Jerry Harkness, 81, who led Loyola Chicago to a barrier-breaking national basketball championship and was a civil-rights pioneer, died Tuesday. No other details were available.
A two-time All American at Loyola, Harkness was part of the 1963 team that won a national championship with four Black starters and played in what became known as the Game of Change. State laws prohibited Mississippi State from playing integrated teams, but the Maroons — now Bulldogs — slipped out of town under cover of darkness to play Loyola in East Lansing, Michigan. Harkness appeared in an iconic photo taken before the game, when he shook hands with Mississippi State captain Joe Dan Gold. Harkness, Ron Miller, Vic Rouse and Les Hunter — white guard John Egan was the other starter — received death threats mailed to their dorm and endured taunts from fans in Houston during their title run.
Charlie Watts, 80, the longtime drummer of the Rolling Stones who provided a steady rhythmic hand for decades behind the band’s fiery leaders, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, helping make the group one of the most phenomenally successful rock bands in history, died Tuesday at a London hospital.
From his early teens, when he began listening to the music of Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker, Watts aspired to be a jazz drummer, along the lines of Chico Hamilton or Kenny Clarke. Watts joined the Stones in 1963, when the band was getting its start in London, and for the next 56 years he played every gig the band had, from tiny basement clubs to giant stadiums. Watts never completely abandoned his jazz roots — he played with an almost melodic sensitivity on such Stones songs as “Ruby Tuesday,” “19th Nervous Breakdown” and “Wild Horses.”
“There’s tremendous personality and subtlety in his playing,” Richards wrote in “Life,” his 2010 autobiography. “If you look at the size of his kit, it’s ludicrous compared with what most drummers use these days. They’ve got a fort with them … Charlie’s quintessentially a jazz drummer, which means that the rest of the band is a jazz band in a way.”
Hissène Habré, 79, the former president of Chad, who was serving a life sentence for crimes against humanity, including killings, torture and sex offenses, during his rule in the 1980s, died Tuesday morning at a clinic near Cap Manuel prison in Senegal, the West African country where Habré was being held after being convicted there. He had been treated for complications related to diabetes and high blood pressure, Senegalese news media said. Some reported that he had been infected with the coronavirus.
Habré took power during a coup with aid from the United States, and he received weapons and assistance from France, Israel and the United States to keep Libya, Chad’s northern neighbor, at bay. When Habré was convicted in 2016, he became the first former head of state to be convicted of crimes against humanity by another country’s courts.
Katharine “Kay” Bullitt, 96, civic activist and a fixture in Seattle’s philanthropy scene throughout the 20th century, died Aug. 22. She was an advocate for a dizzying array of causes spanning education, racial justice, international relations, politics, historic landmark preservation and the arts.
She is known for having a hand in many chapters of Seattle’s history — she helped found Bumbershoot — but locally, she is perhaps remembered the most as an early proponent of desegregating schools, even during tense times. In the 1960s, she became a champion of one of the earliest efforts to desegregate Seattle Public Schools, an initiative in which students would voluntarily transfer between Lowell and Madrona elementary schools. She also organized a citizens group that helped recruit parents to opt their kids into the district’s integration program, as she had with her own.
Beyond education causes, Bullitt traveled the world on peace missions, worked for restoration of the city’s Pioneer Square neighborhood and helped found a savings-and-loan bank for women. She received a number of honors for her work, including a United Nations Human Rights Award and a Jefferson Award for Public Service.
Don Everly, 84, the elder of the two Everly Brothers, the groundbreaking duo whose fusion of Appalachian harmonies and a tighter, cleaner version of big-beat rock ’n’ roll made them harbingers of both folk-rock and country-rock, died Aug. 21 at his home in Nashville.
On the strength of ardent two-minute teenage dramas like “Wake Up Little Susie” and “Cathy’s Clown,” Everly and his brother, Phil, who died in 2014, all but single-handedly redefined what, stylistically and thematically, qualified as commercially viable music for the Nashville of their day. In the process they influenced generations of hitmakers, from British Invasion bands like the Beatles and the Hollies to the folk-rock duo Simon and Garfunkel and the Southern California country-rock band the Eagles.
Micki Grant, 92, who in the early 1970s became the first woman to write the book, music and lyrics of a Broadway musical, “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope,” a soulful, spirited exploration of Black life, died Aug. 21 in New York. She would also became known for her work on another Broadway musical, “Your Arms Too Short to Box With God,” and for her seven years on the NBC soap opera “Another World.” She also had roles in “Guiding Light,” “The Edge of Night” and “All My Children.”
Igor Vovkovinskiy, 38, the Ukrainian-born tallest man in the United States, died of heart disease Aug. 20 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. Vovkovinskiy went to the Mayo Clinic in 1989 as a child seeking treatment for a tumor pressing on his pituitary gland that caused it to secrete abnormal levels of growth hormone. He grew to become the tallest man in the U.S. at 7 feet, 8.33 inches.
When he was 27, Vovkovinskiy was declared America’s tallest living person by a Guinness World Records adjudicator. Vovkovinskiy was called out by President Barack Obama during a campaign rally in 2009, when the president noticed him near the stage wearing a T-shirt that read, “World’s Biggest Obama Supporter.”
Tom T. Hall, 85, singer-songwriter who composed “Harper Valley P.T.A.” and sang about life’s simple joys as country music’s consummate blue collar bard, died Aug. 20 at home in Franklin, Tennessee.
Known as “The Storyteller” for his unadorned yet incisive lyrics, Hall composed hundreds of songs. Along with such contemporaries as Kris Kristofferson, John Hartford and Mickey Newbury, Hall helped usher in a literary era of country music in the early ’70s, with songs that were political, like “Watergate Blues” and “The Monkey That Became President,” deeply personal like “The Year Clayton Delaney Died,” and philosophical like “(Old Dogs, Children and) Watermelon Wine.” Singer-songwriter Jason Isbell performed Hall’s song “Mama Bake A Pie (Daddy Kill A Chicken)” when Hall was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019.