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Les Gray

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Categories: Musicians

lgray.jpgThomas Lesley Gray, the lead singer of 1970s glam rock group Mud, died on Feb. 21 from a heart attack. He was 57.
Gray played the trumpet in his school band and joined a traditional jazz band when he was 12 years old. He later wrote commercials for an advertising agency and played in a skiffle group called The Mourners with his younger brother, Pete.
In 1966, Gray, drummer Dave Mount, bassist Ray Stiles and guitarist Rob Davis formed Mud. The band won a talent contest and appeared on “The Basil Brush Show,” then toured Great Britain as the opening act for Jack Jones. Mud produced more than a dozen hit singles, including the chart-toppers “Lonely This Christmas,” “Tiger Feet” and “Oh Boy.” “Tiger Feet” was the biggest-selling single of 1974.
The band split up three years later, and Gray launched a solo career. He released five singles between 1977 and 1982, and toured as Les Gray’s Mud. In 1981, he also recorded “Rock on Elvis” under the name Tulsa McLean.
After smoking 50 cigarettes a day, Gray spent his final years battling throat cancer. Although doctors wanted to remove his voicebox, he opted for chemotherapy instead.
Watch Classic Mud Video Clips

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Edward Zubler

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Categories: Military, Scientists

Edward G. Zubler once had a bright idea.

After doing six years of research at General Electric, he developed the halogen lamp in 1959. Zubler and his team of engineers improved standard incandescent light bulbs by adding a halogen gas. The halogen recycled tungsten deposits, creating a brighter, longer-lasting light bulb. Halogen lamps are mostly used in automobile headlights, floodlights and in studio lighting.

For his work in advancing lighting technology, Zubler earned numerous patents and awards. In 1978, his portrait and biography were put on display in an exhibit to technical pioneers in lighting at the Toshiba Science Institute in Kawasaki, Japan.

Prior to joining GE, Zubler received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Canisius College in New York, and a doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of Notre Dame. He served as a combat medic in the U.S. Army’s 102nd Infantry Division in Europe during World War II, earning a Purple Heart for a shrapnel injury to his back and a bayonet cut to his knee, and two Bronze Star Medals for valor.

Zubler died on March 20 from complications of surgery. He was 79.

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John C. West

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Categories: Education, Military, Politicians

jwest.jpgJohn Carl West, the former governor of South Carolina, died on March 21 from cancer. He was 81.
West graduated from The Citadel and attained the rank of Army major during World War II for deciphering Japanese signals for the Pentagon. At the end of the war, he served in Japan as part of the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey and earned an Army Commendation Medal. In 1946, he returned to the states, obtained a law degree from the University of South Carolina and delved into politics.
West was elected as a Democrat to the state Senate in 1954 and became the state’s lieutenant governor in 1967. When he won the gubernatorial race in 1970, West pledged to rid the state government of “any vestige of discrimination” and to make it “colorblind.” Known as a man who embraced change, West hired James Clyburn as a senior aide. Clyburn later ran the State Human Affairs Commission that West set up in 1972, and became the state’s first black U.S. representative since Reconstruction.
During his tenure as governor, West created a state housing authority to run programs to help low-income individuals and families obtain affordable housing. He also passed a law that required mandatory auto insurance for all drivers and vetoed a bill re-establishing capital punishment. The Legislature later overrode the veto.
Once his term in office ended in 1975, West set up law practices in Camden and Hilton Head, S.C. Two years later, President Jimmy Carter appointed him ambassador to Saudi Arabia, where he served until 1981. His final years were spent teaching Middle East studies at the University of South Carolina. The John C. West Forum on Politics and Policy, a nonpartisan, nonprofit civic leadership institute, was established at USC in 2002.

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Jenkin Lloyd Jones Sr.

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Categories: Media, Writers/Editors

Jenkin Lloyd Jones Sr.’s journalistic efforts informed and enlightened the people of Oklahoma for 50 years.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Wisconsin in 1933, Jones became a reporter for the Tulsa Tribune, an afternoon daily owned and published by his father, Richard Lloyd Jones Sr. Over the next eight years, Jones wrote hundreds of stories, covered the Nuremberg war crimes trials and interviewed missionary Albert Schweitzer in Africa.
Jones wrote a moderately conservative weekly column that was syndicated in more than 100 newspapers. He served as the Tulsa Tribune’s editor from 1941 to 1988, and as its publisher until 1991. The paper folded the following year after a 51-year joint operating agreement with the Tulsa World collapsed.
A former president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Jones was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 1972. He died on Feb. 24 at the age of 92.

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Vilayat Khan

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Categories: Musicians

Ustad Vilayat Hussain Khan, one of India’s leading sitar players, was born into a musical family. He could trace his lineage back six or seven generations to Miyan Tansen, the court musician of Emperor Akbar of the late 16th century.
Khan gave his first public performances at six, and began recording his own music two years later. A determined child prodigy, he sometimes practiced until his fingers bled.
Khan was credited with creating his own style of playing the sitar, and performed in venues all over the world. He twice received the Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan, but rejected these honors because he said the awards committee was too incompetent to judge his artistic abilities.
Khan had a second home in New Jersey. He frequently lectured at Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael, Calif., and was scheduled to give a performance this spring at Zankel Hall in New York City. He also composed music for the films, “Jalsaghar” and “Guru.”
Khan died on March 13. Cause of death was not released. He was 76.

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