Who'd miss this obituary of Fran Lee, a feisty activist who died earlier this month at 99. The 1972 photo by John Sotomayor was 3.5 x almost 5.5 inches. My gratitude goes to New York Times reporter, Margalit Fox, for a very respectful, long obit on a woman she described as a "preternaturally outspoken consumer advocate."
Fran Lee had a career of questioning many problems under many guises--Mrs. Fix-it, Granny Franny--but was known best as leading the losing battle for a more stringent pooper-scooper law than New York City planned in the seventies. Picking up the stuff on the street was too easy, she claimed. Dog owners needed to collect the stuff at home! Before strolling outdoors. Watch her on this vintage YouTube interview.
She had science behind her, explaining that a tiny roundworm found in dog feces was a health risk, especially for children. The City did enact a fairly strict law; the streets are cleaner over the past 50 years. Except in Greenwich Village and some outer boroughs. The relentless determination of dog-owners to make a better place for their animals has extended to the creation of "dog runs" in City parks. The link here describes recent energy on the upper East Side about the surface of a dog run--petitions too.
To her credit, Fran Lee had energy for many other battles described in her obit from cyclamates to asbestos to curious homemade candles. Starting as an actress, this "force of nature" left four boxes of material in the NYC Library Archives. Her son describes hearing his atheist mother as he passed her bedroom at night, as she railed about world problems, "God, when I get to see you...am I going to tell you a thing or two."
Reading about questioning old women (did I mention that the lively 92 year old who lives down the hall, called me--in a very pleasant way--a "rabble-rouser"), soothes me. We should all have Margalit Fox to write our obits.