- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 3, 2006

EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) — Bill DeArango, a master guitarist who played with some of the greatest names in jazz and mentored later talents, died Dec. 26 of pneumonia at a home for senior citizens in East Cleveland. He was 85.

Born in Cleveland, he moved in the 1940s to New York City, where he was soon performing and making recordings with Sarah Vaughn, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and other jazz legends. Esquire magazine named Mr. DeArango to its “All-American Jazz Band” in 1946.

Two years later, he returned to Cleveland and from there guided several generations of musicians.

In the 1960s and ‘70s, Mr. DeArango ran a University Heights music store known for its eclectic offerings. He dabbled in Jimi Hendrix guitar styles and listed Duke Ellington and Prince among his personal favorites.

Evelyn F. Grubb, 74,fought for POWs

MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — Evelyn Fowler Grubb, who worked to gain recognition for prisoners of war after her husband was shot down and captured in North Vietnam in 1966, died Dec. 28 of breast cancer at her home, her family said. She was 74.

She initially got little information from federal officials after her husband, Air Force Capt. Wilmer Newlin “Newk” Grubb, disappeared. So she contacted other wives facing similar situations. They formed groups that eventually became the National League of POW/MIA Families.

As its national coordinator in Washington in 1971 and 1972, she played a part in creating the league’s “You Are Not Forgotten” black-and-white flag.

Her husband’s photograph was released by his captors as an example of “humane” treatment of American prisoners of war, and Mrs. Grubb spent years hoping to be reunited with her husband.

Mrs. Grubb had to wait eight years to learn her husband was killed in captivity shortly after his capture. While the North Vietnamese said he died from injures suffered while being shot down, Mrs. Grubb thought he was probably tortured to death.

A native of Pittsburgh, Mrs. Grubb moved to Florida in 1977.

Arlette Gruss, 75,circus animal trainer

PARIS (AP) — Arlette Gruss, an animal trainer who went on to run her own traveling circus, died Jan. 2 of cancer at her home in Fontaine-Saint-Martin, in western France, said Dominique Texier, tour director of the troupe. She was 75.

Born into a circus family, Mrs. Gruss was a well-known animal trainer — especially for panthers — who retired from the ring in 1984 to found a touring troupe that bears her name.

One of Mrs. Gruss’ three children, Gilbert, will take over the troupe, which employs 120 persons.

Mrs. Gruss, a knight in France’s prestigious Legion of Honor, will be honored in a ceremony Friday at a church in Fontaine-Saint-Martin.

Judith T. Stark, 96,dancer, philanthropist

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Judith Thomas Stark, a dancer turned philanthropist who supported artists and art institutions, died Dec. 1 of a stroke at her home, her son said. She was 96.

After performing as a professional dancer and teaching in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Mrs. Stark began her philanthropy in 1968 by forming the Judith S. Thomas Foundation with her profits from the sale of a speaker company that she developed with her ex-husband, William Thomas.

The foundation donated directly to needy artists rather than to established arts groups.

In 1973, she and her second husband, Milton R. Stark, renovated an old theater and opened it as the nonprofit Theater Vanguard. Modern dancers, contemporary composers and experimental filmmakers were paid entirely from box office receipts.

The theater closed in 1978 from a lack of funds.

Mrs. Stark also was an original founder of the Los Angeles County Music Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art, and supported the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the UCLA Hammer Museum.

Thomas O’Donnell, 69,investment banker

WESTLAKE, Ohio (AP) — Thomas O’Donnell, who led a major Midwest investment banking firm and a national securities industry group, died Dec. 30 at a home for people with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 69.

The former chairman of McDonald & Co. Investments and the Securities Industry Association, headed McDonald, one of the region’s most prominent investment and brokerage houses, from 1989 until 1998, when the firm was sold to KeyCorp.

In 1993, he was named chairman of the industry group, at that time the voice of 700 of the country’s largest securities firms.

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