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Bob Copper

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Categories: Military, Musicians, Writers/Editors

bcopper.jpgBob Copper, a legendary British folk singer, died on March 29. Cause of death was not released. He was 89.
Copper was born on a sheep farm in southern England to a family of folk singers. Inspired by nature and the rhythms of country life, generations of Coppers sang to entertain the relatives and neighbors on long, winter nights.
In 1898, a woman named Kate Lee visited the town of Rottingdean and wrote down the words and music to 50 songs sung by Bob’s grandfather, James “Brasser” Copper. Bob’s father, Jim Copper, penned the words to dozens more, including “The Banks of the Sweet Primroses,” “The Honest Laborer” and “Shepherd of the Downs.”
As a teen, Bob Copper served in the Household Cavalry and performed his family’s music at pubs and parties during leave. When the British Broadcasting Corp. aired a live performance of Copper and his father singing in a pub garden, Bob’s career took off.
For 50 years, Copper was a driving force behind the British folk revival. He immortalized his family’s melodies on numerous records and in three songbooks, one of which — “A Song for Every Season” — won the 1971 Robert Pitman Literary Prize. In 2001, Copper received a lifetime achievement honor from the BBC’s Folk Awards. He was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire a few days before he died.
Listen to the Copper Family

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John Sack

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Categories: Media, Military, Writers/Editors

jsack2.jpg John Sack’s first article for Esquire Magazine ran for 33,000 words. It appeared behind an all-black cover bearing the inscription: “Oh My God – We Hit a Little Girl.” The story, which followed an infantry company from training at Fort Dix, N.J., to its first battle in Vietnam, remains the longest article the magazine has ever published.
At the time, Sack’s writing style was considered New Journalism for it adopted a narrative approach that told the story through the eyes and thoughts of its participants. The infantry company’s story was retold by Sack in “M,” a book that was nominated by the NYU Department of Journalism as one of the top journalistic works of the 20th century.
Sack was only 15 years old when he launched his journalism career as a stringer for the Mamaroneck Daily Times at the Boy Scouts of America’s Camp Siwanoy in New York. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from Harvard University in 1951 and volunteered for Army service in Korea. During his enlisted years, he wrote dispatches for the Army newspaper, Pacific Stars and Stripes, and freelanced for both United Press and Harper’s.
When he returned to America, Sack started writing humor for The New Yorker. Over the next eight years, he penned more satire for the magazine than anyone except S.J. Perelman and James Thurber. In the 1960s, he worked as a writer, producer and special correspondent for CBS News, served as the CBS bureau chief in Madrid and attended graduate school at Columbia University.
Sack contributed articles to Esquire for 45 years, and covered wars in Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. His series of interviews with Lt. William H. Calley Jr., who was convicted of massacring Vietnamese civilians in My Lai, culminated in a legal battle over shield laws and journalistic privilege. Sack was arrested and indicted on federal felony charges for refusing to testify against Calley and for refusing to surrender his notes and tapes to prosecutors. The case was eventually dropped.
Sack was the only journalist to cover every American war for the past 50 years. He also wrote 10 books, including the controversial title, “An Eye for an Eye.” The nonfiction book caused an uproar because Sack reported that at the end of World War II, thousands of Jewish Holocaust survivors ran more than 1,200 concentration camps, where they tortured and killed German civilians, including women and children.
Sack died on March 27 of complications from bone marrow cancer. He was 74.

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Erick Friedman

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Categories: Education, Musicians

efriedman.jpgErick Friedman, a violin virtuoso and Yale music professor, died on March 30 of cancer. He was 64.
A child prodigy, Friedman studied at the Juilliard School of Music and made his New York debut when he was only 14. Three years later, he trained under Jascha Heifetz and played at Carnegie Hall.
In 1960, Friedman signed a contract with RCA that allowed him to play with the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony and London Symphony. He became a regular guest musician and conductor at music festivals all over the world, and led the Garrett Lakes Summer Festival Orchestra in Maryland for more than a decade.
When an automobile accident injured his left arm and hand in the late 1980s, Friedman became a professor of violin and chamber music at Yale University. He continued teaching there until his death.
Friedman was the recipient of the 2000 Ignace J. Paderewski Award for Distinguished Contributions to Society and Culture. He also won a Grammy Award in 1996 for best historical album for his participation in “The Heifetz Collection.”

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Paulo Niemeyer

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Categories: Medicine

Dr. Paulo Niemeyer, one of Brazil’s most renowned neurosurgeons, died on March 10 from complications of heart surgery. He was 89.
Neimeyer was a medical pioneer in Latin America who developed techniques to stop involuntary movements in patients with Parkinson’s disease. He also designed a surgical technique that stopped seizures in 50 percent of the epilepsy patients he treated. Unfortunately, when practiced by other physicians, the technique could not reproduce the same successful results.
A long-time member of the National Academy of Medicine, Neimeyer treated many well-known Brazilians, including two of the country’s former presidents. He also founded the Brazilian League of Epilepsy.

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Michael King

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Categories: Education, Media, Writers/Editors

mking.jpgMichael King, a New Zealand author and the leading historian of the indigenous Maori, died on March 30 in an automobile accident. He was 59.
Although he was born in Wellington to parents who relished their Irish and Scottish roots, King was more interested in the native culture of New Zealand. He studied English and history at Victoria University, and earned a master’s degree from the University of Waikato.
King taught journalism for a while, then became a reporter for the Waikato Times. There he was assigned to cover Maori issues, a beat that brought him into close contact with the Tainui tribes. Over time, King became fluent in the Maori language and protocol, skills he used to write the books “Moko: Maori Tattooing in the 20th Century” and “Maori: A Photographic and Social History.” He also penned “Te Puea” and “Whina” — biographies of charismatic Maori leaders, Princess Te Puea Heringa and Dame Whina Cooper.
King’s ground-breaking book, “Being Pakeha: An Encounter With New Zealand and the Maori Renaissance,” was the first to examine the non-Maori ingredients of New Zealand society and culture. It also included what he called a “selective and ethnic autobiography” of his childhood. His professional life was recounted in the 1992 sequel, “Hidden Places: A Memoir in Journalism.”
In the 1990s, King developed a reputation as a respected literary biographer for chronicling the lives of authors Frank Sargeson and Janet Frame. His final book, “The Penguin History of New Zealand,” became a surprise best-seller.
A former president of the New Zealand Society of Authors, King was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 1988 for services to New Zealand literature. He received the first Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement for nonfiction in 2003. In December, King was named the New Zealand Herald’s New Zealander of the Year. Before the accident that took his life, King was fighting cancer.
His wife, Maria Jungowska, was also killed when their car hit a tree and burst into flames south of Auckland. She was a respected book editor who specialized in New Zealand history, biographies and children’s fiction and nonfiction.
Watch a Tribute to Michael and Maria From ZB News

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