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Originally published July 19, 2014 at 6:04 AM | Page modified July 19, 2014 at 6:37 PM

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The week’s passages

A roundup of notable obituaries for the week ending July 19.


Mary Ellen McCaffree, 96, whose public service stretched from the League of Women Voters and Seattle PTA to four terms as a state representative, and who advocated redistricting in favor of increased funding for education, fought for tax reformation and promoted environmental-conservation laws, died in her Snohomish home on June 24.

Nadine Gordimer, 90, the crusading Nobel laureate for literature who won fame as the finest chronicler of apartheid in South Africa, died July 13 in Johannesburg.

Alice Coachman Davis, believed to be 90, the first black woman to win Olympic gold, in high jump, and who received her 1948 medal from King George VI but whose hometown mayor of Albany, Ga., wouldn’t shake her hand, died Monday in Albany.

Johnny Winter, 70, a Texas-bred guitarist and singer and a mainstay of the blues-rock world since the 1960s, died Wednesday in his Zurich hotel room; he had been on a performance tour. The cause was not yet known.

Lorin Maazel, 84, one of the world’s great conductors, who held top posts with the Vienna State Opera, the Cleveland Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic, among others, died of pneumonia July 13 in Castleton, Va., where he hosted a summer music program.

Elaine Stritch, 89, the brassy, tart-tongued Broadway actress and singer who became a living emblem of show-business durability and perhaps the leading interpreter of Stephen Sondheim’s wryly acrid musings on aging (notably “The Ladies Who Lunch” and “I’m Still Here”), died Thursday in Birmingham, Mich.

Lionel Ferbos, 103, a trumpeter believed to be the oldest working jazz musician, performing regularly until last year, died Saturday at his home in New Orleans.

Robert Stein, 90, who helped expand the scope of women’s magazines as editor-in-chief of McCall’s and Redbook in the early stages of the modern women’s movement, introducing readers to feminist leaders such as Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, died of cancer July 9 in Westport, Conn.

Jack W. Tocco, 87, the reputed mob boss who was convicted of racketeering in 1998 but who insisted on his innocence, died Monday in the Grosse Pointe Park, Mich. No cause was released.

James MacGregor Burns, 95, a Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and political scientist who wrote voluminously about the nature of leadership in general and the presidency in particular, died Tuesday in Williamstown, Mass.

Rosalind Nyman Joel, 92, mother of singer/songwriter Billy Joel, who wrote “Rosa-linda’s Eyes” in tribute to the woman who raised him alone after her divorce, died July 13 on Long Island, N.Y.

Tom Tierney, 85, a fashion illustrator who became the king of the paper-doll world, creating more than 400 such books of famous people both historical and living and selling 4 million copies, died of lung cancer July 12 in Smithville, Texas.

Howard Benford Siler Jr., 69, the bobsled veteran who coached the original Jamaican Olympic bobsled team, died July 8 in Clermont, Fla. He had cancer.

Otto Piene, 86, a German artist known for his colorful paintings and gigantic open-air sculptures, died suddenly Thursday, shortly after the opening of his exhibition in Berlin.



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