Joanne Rogers, 92, an accomplished concert pianist who celebrated and protected the legacy of her husband, beloved children’s television host Mister Rogers, died Thursday, according to the Fred Rogers Center. No cause of death was given. The center called her “a joyful and tender spirit whose heart and wisdom have guided our work in the service of Fred’s enduring legacy”.
Married for over 50 years, Joanne and Fred Rogers spanned the start and end of the low-tech low-tech neighborhood, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” which introduced Fred Rogers as an adult in a busy world that always had time to listen had for children. His appeal as America’s favorite neighbor never seemed to wane before his death in 2003. After Fred Rogers’ death, she helped establish the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at St. Vincent College in his hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
Siegfried Fischbacher, 81, the surviving member of the magical duo Siegfried & Roy who entertained millions with illusions with rare animals, died Wednesday of pancreatic cancer at his Las Vegas home on Wednesday. Fischbacher’s long-time show business partner Roy Horn died last year of complications from COVID-19 in a Las Vegas hospital. The duo surprised millions with their extraordinary magic tricks until Horn was seriously injured by one of the act’s famous white tigers in 2003.
Kathleen Heddle, 55, three-time Olympic rowing champion for Canada, died at home in Vancouver, BC on Monday. Heddle had breast and lymph node cancer for six years, followed by melanoma and brain cancer.
Heddle and Marnie McBean won Olympic gold medals in 1992 and 1996 in the helmless couple and double sculls. Heddle also won gold in the Women’s Eight in 1992. Heddle and McBean carried Canada’s flag at the 1996 Atlanta Games closing ceremony. You were inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1997.
Sheldon Adelson, 87, the billionaire mogul, Republican megadonor and power broker who built a casino empire that stretched from Las Vegas to China and became a unique force in national and international politics, died Monday of treatment-related complications of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Dull, yet mysterious, the squat Adelson resembled an old-fashioned political boss. He became one of the most influential GOP donors in the country by setting records for individual contributions. In 2012 Politico called him “the dominant pioneer of the Super PAC era”.
Pat Loud, 94, a California housewife who became known to millions of television viewers in the 1970s as the matriarch of “An American Family,” a PBS documentary series that was both celebrated and accused of heralding the era of reality TV with her candid performance have personal life, died on January 10th at her Los Angeles home.
“An American Family” caused a sensation when it aired over 12 hourly rates in 1973. Decades before the Kardashians became famous, or the Gosselins of Jon & Kate Plus 8 announced their divorce, Loud and then-husband Bill Loud allowed a camera crew to film their daily lives with their five children 300 hours for over seven months in 1971 .
Nancy Bush Ellis, 94, the sister of one president and an aunt of another who was part of the Democratic community despite being a Republican family dynasty, died on January 10 at an assisted living facility in Concord, Massachusetts. Her son Alexander Ellis III. Said the cause was complications related to COVID-19. Her father, Prescott Sheldon Bush, was elected to the Senate in 1952. one of her brothers, George HW Bush, became president in 1989; and nephew George W. Bush became president in 2001.
Unlike most of her family members, Ellis was a Liberal Democrat for decades, campaigning for the environment and poverty reduction, raising money for the NAACP, and serving as the head of the New England section of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Clayton Pitre, 96, a Congressional gold medalist for World War II service, U.S. Marines pioneer, storyteller, and staunch advocate of education, died January 1 at Harborview Medical Center of complications from an associated heart condition.
After the war, Pitre and a group of other Marines were among the earliest civil rights activists in their efforts to integrate the US armed forces. That initiative came about in 1949. A graduate of Seattle University in 1968, Pitre became Director of Housing Development for the Central Area Motivation Program, where he worked with churches and the Urban League to build low-income housing. He later worked in the Veterans Administration for 11 years until he retired in 1984.
Pitre believed education was the key to success. “In the black community in general, education was so important to us to survive and thrive,” said his son Paul. He worked regularly with young people on their college applications while taking the time to connect with his own children through storytelling.
Eugene Wright, 97, a well-respected bass player who toured the world and made around 30 albums with the Dave Brubeck Quartet in his decade, including the landmark Time Out, died on December 30th in the Valley Glen neighborhood of Los Angeles.
In 1958, it seemed Wright, a solidly swinging timekeeper known for his work with the Count Basie Orchestra in the late 1940s, may not be the ideal choice for the complex modern jazz compositions that made up most of Brubeck’s repertoire. “It shouldn’t have worked, but Dave had an ESP about musicians and knew that Eugene would work somehow,” said Philip Clark, the author of Dave Brubeck: A Life in Time, in a telephone interview.
In the decades after the Brubeck Quartet broke up, Wright played with the trio of pianist Monty Alexander and worked on soundtracks for film and television studios. He also performed at private parties until 2016 and gave private lessons until three years ago.
Theodore “Ted” Lumpkin Jr., 100, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen whose service as a member of the All-Black Unit during World War II helped desegregate the U.S. military, died in hospital on December 26, just days before his 101st birthday, to COVID-19.
Lumpkin was drafted into the military in 1942 as a 21-year-old student at UCLA. He was assigned to the 100th Fighter Squadron of the All-Black Unit in Tuskegee, Alabama, as 2nd Lieutenant in the US Army Air Forces. He served as an intelligence officer and briefed pilots on missions during his overseas combat tour in Italy.
The Tuskegee Airmen received the 2007 gold medal of Congress, the highest civilian recognition. Almost two years later, then-President Obama invited the surviving squadron members, including Lumpkin, to his inauguration.
Marcus “Kutfather” Tufono, 48, a DJ who made a huge impact on the Seattle hip-hop scene, died on December 20th. According to the family, the cause was septic shock associated with a rare, degenerative spinal disease.
“As a club DJ, it’s really difficult to play something other than hit records and still get the party moving,” said Jake “Jake One” Dutton, a renowned hip-hop producer and former Seattle DJ. “But Kutfather,” he said, “had a rare talent for cheering a crowd by getting them to enjoy unobvious music that only he had enjoyed.” I had never seen anyone in Seattle before. “
Seattle Times staff and news services