Slade Gorton, 92, the former three-term Republican U.S. senator, whose 40 years in public service made him a towering figure in Washington politics and whose stance on some environmental issues and tribal fishing rights inspired both loyalty and fury, died Wednesday morning at his daughter’s Clyde Hill home, where he was in hospice care, after a brief illness.
Gorton served a decade in the Legislature, three terms as state attorney general, and was deemed “giant killer” for his win over the legendary Warren Magnuson to capture his first term in the U.S. Senate. His comeback to serve two more terms after losing to challenger Brock Adams was just as remarkable, and his loss to Democratic challenger Maria Cantwell in 2000 was the closest Senate race in Washington history.
In the Senate, Gorton built a reputation as a unique combination of brains and analytical skill that enabled him to dislodge colleagues from stuck positions. “Slade was the person who could somehow find a way to communicate and find common ground,” said Tom Daschle, a Democrat who represented South Dakota in the U.S. Senate from 1987-2005, serving as minority leader during Gorton’s third term and majority leader in 2001. “He was indispensable, he had an enormous ability to keep us focused on the most important thing.”
Dale Hawerchuk, 57, a hockey phenom who became the face of the Winnipeg Jets en route to the Hall of Fame, died after a battle with cancer. The Ontario Hockey League’s Barrie Colts, a team Hawerchuk coached, confirmed the death on Twitter on Tuesday.
A teenage star, Hawerchuk was drafted first overall by the Jets in 1981. He went on to play nine seasons in Winnipeg and five in Buffalo before finishing up his distinguished 16-year NHL career with stints in St. Louis and Philadelphia. The five-time All-Star had 518 goals and 1,409 points in 1,188 regular-season games. He added 30 more goals and 99 assists in 97 playoff games.
Amer Fakhoury, 57, a Lebanese-born naturalized American citizen who was detained for months in Beirut on charges of torturing Lebanese prisoners decades ago during the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon, died of lymphoma Monday at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Fakhoury, who became a U.S. citizen last year, was arrested and detained in Beirut in September, days after he returned to Lebanon for the first time in 20 years to see family. In March, he was freed from jail when a judge ruled the statute of limitations to prosecute him had expired.
Mercedes Barcha, 87, who was credited by late husband and Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez with making it possible for him to write his masterpiece “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” died Aug. 15 in Mexico City, according to Mexico’s Culture Ministry. The Colombian couple had moved to Mexico in 1961; García Márquez died in 2014.
Barcha, who married García Márquez in 1958 and managed the couple’s finances through some hard times while the author wrote, was praised by Colombian President Iván Duque, Mexican authorities and prominent figures in Latin American art and culture for her role as a muse and lifelong companion to Garcia Marquez. The celebrated writer was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1982 and is considered one of the most important Spanish-language writers of all time.
James R. Thompson, 84, a Republican known as Big Jim who used his enthusiasm for campaigning and his canny understanding of state politics to become the longest-serving governor of Illinois, died Aug. 14. His daughter, Samantha Thompson, confirmed his death. She said Thompson had been recovering from an undisclosed illness at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago when his heart stopped. On social media, Democrats and Republicans praised Thompson’s abilities as a politician who so enjoyed meeting with constituents that he would march parade routes twice, even in off-election years.
Peyton Whitely, 75, who as a reporter for The Seattle Times for 41 years wrote thousands of articles about myriad topics, ranging from breaking news, crime and transportation, to Kurt Cobain’s death, to hard-hitting investigative pieces on the Hanford nuclear reservation, died Aug. 6 of multiple myeloma.
Three decades ago, Whitely became The Times’ first “mobile journalist” (“mojo” for short) when he outfitted his little yellow Datsun 280 ZX — which, at 6 foot 4, he already had to squeeze into — with a clunky cellphone, a laptop, a police scanner, a small desk and a folding chair.
The gizmos proved their worth on a Saturday in the early 1990s when Whitely learned — on his day off — that serial arsonist Paul Keller had been captured, a story all of Seattle was following. He broke the story from his car. Whitely was convinced working remotely was the future.
He finally got to see his vision for the future of work play out in the months before his death, albeit under terrible circumstances. “He was amazed we needed to have a pandemic to get what he was lobbying for all along,” said his daughter, Nancy Hacking.
Perhaps he would be satisfied to know his obituary was filed remotely.
Bill Goldenberg, 84, an Emmy-winning composer who worked with Barbra Streisand and Elvis Presley, scored Steven Spielberg’s early work and wrote the theme music for more than a dozen television series, died at his home in Manhattan. Gary Gerani, a friend who is making a documentary about Goldenberg, said the cause was most likely heart failure. He said fire department personnel found Goldenberg’s body on the morning of Aug. 4 after he had failed to answer his door for a delivery. He had died overnight.