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Luke G. Williams

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Categories: Business

lwilliams.jpgNeed to know the current time and temperature? Well, whenever you see a building featuring a sign with this alternating information, think of Luke and Chuck Williams.
In 1950, the brothers came up with the idea, formed American Sign and Indicator Corp., and hired Ed Schulenberg, president of the Time-O-Matic Co., to build a single panel of lights that would show the time for a few seconds and then the temperature for a few seconds. That sign was posted on the Seattle First National Bank building in Spokane, Wash., and became an instant hit.
Other banks and shops wanted to buy the signs too, but each one cost $12,000, which was more than most businesses could afford. So the Williams brothers decided to lease the technology. In 1981, they sold the company to the Brae Corp. for $20 million. Chuck Williams died in 1993.
Luke Williams then built the American Electronic Sign Co., where he developed giant, electronic scoreboards for sports stadiums. He sold that business to 3M in 2000. Both ventures were chronicled in his 2002 autobiography, “Luke G. Williams: An American Entrepreneur.”
Born in Pinecroft, Wash., Williams graduated from high school and served as a torpedo man in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He planned to go to college after the service to become an entomologist, but joined forces with his brother to build the family’s sign-making business instead.
Williams chaired the board of directors of the Association of Washington Business from 1967 to 1969, and was the only Washington businessman to chair the National Association of Manufacturers. He also served on the Spokane City Council and founded United for Washington, one of the state’s first political action committees.
Williams died on April 5. Cause of death was not released. He was 80.

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Nikita Bogoslovsky

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Categories: Musicians

nbogoslovsky.jpgNikita Bogoslovsky, a Soviet-era composer who wrote more than 300 scores, died on April 4. Cause of death was not released. He was 90.
Born in St. Petersburg, Bogoslovsky became one of the Soviet Union’s most beloved composers for writing ballads such as “Dark Night,” “I Dreamed of You for Three Years” and “Beloved City.” During World War II, he traveled to the front lines to give intimate concerts at military hospitals.
When he wasn’t composing music for 120 films and 80 shows, Bogoslovsky wrote nine humor books, including the popular “Notes on the Brims of a Hat.”
Bogoslovsky was memorialized by astronomers who named a small planet after him. In 1998, a plate was set on the Star Square in Moscow in his honor.

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Joseph Zimmermann Jr.

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Categories: Business, Military, Scientists

Joseph James Zimmermann Jr. was running his own air-conditioning and heating company in 1948. He couldn’t afford to hire a secretary to take calls when he was out of the office, so he invented the answering machine.
Patented in 1949, the Electronic Secretary Model R1 weighed 80 pounds. It featured a box containing a control panel with a 78 rpm record player inside. When the phone rang, the machine would lift the telephone receiver from its cradle and play a recorded greeting. A wire recorder on top of a second box would then tape messages for 30 seconds.
Zimmermann teamed up with George W. Danner to launch Electronic Secretary Industries. By 1957, they had sold more than 6,000 answering machines. General Telephone Corp., which later became GTE, purchased the company and its patent rights that year.
A Milwaukee native, Zimmerman earned an electrical engineering degree from Marquette University. He served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps during World War II, and was one of the first soldiers to land on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, on D-Day.
When he returned to the states, Zimmerman spent many hours in his basement developing useful inventions. He created a “dial-a-lecture” system that allowed college students to hear prerecorded lessons by phone, a security device that automatically dialed a phone number in case of an emergency and a magnetic recorder used to monitor heart patients.
Zimmermann died on March 31. Cause of death was not released. He was 92.

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Lawrence McGrew

14 comments

Categories: Sports

Lawrence McGrew, the former NFL linebacker who was once the victim of identity theft, died on April 2. Cause of death was not released. He was 46.

The real Lawrence McGrew played football at Contra Costa College and the University of Southern California, and started in two Rose Bowls. During the second round of the 1980 draft, he was selected by the New England Patriots as an outside linebacker.

McGrew spent the next 11 years in the NFL, playing for the Patriots, the Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants. He helped New England reach the Super Bowl in 1986 and earned a championship ring when New York beat Buffalo in the 1991 Super Bowl.

Last summer, a Colorado thief named Frederick William McGrew III illegally adopted Lawrence’s name and career statistics to get a job as an assistant football coach at Gavilan College in California. The impostor was fired five weeks later and arrested. He told police he was Lawrence’s nephew and repeated the claim at his initial court appearance, but it was all a lie.

In December, Frederick McGrew was sentenced to three years of supervised probation and 160 hours of community service for stealing Lawrence’s identity and for fraudulently using an Ohio woman’s Social Security number.

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Marshall Frady

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Categories: Hollywood, Media, Writers/Editors

Marshall Bolton Frady, an Emmy Award-winning journalist and biographer, died on March 9 from cancer. He was 64.
Frady attended Furman University and the University of Iowa. During the 1960s and 1970s, the Georgia native wrote for Newsweek, the Saturday Evening Post, Harper’s and Life Magazine. He covered the civil rights movement and interviewed several civil rights leaders, including the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Frady spent seven years as the host and chief correspondent for the ABC News documentary series, “Close Up.” In 1982, he won an Emmy for “Soldiers of the Twilight,

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