard produced "Special Delivery," five half-hour programs for children about living with disabilities for the US Office of Education in 1977. He then established Unicorn Projects, Inc., an not-for-profit production company through which he could execute his deeply held benefits about educational programming. Out of this came such noted television films as Lewis Mumford; Toward Human Architecture, and a series of four programs based on the work of, and hosted by the noted author-illustrator David Macaulay. These films were funded by and produced in collaboration with The National Endowment for the Humanities and were entitled "Castle," "Cathedral," "Pyramid" and "Roman City:" They employed an innovative and widely-remarked upon format of fully animated dramatic stories, interwoven with documentary segments filmed on location at the actual castles, cathedrals and other historic sites around the world. The most recent of these, "Roman City," won the national prime-time Emmy as the Outstanding Animated Program of 1994.

His love of the movies was translated into a panoramic novel about Hollywood's golden age, Majestic, published by Bantam in 1981.

Ray Andrew Hubbard was born Dec. 7, 1924 in Los Angeles. He received his BA at California College of arts and Crafts in Oakland in 1942 and an MA in theater and communications from Stanford University in 1951. Before entering the field of broadcasting he taught art in Sequoia High School in Redwood City, CA, at the time the youngest teacher ever accredited to teach in the state's public schools.

He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Marion, of Kenwood, CA, three sons, Bruce of Pasdena, CA, Gregory of Wells, ME, and Stephen, also of Pasadena, and two grandchildren.

Mary J. Strickland, 64, of Port Washington, died on Jan. 14, 2000. She was the former business manager with the Port Washington, Glen Cove, Long Beach, Manhasset and Plainview-Old Bethpage School Districts. She was also the former president and CEO of the Port Washington Teachers Federal Credit Union. Wife of the late Red. Mother of William Pearson, Ann Strickland, Missy Fernandez and the late Robin Strickland. Grandmother of Michele, Tyler, Sydney, LeeAnn and Candy. Arrangements were made by the Austin F. Knowles Funeral Home, Port Washington. Funeral service. Interment Nassau Knolls Cemetery.

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