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Obituaries: Len Feinzing, Bill Ross

Len Feinzing

Len Feinzing (also known in the party as Lenny Fenton) died in October. Born in 1917, he joined the World Socialist Party of the US in 1936 and was an active member of Boston Local until there was no more local to be active in. He was part of the core group who continued monthly meetings to mail out the Socialist Standards and keep the bare bones of a socialist movement alive during the 1980s. After the renaissance that the WSP began to experience in 1987, he continued to take part in every activity except those requiring computer skills. Lenny's greatest contribution to the organization was as a speaker, both on the soapbox and indoors. He was arguably the best debater in the WSP, frequently impressing large audiences in debates with groups from Harvard, MIT and Brandies. He also spoke on Local Boston's radio program during the late 1960s and early 70s. He visited Britain on a number of occasions, the last time being 2003. Comrade Feinting served for many years on both the NAC and the Editorial Committee of the Western Socialist, the journal of the American and Canadian parties. He also made it his personal project to increase the circulation of the Western Socialist dramatically during the 1950s (not at all an easy task in that period of history!) by instituting a successful nation-wide Library Campaign. His life was long and productive. He will be long remembered.

Bill Ross

Glasgow branch are sad to report the death of our comrade Bill Ross. Bill came across the Socialist Party at an outdoor meeting at the Mound in Edinburgh in the summer of 1965. Within months he had joined Glasgow branch. He was a larger than life figure who had left school at 15 years of age and had been a merchant seaman for many years. When he came in contact with the party he had graduated from Drama College and was already appearing on stage at the Edinburgh Festival. Within a short time Bill was himself speaking for the party both indoors and outdoors including a spell in London when he was working there. Later on when he found the stage too precarious an occupation he worked for many years for the Glasgow Parks Department where he was very active in trade union affairs. Bill was a voracious reader and was especially interested in scientific subjects. He was a good example of the self-taught worker, although having had a very basic academic career he had a wide knowledge of astro-physics and evolution, often giving branch talks on such subjects. He was a warm, friendly human being with a good sense of humour and his speciality was in taking popular songs and re-writing parodies. Thus The Lady is a Tramp became That's Why the Worker is a Slave and the words of Who Wants to be a Millionaire became - "Have you heard of the SPGB. We want a world without poverty. Well, did you ever. What a swell party this is." This is a sad time for all his Glasgow comrades but especially so for his wife and beloved comrade Terry. He will be greatly missed.

RD