WBEZ | obituary http://www.wbez.org/tags/obituary Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka dies http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-comptroller-judy-baar-topinka-dies-111213 <p><p>Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, the first woman in Illinois to serve in two state constitutional offices, died early Wednesday, less than 24 hours after having a stroke, according to her office. She was 70.</p><p>She served as state treasurer and comptroller, and had a humor and political style that could pump up&nbsp; Illinois&rsquo; sometimes stuffy political scene.</p><p>&ldquo;I am a Republican. I&rsquo;m also a conservative, but I&rsquo;m not crazy,&rdquo; Topinka told a crowd supporting same-sex marriage last year.</p><p>That style helped her get elected to the state legislature in the 80s.</p><p>She ran statewide in the 90s and became the first female state treasurer, a job by all accounts she valued.</p><p>&ldquo;Judy Baar Topinka was someone who was both financially conservative, but also very reasonable in wanting to make sure that the State of Illinois paid its bills on time,&rdquo; said Laurence Msall, who heads the Civic Federation, a budget watchdog group. He said even in the 90s, Topinka was warning about bad spending and borrowing habits of state government and some of the practices that have earned Illinois its poor financial reputation.</p><p>As she won more elections, Topinka became more involved in the state Republican Party, becoming its chair. In 2004, she led the party to a candidate who would spectacularly lose against Barack Obama for the U-S Senate seat.</p><p>Remember Alan Keyes?</p><p>Two years later, Topinka made the decision to quit her post as treasurer to run for higher office. She ran against Rod Blagojevich for governor. It was an ugly, negative campaign. But after the fact, Topinka said she&rsquo;d felt an obligation to take on Blagojevich.</p><p>&ldquo;I gave up a job I absolutely adored. I loved being state Treasurer,&rdquo; she told WBEZ in January 2009. &ldquo;I was good at it. But he had to be stopped. I thought I could do it and I thought that good would triumph over evil. Obviously it did not.&rdquo;</p><p>Topinka lost that election.</p><p>After Blagojevich was arrested - when she was not a candidate for office - Topinka talked in a way most politicians don&rsquo;t: challenging the voters who went for Blagojevich, who eventually went to prison for corruption.</p><p>&ldquo;It makes us all look like a bunch of bozos,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Not only that we got taken to the cleaners by this guy for four years, but that we were stupid enough to elect him for a second four years. I mean, what does that say about the people of the State of Illinois?&rdquo;</p><p>But she didn&rsquo;t stay away from politics for long. In 2010, Topinka&nbsp; won the race for state comptroller, the person who writes the checks for the government.</p><p>Pat Brady, the former chair of the Illinois Republican Party, said her bounce-back - and moderate politics - should be a model for other Republicans running statewide.</p><p>&ldquo;In Illinois, if you want to win, look at the Judy Baar Topinka model, which is the model that Mark Kirk followed. Somewhat the model that Bruce Rauner followed,&rdquo; Brady said.</p><p>Pat Pavlich says her stands on politics were grounded in her neighborhood life. Pavlich used to be township supervisor for Riverside, Topinka&rsquo;s home community, and she&rsquo;s a long time friend.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know if you&rsquo;re familiar with the Houby Day Parade, but that was a favorite of Judy&rsquo;s. It was a part of her Czech heritage coming out,&rdquo; Pavlich said.</p><p>Pavlich says even in more recent years, when she&rsquo;d need a cane or walker, Topinka couldn&rsquo;t be kept from walking that Houby Day Parade, a festival about mushrooms.</p><p>Topinka had her vices. She smoked. She liked caffeine.</p><p>She also liked polka, and Pavlich says she just liked taking care of people and her beloved dogs. And she thrived on the theater of politics and the responsibility of government.</p><p>There were others interests, too. In the few years she was out of politics, Topinka returned to her early training - journalism - and briefly had her own radio show on a small west suburban-based station, WJJG. She called it The Judy Show.</p><p>And it was all she needed to let that charismatic personality come through.</p><p>Lawmakers who shared the political stage with Topinka spoke warmly of her public and private personality.</p><p>&quot;I am heartbroken to hear of the passing of my friend, Judy Baar Topinka,&quot; Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn said in a statement. &quot;Judy was a trailblazer in every sense of the word. Never without her signature sense of humor, Judy was a force of nature (who) paved the way for countless women in politics.&quot;</p><p>Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner, a Republican, called Topinka one of the state&#39;s &quot;all-time greats&quot; and noted her &quot;one-of-a-kind personality (that) brought a smile to everyone she met.&quot;</p><p>Topinka, a Republican and native of the Chicago suburb of Riverside, won a second term last month in a tough race with Democratic challenger Sheila Simon, the former lieutenant governor. She always described herself as someone who knew state government inside and out.</p><p>&quot;I know who makes things run. I know who talks and doesn&#39;t make things run. I know what agencies could be doing that they&#39;re not doing,&quot; she told the AP in 2006. &quot;I&#39;m just a worker bee.&quot;</p><p>Topinka was born in 1944 to William and Lillian Baar, the children of Czech and Slovak immigrants. They lived in Riverside, near Cicero and Berwyn, two blue-collar Chicago suburbs where Eastern European immigrants had built communities. Her mother ran a real estate business while her father was serving in World War II. After the war, she continued to manage the business, turning it into a prominent suburban firm.</p><p>She went to Northwestern University then became a reporter for a suburban Chicago newspaper chain. She married and had a son, Joseph, but divorced in 1981 after 16 years. That year, Topinka began serving in the Illinois House. She says she ran because corrupt officials were ignoring the community&#39;s needs.</p><p>During the comptroller&#39;s campaign, Topinka likened her job to being a &quot;skunk at a picnic&quot; &mdash; a reference to the task of writing checks to a state with a backlog of unpaid bills.</p><p>Topinka seemed to relish doting on people and offering motherly advice. One summer, she spent as much time warning reporters covering a Chicago parade about the dangers of the sun and urging them to wear hats and sun screen as she did talking about politics.</p><p>Those who knew Topinka personally knew a woman with flare. She played the accordion, loved to dance polkas and said about anything that came to mind. She loved her dogs and fed them McDonald&#39;s cheeseburgers. She spoke four languages, English, Czech, Spanish and Polish.</p><p>When she ran for governor in 2006 she told the AP that Illinois is &quot;a miraculously wonderful place to live.&quot;</p><p>But, she said, &quot;I feel it&#39;s being hurt and abused.&quot;</p><p>&quot;If I don&#39;t stop it, I&#39;d be complicit in watching it go down the tubes, and I don&#39;t want to do that,&quot; Topinka said. &quot;So I&#39;m running.&quot;</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/topinkabush.png" title="President Bush is introduced by Republican candidate for Illinois Governor Judy Baar Topinka, left, at a campaign fundraiser at the Drake Hotel, Friday, July 7, 2006, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)" /></div><p>Topinka previously served three terms as Illinois state treasurer, was a former Illinois GOP chairwoman and ran for governor in 2006, losing to now-imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.</p><p>Topinka was born in 1944 to William and Lillian Baar, the children of Czech and Slovak immigrants. They lived in Riverside, near Cicero and Berwyn, two blue-collar Chicago suburbs where Eastern European immigrants had built communities. Her mother ran a real estate business while her father was serving in World War II. After the war, she continued to manage the business, turning it into a prominent suburban firm.</p><p>She went to Northwestern University then became a reporter for a suburban Chicago newspaper chain. She married and had a son, Joseph, but divorced in 1981 after 16 years. That year, Topinka began serving in the Illinois House. She says she ran because corrupt officials were ignoring the community&#39;s needs.</p><p>During the comptroller&#39;s campaign, Topinka likened her job to being a &quot;skunk at a picnic&quot; &mdash; a reference to the task of writing checks to a state with a backlog of unpaid bills.</p><p>Topinka seemed to relish doting on people and offering motherly advice. One summer, she spent as much time warning reporters covering a Chicago parade about the dangers of the sun and urging them to wear hats and sun screen as she did talking about politics.</p><p>Those who knew Topinka personally knew a woman with flare. She played the accordion, loved to dance polkas and said about anything that came to mind. She loved her dogs and fed them McDonald&#39;s cheeseburgers. She spoke four languages, English, Czech, Spanish and Polish.</p><p>When she ran for governor in 2006 she told the AP that Illinois is &quot;a miraculously wonderful place to live.&quot;</p><p>But, she said, &quot;I feel it&#39;s being hurt and abused.&quot;</p><p>&quot;If I don&#39;t stop it, I&#39;d be complicit in watching it go down the tubes, and I don&#39;t want to do that,&quot; Topinka said. &quot;So I&#39;m running.&quot;</p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Judy Baar Topinka in Her Own Words</span></p><p>If you followed Topinka&#39;s life and career in Illinois you probably have heard her spout off. WBEZ gathered a few of our favorites here.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/180866235&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Topinka remembered</span></p><p>Many in Illinois politics offered their rememberances of Topinka Wednesday morning in statements and on social media</p><p>For Illinios state senator Christin Radogno, a fellow Republican, it was Topinka&rsquo;s refreshingly non-political style that first drew her in years ago:&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I wasn&rsquo;t particularly political at that time at all, but she really struck a cord with me. She was very blunt, honest, but always humorous&mdash;not an angry kind of a person.&nbsp; I mean, we have people who are blunt and honest but that have an angry undertone but she never had that. She definitely struck a cord with me, she was always blunt and honest.&quot;</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Early this morning, Illinois lost one of its all-time greats. <a href="https://twitter.com/CompTopinka">@CompTopinka</a> was a tremendous friend, and Diana and I will miss her deeply.</p>&mdash; Bruce Rauner (@BruceRauner) <a href="https://twitter.com/BruceRauner/status/542639529447141376">December 10, 2014</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Judy Baar Topinka was a trailblazer in every sense of the word. Her leadership improved Illinois &amp; paved the way for women in politics.</p>&mdash; Governor Pat Quinn (@GovernorQuinn) <a href="https://twitter.com/GovernorQuinn/status/542664979452022785">December 10, 2014</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Never without her signature sense of humor, Judy was a force of nature. Today the entire state mourns the loss of one of the greats.</p>&mdash; Governor Pat Quinn (@GovernorQuinn) <a href="https://twitter.com/GovernorQuinn/status/542665109550948352">December 10, 2014</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Statement from Mayor Emanuel on the passing of Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka <a href="http://t.co/t8jTeqDXAp">http://t.co/t8jTeqDXAp</a></p>&mdash; ChicagosMayor (@ChicagosMayor) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChicagosMayor/status/542687348832866304">December 10, 2014</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>IL politics lost its Polka Queen last night &amp; I lost a friend. Judy Baar Topinka was one of a kind. My prayers go out to her family.</p>&mdash; Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) <a href="https://twitter.com/SenatorDurbin/status/542685698244243457">December 10, 2014</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Saddened on passing of my friend Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, a trailblazer for women. Prayers are with her family</p>&mdash; Dan Rutherford (@RutherfordDan) <a href="https://twitter.com/RutherfordDan/status/542647672667373568">December 10, 2014</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>One of the great ones, Judy Baar Topinka sure knew how to have fun. <a href="http://t.co/hWEAmSbLSf">pic.twitter.com/hWEAmSbLSf</a></p>&mdash; Chicago City Clerk (@chicityclerk) <a href="https://twitter.com/chicityclerk/status/542687756812828672">December 10, 2014</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Illinois s lost a great public servant, and Illinoisans lost a champion and a good friend with passing of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.</p>&mdash; Bill Brady (@Bill_Brady) <a href="https://twitter.com/Bill_Brady/status/542679222347911168">December 10, 2014</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Judy Baar Topinka wasn&#39;t just a trailblazing woman; she was fun. Here, in second-hand duds. And slippers. :) <a href="http://t.co/RbIQx2FtYQ">pic.twitter.com/RbIQx2FtYQ</a></p>&mdash; Amanda Vinicky (@AmandaVinicky) <a href="https://twitter.com/AmandaVinicky/status/542682008481042432">December 10, 2014</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></p> Wed, 10 Dec 2014 06:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-comptroller-judy-baar-topinka-dies-111213 Mystery writer Barbara Mertz dies at 85 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/mystery-writer-barbara-mertz-dies-85-108343 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP169937524086.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>NEW YORK &mdash; Barbara Mertz, a best-selling mystery writer who wrote dozens of novels under two pen names, has died. She was 85.</p><p>Mertz died Thursday morning at her home, in Frederick, Md., her daughter Elizabeth told her publisher HarperCollins.</p><p>Mertz wrote more than 35 mysteries under the name Elizabeth Peters, including her most popular series about a daring Victorian archaeologist named Amelia Peabody. She also wrote 29 suspense novels under the pen name Barbara Michaels, and under her own name, she wrote nonfiction books about ancient Egypt.</p><p>Born Barbara Louise Gross, Mertz grew up in small-town Illinois during the Depression and went to the University of Chicago on scholarship, where she wrote on her website, &quot;I was supposed to be preparing myself to teach &mdash; a nice, sensible career for a woman.&quot;</p><p>But her true love was archaeology, and she soon found herself drawn to the department of Egyptology. She received a Ph.D. at the age of 23.</p><p>In the post-World War II era, she wasn&#39;t encouraged to enter the field. &quot;I recall overhearing one of my professors say to another, &#39;At least we don&#39;t have to worry about finding a job for her. She&#39;ll get married,&#39;&quot; she wrote.</p><p>She did, and while raising two children, she decided to try her hand at mystery writing. It wasn&#39;t until the family moved to Germany &mdash; and had the luxury of household help &mdash; that she wrote something that attracted an agent. She wrote two nonfiction books about Egypt under her own name before having her first fiction published, &quot;The Master of Blacktower,&quot; under the Michaels name.</p><p>&quot;When my agent called to say I&#39;d sold a novel, after I calmed down, she told me, &#39;You&#39;ll need a pen name,&#39;&quot; Mertz told The Associated Press in 1998. Barbara Michaels became her pseudonym for a series of books in the supernatural, Victorian gothic genre.</p><p>&quot;When I wrote a different kind, the publisher said I&#39;d need another pseudonym,&quot; she says. &quot;There&#39;s always the notion people are going to use the nasty word prolific about you.&quot;</p><p>Under the Peters name &mdash; a combination of her children&#39;s first names &mdash; she produced several mystery series, including 19 books about Peabody. When the series began, with &quot;Crocodile on the Sandbank&quot; in 1975, Amelia pursued her adventures while pregnant. The series continued until her son, Ramses, was grown.</p><p>&quot;Between Amelia Peabody and Indiana Jones, it&#39;s Amelia &mdash; in wit and daring &mdash; by a landslide,&quot; Paul Theroux wrote in a New York Times appreciation.</p><p>Mertz described the character to the AP as a sentimental woman who solved mysteries by guessing but nonetheless thought of herself as logical: &quot;I want to kick her sometimes.&quot;</p><p>As she wrote about her forceful heroine, Peters said she became more like her. Once, she said, &quot;I was mealy mouthed, timid, never spoke up, let people push me around.&quot;</p><p>She divorced in the 1970s, but continued her fiction writing despite financial concerns.</p><p>In 1998, Mertz received the grandmaster lifetime achievement award from the Mystery Writers of America, the top award from the mystery writers group.</p><p>&quot;It has taken me over a quarter of a century to realize that I love to write, and that this is what I should have focused on from the beginning,&quot; she wrote on her website.</p><p>Mertz is survived by her children, Elizabeth and Peter, and several grandchildren.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 08 Aug 2013 12:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/mystery-writer-barbara-mertz-dies-85-108343 Obituary for a man I knew for 10 minutes http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-05/obituary-man-i-knew-10-minutes-107233 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/flickr_Fuzzy%20Gerdes.jpg" style="float: right; height: 263px; width: 350px;" title="File: Chicago sunrise. (Flickr/Fuzzy Gerdes)" />Last week I got to meet a man in the last six hours of his life, although I obviously didn&rsquo;t know that at the time. I don&rsquo;t remember his name or where he was from, but I believe he was born in India. I shook his hand and looked at his face.&nbsp;He was visiting my roommate, dressed in a comically oversized suit and a cheap bowtie. He looked like he was dressed to perform at a child&rsquo;s birthday party, the kind of man who might be secretly versed in magic. With golden apple cheeks covered in whiskers, he had the kind of warmth that sticks with you, like someone out of a Bob Hope movie.</p><p>He and my roommate searched for a particular brand of cigarettes on the streets of Devon all day, and as they waited for the elevator, they were going upstairs to her boyfriend&rsquo;s place in retreat. They found out the cigarettes are illegal here, even though her boyfriend swore you could buy them on the street. I said goodbye to him as the elevator doors opened. I never saw him again. His bags are still in my apartment; his military duffle rests against my couch and his books linger on my table.</p><p>Shortly after meeting me, he fell out from the fourteenth story of our Edgewater apartment complex. The selling point of our building, which is otherwise the sort of economy buy that attracts college students and recent immigrants, is the view: a panoramic gaze upon the shores of an endless crush. On quiet days, I like to sit on my windowsill and watch the cold fabric continually wrinkle toward me, as if it were an invitation to meet. When he saw the lake and the sunrise that bursts into our apartment every morning, he decided to poke his head out to take a look.</p><p>My roommate described him as an adventurer, a &quot;reckless Lisbon type&quot; who wasn&rsquo;t afraid of anything, even something as unbeatable as gravity. He reminded me of Shakespeare&rsquo;s Mercutio, the type who narrowly stays out of trouble until it eventually finds him. My roommate trusted him to continue his record of narrow escape and went to the restroom. When she came back, he was gone. She figured that he went up to the roof to get a closer look and took her boyfriend with her to go get him, just in case. He wasn&rsquo;t there either. She was the one who found him on the sidewalk. I can still see the mark he left behind.</p><p>After the incident, I didn&rsquo;t see my roommate for days and wondered where the visitor had gone. She mentioned he would be staying with us. Was he too busy exploring? Were the sights that intoxicating he couldn&rsquo;t resist staying out all the time? On Monday morning, a neighbor approached me to tell me she had seen an ambulance earlier that day. She wondered if I had seen it too, or if the white sheet was a ghost only she had witnessed. I confessed I hadn&rsquo;t seen or heard anything and quickly dismissed it, sure everything was fine.</p><p>I went outside to look and the ambulances were still there, cleaning up the scene. I was still sure everything was fine. I never thought to connect the two events, until I got the news. I haven&rsquo;t been able to stop thinking about that moment since, my casual ignorance of how precious and fragile life is. I&rsquo;ve spent the time since reflecting and trying to take it in, mourning a man whose name I can&rsquo;t remember off the top of my head. Writers often want to put a period on things and give a closure to our lives. We want to celebrate the living and eulogize the departed to give their lives meaning. It&#39;s what we are born for.</p><p>I can&rsquo;t give his life meaning, because I hope it already had that. I hope that, as he fell, he had the time to pray (if he is a person who prays) and settle up his tab on good terms with the proprietors. I hope he had the time to reflect and make amends in his heart where forgiveness was needed and that his mind was clear enough to leave one final thought, something you would want to write down for later. I hope he got one last look at that view.</p><p>We live with a third girl, who we&rsquo;ll call Ann. In the last few days, she has found comfort in faith, revisiting the spirituality that helps the world make sense during times like these. But I don&rsquo;t believe in God. I believe in us. I believe in our power to find light in the darkness and create meaning out of chaos. Humanity is my faith, even when its tested in moments like these. Humanity brings me back to the light.</p><p>I keep thinking of a man I met on the train a few weeks ago. He was coming from Panama to visit his mother for Mother&#39;s Day. He&#39;s traveled the world and found one constant.</p><p>&quot;They always say the world is a terrible place and people are out to get you,&quot; he told me. &quot;But the one thing I&#39;ve learned is the world is good. The world is good. The world is good.&quot;</p><p>Even as I can&#39;t help but mourn for the visitor and for his family&#39;s loss, I have to remember this. The world is good.</p><p><em>Nico Lang writes about LGBTQ issues in Chicago. You can find Nico on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/nicorlang" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="http://www.twitter.com/nico_lang" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://achatwithnicolang.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 17 May 2013 11:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-05/obituary-man-i-knew-10-minutes-107233 Prominent Chicago peace activist Michael McConnell dies of cancer http://www.wbez.org/news/prominent-chicago-peace-activist-michael-mcconnell-dies-cancer-106558 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/boots.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated 10:35 a.m.</em></p><p dir="ltr" id="internal-source-marker_0.42524684720966965">Michael McConnell, a prominent Chicago anti-war activist, died Sunday, April 7, following a battle with cancer.</p><p>McConnell was regional director of the American Friends Service Committee and an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ.</p><p>At a 2010 panel recorded by <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/active-pacifism-waging-peace-through-active-nonviolence">WBEZ&#39;s <em>Chicago Amplified</em></a>, he said, &ldquo;Pacifism counters the &nbsp;myth that violence is the most powerful force. Pacifism must never be confused with passivity.&rdquo;</p><p>McConnell demonstrated this approach through his creativity in organizing marches, vigils and protests: He said pacifism was a form of combat, calling for tactics and strategy.</p><p>&ldquo;It has to be not only the head but the heart. And you have to have people understand war and peace on a visceral level.&quot;</p><p>In his own attempt to make the feeling of war more visceral, McConnell co-created <a href="https://afsc.org/campaign/eyes-wide-open">Eyes Wide Open,</a> an exhibit that displayed a pair of combat boots for every soldier that died in Iraq or Afghanistan.</p><p>The exhibit started in 2004 with 500 boots. As the casualties grew, so did the exhibit until 2007, when the casualties reached 3,500 and the project had to be divided into smaller exhibits.</p><p>Despite confronting violence almost daily, McConnell told a crowd that young people made him hopeful.</p><p>&ldquo;This is a generation that we can count on.&rdquo;</p><p>He agreed with a man at the event who called out, &ldquo;We may not get there with you.&rdquo; McConnell added, &ldquo;But you&rsquo;ll get there for us.&rdquo;</p><p><em>The visitation is Thursday, April 11, from 4 to 9 p.m. at John E. Maloney Funeral Home, 1359 W. Devon Ave. in Chicago. The memorial service is Friday, April 12, at 4 p.m., at Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, 619 W. Wellington Ave.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her at <a href="http://twitter.com/shannon_h" target="_blank">@shannon_h</a></em></p></p> Tue, 09 Apr 2013 08:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/prominent-chicago-peace-activist-michael-mcconnell-dies-cancer-106558 Former Peoria mayor, Jim Maloof, dies at 93 http://www.wbez.org/news/former-peoria-mayor-jim-maloof-dies-93-105044 <p><p><a href="http://bit.ly/SqMdB3">Jim Maloof, the former mayor of Peoria, Ill. died Sunday, the Peoria Journal-Star reports</a>.&nbsp;A family friend who answered the phone at the family&#39;s home confirmed the former mayor&#39;s death to The Associated Press.</p><p>Maloof served as Peoria&#39;s mayor from 1985 to 1997. A Peoria native, he&#39;s remembered as a business leader and chairman of the board of St. Jude Children&#39;s Research Hospital Midwest Affiliate, Methodist Medical Center.</p><p>Maloof biographer Doug Love says meeting entertainer Danny Thomas was a pivotal moment in Maloof&#39;s life. Thomas founded St. Jude&#39;s Children&#39;s Research Hospital.</p><p>Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce President Roberta Parks says Maloof was often called &quot;the cheerleading mayor&quot; because of his efforts to boost Peoria&#39;s economy and bring back a sense of pride among its residents.</p></p> Mon, 21 Jan 2013 11:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/former-peoria-mayor-jim-maloof-dies-93-105044 Hawaii's Inouye, senator and war hero, dies at 88 http://www.wbez.org/news/hawaiis-inouye-senator-and-war-hero-dies-88-104440 <p><p>HONOLULU &mdash; On Dec. 7, 1941, high school senior Daniel Inouye knew he and other Japanese-Americans would face trouble when he saw Japanese dive bombers, torpedo planes and fighters on their way to bomb Pearl Harbor and other Oahu military bases.</p><p>He and other Japanese-Americans had wanted desperately to be accepted, he said, and that meant going to war.</p><p>&quot;I felt that there was a need for us to demonstrate that we&#39;re just as good as anybody else,&quot; Inouye, who eventually went on to serve 50 years as a U.S. senator from Hawaii, once said. &quot;The price was bloody and expensive, but I felt we succeeded.&quot;</p><p>Inouye, 88, died Monday of respiratory complications at a Washington-area hospital. As a senator, he became one of the most influential politicians in the country, playing key roles in congressional investigations of the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals. He was the longest serving current senator and by far the most important for his home state of Hawaii.</p><p>&quot;Tonight, our country has lost a true American hero with the passing of Sen. Daniel Inouye,&quot; President Barack Obama said in a statement Monday. &quot;It was his incredible bravery during World War II &mdash; including one heroic effort that cost him his arm but earned him the Medal of Honor &mdash; that made Danny not just a colleague and a mentor, but someone revered by all of us lucky enough to know him.&quot;</p><p>Inouye turned toward life as a politician after his dreams of becoming a surgeon became impossible in World War II. He lost his right arm in a firefight with Germans in Italy in 1945.</p><p>Inouye&#39;s platoon came under fire and Inouye was shot in the stomach as he tried to draw a grenade. He didn&#39;t stop, crawling up a hillside, taking out two machine gun emplacements and grabbing a grenade to throw at a third.</p><p>That&#39;s when an enemy rifle grenade exploded near his right elbow, shot by a German roughly 10 yards away.</p><p>He searched for the grenade, then found it clenched in his right hand, his arm shredded and dangling from his body.</p><p>&quot;The fingers somehow froze over the grenade, so I just had to pry it out,&quot; Inouye said in recounting the moment in the 2004 book &quot;Beyond Glory: Meal of Honor Heroes in Their Own Words&quot; by Larry Smith.</p><p>&quot;When I pulled it out, the lever snapped open and I knew I had five seconds, so I flipped it into the German&#39;s face as he was trying to reload,&quot; he said. &quot;And it hit the target.&quot;</p><p>In 2000, when then-President Bill Clinton belatedly presented Inouye and 21 other Asian-American World War II veterans with the Medal of Honor, Clinton recounted that Inouye&#39;s father believed their family owed an unrepayable debt to America.</p><p>&quot;If I may say so, sir, more than a half century later, America owes an unrepayable debt to you and your colleagues,&quot; Clinton said.</p><p>Inouye became a senator in January 1963. As president pro tempore of the Senate, he was third in the line of presidential succession. He broke racial barriers on Capitol Hill as the first Japanese-American to serve in Congress.</p><p>Less than an hour after Inouye&#39;s passing, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Inouye&#39;s death to a stunned chamber. &quot;Our friend Daniel Inouye has died,&quot; Reid said somberly. Shocked members of the Senate stood in the aisles or slumped in their chairs.</p><p>He was elected to the House in 1959, the year Hawaii became a state. He won election to the Senate three years later and served there longer than anyone in American history except Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who died in 2010 after 51 years in the Senate.</p><p>Inouye died after a relatively brief hospitalization. Once a regular smoker, he had a portion of a lung removed in the 1960s after a misdiagnosis for cancer. Just last week, he issued a statement expressing optimism about his recovery.</p><p>Despite his age and illness, Inouye&#39;s death shocked members of the Senate.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m too broken up,&quot; said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who becomes president pro tem of the Senate. Leahy also is poised to take over the Senate Appropriations Committee, which Inouye helmed since 2009.</p><p>&quot;He was the kind of man, in short, that America has always been grateful to have, especially in her darkest hours, men who lead by example and who expect nothing in return,&quot; said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.</p><p>Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie will appoint a replacement, choosing from a list of three candidates selected by the state Democratic Party. &quot;We&#39;re preparing to say goodbye,&quot; Abercrombie said. &quot;Everything else will take place in good time.&quot;</p><p>Abercrombie met with the chairman of the state party on Monday afternoon, and the party leader said afterward that he hoped to have a replacement in office by the first day of the January session.</p><p>Whomever Abercrombie appoints would serve until a special election in 2014.</p><p>Inouye was handily re-elected to a ninth term in 2010 with 75 percent of the vote.</p><p>His last utterance, his office said, was &quot;Aloha.&quot;</p><p>Inouye spent most of his Senate career attending to Hawaii. At the height of his power, Inouye routinely secured tens of millions of dollars annually for the state&#39;s roads, schools, national lands and military bases.</p><p>Although tremendously popular in his home state, Inouye actively avoided the national spotlight until he was thrust into it. He was the keynote speaker at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and later reluctantly joined the Senate&#39;s select committee on the Watergate scandal. The panel&#39;s investigation led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.</p><p>Inouye also served as chairman of the committee that investigated the Iran-Contra arms and money affair, which rocked Ronald Reagan&#39;s presidency.</p><p>A quiet but powerful lawmaker, Inouye ran for Senate majority leader several times without success. He gained power as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee before Republicans took control of the Senate in 1994.</p><p>When the Democrats regained control in the 2006 elections, Inouye became chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. He left that post two years later to become chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.</p><p>Inouye also chaired the Senate Indian Affairs Committee for many years. He was made an honorary member of the Navajo nation and given the name &quot;The Leader Who Has Returned With a Plan.&quot;</p><p>He is the last remaining member of the Senate to have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.</p><p>Inouye was serving as Hawaii&#39;s first congressman in 1962, when he ran for the Senate and won 70 percent of the vote.</p><p>In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson urged Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who had won the Democratic nomination for president, to select Inouye as his running mate. Johnson told Humphrey that Inouye&#39;s World War II injuries would silence Humphrey&#39;s critics on the Vietnam War.</p><p>&quot;He answers Vietnam with that empty sleeve. He answers your problems with (Republican presidential candidate Richard) Nixon with that empty sleeve,&quot; Johnson said.</p><p>But Inouye was not interested.</p><p>&quot;He was content in his position as a U.S. senator representing Hawaii,&quot; Jennifer Sabas, Inouye&#39;s Hawaii chief of staff, said in 2008.</p><p>Inouye joined the Watergate proceedings at the strong urging of Senate Democratic leader Mike Mansfield. The panel&#39;s investigation of the role of the Nixon White House in covering up a burglary at Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate in June 1972 ultimately prompted the House to initiate impeachment proceedings against Nixon, who resigned before the issue reached a vote in the House.</p><p>In one of the most memorable exchanges of the Watergate proceedings, an attorney for two of Nixon&#39;s closest advisers, John Ehrlichman and Bob Haldeman, referred to Inouye as a &quot;little Jap.&quot;</p><p>The attorney, John J. Wilson, later apologized. Inouye accepted the apology, noting that the slur came after he had muttered &quot;what a liar&quot; into a microphone that he thought had been turned off following Ehrlichman&#39;s testimony.</p><p>Inouye achieved celebrity status when he served as chairman of the congressional panel investigating the Iran-Contra affair in 1987. That committee held lengthy hearings into allegations that top Reagan administration officials had facilitated the sale of weapons to Iran, in violation of a congressional arms embargo, in hopes of winning the release of American hostages in Iran and to raise money to help support anti-communist fighters in Nicaragua.</p><p>&quot;This was not a happy chore, but it had to be done,&quot; Inouye said of the hearings.</p><p>The panel sharply criticized Reagan for what it considered laxity in handling his duties as president. &quot;We were fair,&quot; Inouye said. &quot;Not because we wanted to be fair but because we had to be fair.&quot;</p><p>Inouye was born Sept. 7, 1924, to immigrant parents in Honolulu. After the Pearl Harbor bombings changed the course of his life, he volunteered for the Army at 18 and was assigned to the famed Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The team earned the nickname &quot;Go For Broke.&quot; Inouye rose to the rank of captain and earned the Distinguished Service Cross and Bronze Star.</p><p>His military unit became the most highly decorated ever for its size and length of service.</p><p>Unlike the families of many of his comrades in arms, Inouye&#39;s wasn&#39;t subjected to the trauma and indignity of being sent by the U.S. government during the war to internment camps for Japanese Americans.</p><p>&quot;It was the ultimate of patriotism,&quot; Inouye said at a 442nd reunion. &quot;These men, who came from behind barbed wire internment camps where the Japanese-Americans were held, to volunteer to fight and give their lives. ... We knew we were expendable.&quot;</p><p>Inouye spent the next 20 months after losing his right arm in military hospitals. During his convalescence, Inouye met Bob Dole, the future majority leader of the Senate and 1996 Republican presidential candidate, who also was recovering from severe war injuries. The two later served together in the Senate for decades.</p><p>&quot;With Sen. Inouye, what you saw is what you got and what you got was just a wonderful human being that served his country after the ill-treatment of the Japanese, lost an arm in the process,&quot; Dole said Monday. &quot;He was the best bridge player on our floor. He did it all with one arm.&quot;</p><p>Despite his military service and honors, Inouye returned to an often-hostile America. On his way home from the war, he often recounted, he entered a San Francisco barbershop only to be told, &quot;We don&#39;t cut Jap hair.&quot;</p><p>He returned to Hawaii and received a bachelor&#39;s degree in government and economics from the University of Hawaii in 1950. He graduated from George Washington University&#39;s law school in 1952.</p><p>Inouye proposed to Margaret Shinobu Awamura on their second date, and they married in 1949. Their only child, Daniel Jr., was born in 1964. When his wife died in 2006, Inouye said, &quot;It was a most special blessing to have had Maggie in my life for 58 years.&quot;</p><p>He remarried in 2008, to Irene Hirano, a Los Angeles community leader.</p></p> Tue, 18 Dec 2012 08:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/hawaiis-inouye-senator-and-war-hero-dies-88-104440 Jazz composer, pianist Dave Brubeck dies http://www.wbez.org/news/jazz-composer-pianist-dave-brubeck-dies-104208 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP810823016.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>HARTFORD, Conn.&nbsp; &mdash; Jazz composer and pianist Dave Brubeck, whose pioneering style in pieces such as &quot;Take Five&quot; caught listeners&#39; ears with exotic, challenging rhythms, has died. He was 91.</p><p>Brubeck died Wednesday morning at Norwalk Hospital of heart failure after being stricken while on his way to a cardiology appointment with his son Darius, said his manager Russell Gloyd. Brubeck would have turned 92 on Thursday.</p><p>Brubeck had a career that spanned almost all American jazz since World War II. He formed The Dave Brubeck Quartet in 1951 and was the first modern jazz musician to be pictured on the cover of Time magazine &mdash; on Nov. 8, 1954 &mdash; and he helped define the swinging, smoky rhythms of 1950s and &#39;60s club jazz.</p><p>The seminal album &quot;Time Out,&quot; released by the quartet in 1959, was the first ever million-selling jazz LP, and is still among the best-selling jazz albums of all time. It opens with &quot;Blue Rondo a la Turk&quot; in 9/8 time &mdash; nine beats to the measure instead of the customary two, three or four beats.</p><p>A piano-and-saxophone whirlwind based loosely on a Mozart piece, &quot;Blue Rondo&quot; eventually intercuts between Brubeck&#39;s piano and a more traditional 4/4 jazz rhythm.</p><p>The album also features &quot;Take Five&quot; &mdash; in 5/4 time &mdash; which became the Quartet&#39;s signature theme and even made the Billboard singles chart in 1961. It was composed by Brubeck&#39;s longtime saxophonist, Paul Desmond.</p><p>&quot;When you start out with goals &mdash; mine were to play polytonally and polyrhythmically &mdash; you never exhaust that,&quot; Brubeck told The Associated Press in 1995. &quot;I started doing that in the 1940s. It&#39;s still a challenge to discover what can be done with just those two elements.&quot;</p><p>After service in World War II and study at Mills College in Oakland, Calif., Brubeck formed an octet including Desmond on alto sax and Dave van Kreidt on tenor, Cal Tjader on drums and Bill Smith on clarinet. The group played Brubeck originals and standards by other composers, including some early experimentation in unusual time signatures. Their groundbreaking album &quot;Dave Brubeck Octet&quot; was recorded in 1946.</p><p>The group evolved into the Quartet, which played colleges and universities. The Quartet&#39;s first album, &quot;Jazz at Oberlin,&quot; was recorded live at Oberlin College in Ohio in 1953.</p><p>Ten years later, Joe Morello on drums and Eugene Wright on bass joined with Brubeck and Desmond to produce &quot;Time Out.&quot;</p><p>In later years Brubeck composed music for operas, ballet, even a contemporary Mass.</p><p>In 1988, he played for Mikhail Gorbachev, at a dinner in Moscow that then-President Ronald Reagan hosted for the Soviet leader.</p><p>&quot;I can&#39;t understand Russian, but I can understand body language,&quot; said Brubeck, after seeing the general secretary tapping his foot.</p><p>In the late 1980s, Brubeck contributed music for one episode of an eight-part series of television specials, &quot;This Is America, Charlie Brown.&quot;</p><p>His music was for an episode involving NASA and the space station. He worked with three of his sons &mdash; Chris on bass trombone and electric bass, Dan on drums and Matthew on cello &mdash; and included excerpts from his Mass &quot;To Hope! A Celebration,&quot; his oratorio &quot;A Light in the Wilderness,&quot; and a piece he had composed but never recorded, &quot;Quiet As the Moon.&quot;</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s the beauty of music,&quot; he told the AP in 1992. &quot;You can take a theme from a Bach sacred chorale and improvise. It doesn&#39;t make any difference where the theme comes from; the treatment of it can be jazz.&quot;</p><p>In 2006, the University of Notre Dame gave Brubeck its Laetare Medal, awarded each year to a Roman Catholic &quot;whose genius has ennobled the arts and sciences, illustrated the ideals of the church and enriched the heritage of humanity.&quot;</p><p>At the age of 88, in 2009, Brubeck was still touring, in spite of a viral infection that threatened his heart and made him miss an April show at his alma mater, the University of the Pacific.</p><p>By June, though, he was playing in Chicago, where the Tribune critic wrote that &quot;Brubeck was coaxing from the piano a high lyricism more typically encountered in the music of Chopin.&quot;</p><p>In 1996, he won a lifetime achievement award from the Grammys and in 2009 he was a Kennedy Center Honors recipient.</p><p>Brubeck told the AP the Kennedy Center award would have delighted his late mother, Elizabeth Ivey Brubeck, a classical pianist who was initially disappointed by her youngest son&#39;s interest in jazz. (He added that she had lived long enough to come to appreciate his music.)</p><p>Numerous jazz musicians were already on their way to Connecticut this week for a birthday concert in his Brubeck&#39;s honor that had been scheduled for Thursday in Waterbury. The show will go on as a tribute concert. Darius, an acclaimed pianist, was among those scheduled to perform along with saxophonist Richie Cannata, and Bernie Williams, former New York Yankees star and a jazz guitarist.</p><p>Born in Concord, Calif., on Dec. 6, 1920, Brubeck actually had planned to become a rancher like his father. He attended the College of the Pacific (now the University of the Pacific) in 1938, intending to major in veterinary medicine and return to the family&#39;s 45,000-acre spread.</p><p>But within a year Brubeck was drawn to music. He graduated in 1942 and was drafted by the Army, where he served &mdash; mostly as a musician &mdash; under Gen. George S. Patton in Europe. At the time, his Wolfpack Band was the only racially integrated unit in the military.</p><p>In an interview for Ken Burns&#39; PBS miniseries &quot;Jazz,&quot; Brubeck talked about playing for troops with his integrated band, only to return to the U.S. to see his black bandmates refused service in a restaurant in Texas.</p><p>Brubeck and his wife, Iola, had five sons and a daughter. Four of his sons &mdash; Chris on trombone and electric bass, Dan on drums, Darius on keyboards and Matthew on cello &mdash; played with the London Symphony Orchestra in a birthday tribute to Brubeck in December 2000.</p><p>&quot;We never had a rift,&quot; Chris Brubeck once said of living and playing with his father. &quot;I think music has always been a good communication tool, so we didn&#39;t have a rift. We&#39;ve always had music in common.&quot;</p></p> Wed, 05 Dec 2012 12:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/jazz-composer-pianist-dave-brubeck-dies-104208 Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys dies at 47 http://www.wbez.org/news/simmons-adam-yauch-beastie-boys-dead-47-98832 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/3662173894_5fcc382e81_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated on 5/04/2012 at 1:48 pm</em></p><p>Adam Yauch, the gravelly voiced Beastie Boys&nbsp;rapper who co-founded the seminal hip-hop group, has died at age&nbsp;47.</p><div>Yauch's representatives confirmed that the rapper died Friday&nbsp;morning in New York after a nearly three-year battle with cancer.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Also known as MCA, Yauch was diagnosed with a cancerous salivary&nbsp;gland in 2009. He had undergone surgery and radiation.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>At the time, Yauch expressed hope it was "very treatable," but&nbsp;his illness caused the group to cancel shows and delayed the&nbsp;release of its 2011 album, "Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2."</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Brooklyn-born Yauch created the Beastie Boys with high&nbsp;school friend Michael "Mike D" Diamond. Originally conceived as a&nbsp;hardcore punk group, it became a hip-hop trio after Adam&nbsp;"Ad-Rock" Horovitz joined.</div></p> Fri, 04 May 2012 15:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/simmons-adam-yauch-beastie-boys-dead-47-98832 Saying goodbye to Maggie Daley http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-28/saying-goodbye-maggie-daley-94386 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-28/Maggie Daley applaud.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>After hearing thoughts from local leaders, politicians and patrons of the arts in tribute to Chicago's former first lady Maggie Daley, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> turned to two people who knew her and her family well to learn more about Mrs. Daley. WBEZ blogger <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey" target="_blank">Lee Bey</a> served as deputy chief of staff to Mayor Daley; he and Mrs. Daley shared a passion for Chicago architecture and historic preservation. Bey <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey" target="_blank">writes about and photographs architecture</a> for WBEZ and is the executive director of the <a href="http://www.ccac.org/" target="_blank">Chicago Central Area Committee</a>. And <a href="http://www.alavelleconsulting.com/about.html" target="_blank">Avis LaVelle</a> served as Mayor Daley's press secretary before she became a board member with the <a href="http://www.afterschoolmatters.org/" target="_blank">After School Matters</a> program. She is also president and chief executive officer of <a href="http://www.alavelleconsulting.com/" target="_blank">A. LaVelle Consulting Services</a>.</p><p><em>Music Button: Phil Manley, "Make Good Choices", from the album Life Coach, (Thrill Jockey)</em><br> &nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 28 Nov 2011 14:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-28/saying-goodbye-maggie-daley-94386 Chicago bluesman David 'Honeyboy' Edwards dies at 96 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-blues-musician-david-honey-boy-edwards-dies-91229 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-30/AP070508064568.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>David "Honeyboy" Edwards, considered to be the last of a generation of musicians who brought music from the rural Mississippi Delta to the rest of America, died at his home in Chicago early Monday morning. He was 96 years old.</p><p>Honeyboy Edwards was born in 1915. He grew up in segregated Mississippi during Jim Crow. Though his dad was a share-cropper, the young Edwards did not work in the fields.</p><p>He figured out he could make more money by playing music on the weekends. But back then a black man would be thrown in jail if he was caught not working during the day. In 2008, Honeyboy Edwards told NPR's Andrea Seabrook that he just didn't go out until evening.</p><p>"I didn't come out until 5 or 6 o'clock in the evening," he said. "Sleep all day, sleep and cook and eat, stay in the house. That sun is hot, anyway. It ain't right out there."</p><p>Edwards left the hot son and tried to make a living on the road. He was a teenager when he learned from, and played with, older musicians like Son House and Robert Johnson who've since become legends.&nbsp;</p><p>In 2008, Edwards <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/david-honeyboy-edwards-still-going-strong" target="_blank">appeared on WBEZ's 848</a> to talk about how the blues should sound.</p><p>"Blues not supposed to be played fast. Blues supposed to be played slow," Edwards said. "And that's how a lot of people play the blues now. You don't be sit - your chords don't sit long enough to sound. You get down and get up too fast."</p><p><strong>"Honeyboy" Edwards performing at WBEZ</strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/TRgg_9TmI-w" width="420" frameborder="0" height="345"></iframe></p><p>Video from Chicago Tribune's YouTube channel</p><p>Music critic and journalist Tom Piazza (his recent book <em>Devil Sent the Rain</em> is about the music and writing made in hard times) says Johnson and Son House were the pioneers of the Delta blues, a style that influenced everyone from The Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan.</p><p>"The Delta blues is some of the strongest and most concentrated blues that you can find, and life in the Mississippi delta during the time that musical form was coming up was about as tough as you could get," Piazza says. "And Honeyboy Edwards was probably the last living link we had to that era."</p><p>Edwards made his first recording in 1942 when musicologist Alan Lomax went to Clarksdale, Miss., and recorded him for the Library of Congress. He made a few commercial recordings in the '50s but mostly he made a living playing in small clubs in Chicago, where he eventually settled.</p><p>In his memoir <em>The World Don't Owe Me Nothing</em>, Edwards wrote that he'd been "hustling all his life," and by the '60s he was tired. So he got jobs working construction to support his family. He got back into music in the '70s when he met musician Michael Frank, who recorded Edwards.</p><p>Edwards always liked the raw simplicity of country blues. When he was 92 years old he told Dan Bindert of WBEZ in Chicago less is more.</p><p>"You don't have to play a whole lot of guitar to be a good blues player. Some people plays too much guitar," Edwards said. "Stack it on top of each other the way it don't — you're working too fast. Blues not supposed to be played fast. Blues supposed to be played slow."</p><p>"You could kill a man," said Honeyboy Edwards, with just one chord.</p><div class="fullattribution"><p>Edwards won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 2010.</p><p>He died of congestive heart failure Monday in his Chicago apartment. A funeral is planned for Thursday.</p></div></p> Tue, 30 Aug 2011 12:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-blues-musician-david-honey-boy-edwards-dies-91229