A roundup of notable obituaries from the week ending July 1st.
Wassyl Slipak, 41, a baritone at the Paris Opera who became a folk hero in his native Ukraine for returning home to fight in his country’s war in the east, was killed by sniper fire Wednesday near the town of Debaltseve. Slipak, who had won fame in France for his renditions of the aria of Mephistopheles from the opera “Faust,” adopted the nom-de-guerre Meph.
Pat Summitt, 64, died Tuesday after years of struggling with Alzheimer’s-type dementia. In her 38 years as a head college coach, she won 1,098 games, more than any other Division I coach, man or woman, and led Tennessee to eight national championships.
Scotty Moore, 84, the pioneering rock guitarist whose sharp, graceful style helped Elvis Presley shape his revolutionary sound and inspired a generation of musicians that included Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Bruce Springsteen, died Tuesday, at his home in Nashville.
Buddy Ryan, 85, a defensive line and linebackers coach for the 1968 champion New York Jets, died Tuesday in Kentucky. No details were available. He was known for coordinating the groundbreaking 46 defense for the title-winning 1985 Chicago Bears, one of the NFL’s greatest defenses. He was a head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1986-90 and for the Arizona Cardinals in 1994-95, compiling a 55-55-1 overall record.
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Simon Ramo, 103, an engineer and entrepreneur who helped develop the rocket technology that changed the nature of the Cold War’s nuclear faceoff and powered the first Americans into space, died Monday in Santa Monica, Calif. Ramo, who advised a string of presidents, legislators and Cabinet officials on science and technology, was a pioneering force in the aerospace and electronics industries throughout the postwar period.
Alvin Toffler, 87, the celebrated author of “Future Shock,” the first in a trilogy of best-selling books that presciently forecast how people and institutions of the late 20th century would contend with the immense strains and soaring opportunities of accelerating change, died Monday at his home in Los Angeles.
Mack Rice, 82, whose biggest hit as a singer and songwriter was the enduring rhythm-and-blues classic “Mustang Sally,” died Monday at his home in Detroit. The cause was complications of Alzheimer’s disease.
Oh Se-jong, 33, former Olympic short-track speedskating champion, who won the gold medal in the men’s relay at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, was killed in a motorcycle crash Monday night. The Korea Skating Union could not confirm the circumstances of the crash.
Austin Clarke, 81, the award-winning Barbadian-born author who wrote about the immigrant experience and being black in Canada, died in a hospital June 26.
Bill Cunningham, 87, the street-style photographer whose photo essays for The New York Times memorialized trends ranging from fanny packs to Birkin bags, gingham shirts and fluorescent biker shorts, died June 25 in New York. He had been hospitalized recently after having a stroke.
Jim Hickman, 79, who played for four teams in 13 major league seasons and had a hand in one of the most famous plays in All-Star Game history, died June 25, at a Tennessee hospital after a lengthy illness. In 1970, he hit a game-ending single in the 12th inning of the All-Star Game that year, sending Pete Rose barreling into catcher Ray Fosse for the winning run.
Lee Wesley Gibson, 106, believed to have been the oldest living Pullman porter, died as he lived — calm, quiet and in control — sitting in a chair at his home in south Los Angeles, with family members at his side, on June 25.
Michael Herr, 76, who wrote “Dispatches,” a glaringly intense, personal account of being a correspondent in Vietnam that is widely viewed as one of the most visceral and persuasive depictions of the unearthly experience of war, died June 23 at a hospital near his home in Delaware County, N.Y., from an unspecified illness.
The war in Vietnam and its dehumanizing effect on its participants figured widely in Herr’s writing life. He contributed the narration to “Apocalypse Now,” Francis Ford Coppola’s epic adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” and with director Stanley Kubrick and Gustav Hasford wrote the screenplay for “Full Metal Jacket” (1987), adapted from Hasford’s novel (“The Short-Timers”).
James Green, 71, a self-described “activist scholar” whose view of organized labor’s violent birth challenged conventional visions of America as a classless society, died on Thursday, June 23, in Boston. The cause was complications of leukemia. Green taught at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and wrote six books and countless articles. He also participated in protest politics, including the civil rights movement, and organized community history projects and training programs for labor unions.
John F. Wolfe, 72, longtime Ohio newspaper publisher, whose family sold The Columbus Dispatch last year, died Friday, June 24, at a Columbus hospital, after battling cancer for two years. His family owned the Dispatch for 110 years.
Frank Whipple, 93, whose whimsical paintings of nuns wearing the winglike headdresses of the Daughters of Charity found favor with a host of Hollywood celebrities, died on Wednesday, June 8, in Los Angeles.