PASSINGS: Mike McCormack, Emily Ware, Glafcos Clerides

Mike McCormack

Football Hall of Fame

offensive lineman

Mike McCormack, 83, a Hall of Fame offensive lineman with the Cleveland Browns, died of natural causes Friday in Palm Desert, where he had a winter home, the Carolina Panthers said.

During his five decades in professional football, McCormack played, coached and held several executive positions, including president of the Panthers.

The 6-foot-4, 246-pound McCormack was a dominant offensive lineman for the Browns, helping the franchise win NFL championships in 1954 and 1955. He protected quarterback Otto Graham and blocked for running back Jim Brown.

At McCormack's Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 1984, coach Paul Brown called him "the finest offensive lineman I have ever coached."

USA Today named McCormack to its 75th anniversary all-NFL team, listing him as one of the best three tackles in league history.

McCormack later coached the Philadelphia Eagles (1973-75), Baltimore Colts (1980-81) and Seattle Seahawks (1982). He also served as president and general manager of the Seahawks, and was instrumental in helping the Panthers land an NFL franchise in 1993. He retired in 1997.

McCormack began his coaching career as an assistant in 1965 with the Washington Redskins, learning under coaching legends Vince Lombardi and George Allen. But he never experienced the same success he had as a player. McCormack was a combined 29-51-1 as a head coach.

Michael Joseph McCormack Jr. was born June 21, 1930, in Chicago. He played football at the University of Kansas and was drafted by the New York Yanks in 1951. While he was serving in the Army from 1952-53 he was traded to Cleveland, where he played for nine more seasons.

Emily Ware

Worked to aid

students in Watts

Emily Ware, 97, who co-founded a cultural enrichment program at Jordan High School that guided and financially supported college-bound students in Watts, died Oct. 25 in Los Angeles, her family announced. The cause was not given.

In 1963, Ware was among a small group of parents who formed Project Jordan to expose students to cultural events and institutions outside their neighborhood and help pay for expenses the teenagers would encounter once they were accepted to colleges and universities.

Ware and other Project Jordan organizers took students on field trips to art and history museums, classical music concerts, theatrical productions, college open houses and tutoring programs at UCLA and Cal Poly Pomona. The parents also helped pay for band and drill-team uniforms for needy students, arranged for scholarships and small stipends, and served as mentors to encourage and motivate the youths.

"Some of them had never been out of Watts," Ware told The Times in 2005. "Since our area had such a bad reputation, we were determined to prove it isn't where you live that makes you, but who you are."

Born Emily Mason on June 26, 1916, in Alabama, she was one of 16 children of Charlie and Ethel Mason, who moved the family to California in 1925. She married Raymond Ware, and the couple had three children, Emily Ware Williams, Claudia White and Sylvia Swartz.

Beginning in 1945, Ware worked as a file clerk for Los Angeles County and in the transportation division of the Sheriff's Department, her family said. In the 1950s, she went to college to get her teaching credential, then taught at the elementary level for 21 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Glafcos Clerides

Cyprus leader tried to

unify divided island

Glafcos Clerides, 94, the former president who guided Cyprus into European Union membership and dedicated most of his 50 years in politics to trying to reunify the ethnically split island, died Friday at a private clinic in the capital city of Nicosia, according to his personal physician. The cause was not disclosed.

The fourth president of Cyprus, Clerides also played a part in negotiations leading to independence from Britain. Over a half-century, he was widely respected for deftly navigating his country's often treacherous politics.

He won the powerful office in 1993 and a second five-year term in 1998. During that time, he oversaw the completion of negotiations for entering the EU, though he left office before the country formally joined in 2004.

But the Cyprus problem was Clerides' passion. The island was split into an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south and a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north in 1974 when Turkey invaded after a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Turkish Cypriots declared independence in 1983, but only Turkey — which maintains 35,000 troops there — recognizes it.

Clerides supported a United Nations reunification plan, but it was overwhelmingly rejected by Greek Cypriots though approved by Turkish Cypriots in a separate vote in 2004.

Clerides was born in Nicosia on April 24, 1919. During World War II, he was among an estimated 30,000 Cypriot volunteers who fought for the Allies. Clerides served as a gunner and wireless operator in Britain's Royal Air Force and was shot down over Germany in 1942. He spent the rest of the war as prisoner, foiled in two escape attempts.

He was a member of the EOKA, the underground independence movement that waged a guerrilla campaign against British colonial rule between 1955 and 1959. Trained as a lawyer in Britain, Clerides defended arrested EOKA fighters in court.

Clerides was involved in the negotiations that led to the island's independence from Britain in 1960 and was elected as the first speaker of Parliament, a position he held until 1976.

Times staff and wire reports

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