The Memorial Wall

Joseph Buzzetta

Joseph Buzzetta

December 30, 1936 - January 15, 2023

Joseph C. “Joe" Buzzetta, 86, of Saint James, NY, passed away on Sunday, January 15th, 2023, of dementia and Parkinson's disease.

He was born on December 30th, 1936, in Ozone Park, NewYork to John and Anna Buzzetta. His parents were from Italian immigrant families and he grew up with a wonderful close extended family and his maternal grandmother, Anna DiGennaro, was a second mother to Joe and his younger sister Johann.

When Joe was in his early teens, his family moved out to Centerport, New York around 1950, as his parents had purchased a partnership in a budding new Italian restaurant, the Bella Vista, a beautiful old Victorian once owned by the Whitney family. The Buzzetta family was "all hands-on deck" at the restaurant, making their home in its upstairs bedrooms for the first 5 or so years they were in business. Joe got a first-hand education there on how to run a family business from his father John, who was as great with people as he was meticulous in his record keeping and accounting.

The Bella Vista soon became a hot-spot for car clubs meetings and sports car rallies, which fueled Joe's love for automobiles. In addition to working at the restaurant, Joe got many car-relatedjobs around town and thus started his foray into the car business.

He attended and graduated from Huntington High School and met the love of his life, Valerie, on a blind date. The pair married soon after they met in 1957 as Joe was about to ship off to his Army post in Frankfurt, Germany. While Joe had to attend to his military duties during the week,weekends were often spent exploring Germany and bordering countries by car. Joe and Val's adventure really gained traction when they bought an Austin-Healey and started participating in club racing events and touring Europe. After seeing the successful results of his competitors driving the Porsche 356, they made the switch and thus began Joe’s racing legacy.After returning to the US at the end of his service, Joe’s love for racing continued.

As his amateur racing achievements started to add up, Joe gained national and international notoriety and his racing career really took off after getting contracted to race for the factory Porsche racing team in 1964. His success continued throughout his career with the brand, where he earned a reputation for being fast, earning consistent results, and always bringing the car home in one piece. Joe’s most notable success was winning the 1967 Nürburgring 1000KM race and multiple class victories at Daytona, Sebring and other races. He raced for Porsche through 1969.

While enjoying much success on the racetrack, Joe realized that his passion was in cars, and left the Bella Vista with his father’s blessing to start a repair shop called Competition Engineering with his racing mechanic and partner, Oscar Rubio. As he built his reputation on the racetrack, he also worked on growing the business and raising his family with Valerie. They welcomed three children during the 1960’s; Joseph Jr in 1963; James in 1966, and Nancy in 1968. Realizing that their growing family needed to put down some roots in the community, they built a beautiful home in Nissequogue in the early 70’s where they resided for many happy years before moving just one village over to Head of the Harbor, which they called home for the rest of their lives.

Due to his incredible success racing Porsches, he was able to get an audience with the franchise and the Porsche family itself granted him a retail point in Smithtown. Once he had a foothold, he worked hard to grow the tiny business and nurtured it into a successful enterprise, adding BMW, Mercedes, and Datsun (later Nissan) over the years.

During those formative years Joe also joined the Nissequogue Golf Club, which was very near and dear to him and he served on some early boards there to help guide and shape the foundling club.

In addition to his growing love for golf, Joe learned to fly and became an excellent pilot, he also grew to love Vermont and was an avid skier, and was equally interested in boats and enjoyed navigating the waters of the Northeast. Fitness was another of his interests, and not a day went by that he did not work out in some capacity.

Eventually, he and Oscar went their separate ways and the business continued growing,eventually spanning multiple locations for Mercedes and Sprinter Vans, BMW, Infiniti, and Subaru stores and employing approximately 550 Long Islanders on staff.

Joe treasured his time at the office, continuing to go in on a consistent basis up until his final couple of years. Even in his last months, he would often ask his children how business was, and expressed interest in getting back to the office as soon as he could. His family believes that the business was indeed the central passion that drove his life, and there was never a day that went by that he wasn’t thinking on it.

Joe was predeceased many years ago by his beloved younger sister Johann, his parents, and in 2015 by his beloved wife Valerie. He is survived by his sons Joseph Jr. (Hasmik) James (Laura) and daughter Nancy (Pablo); his beloved grandchildren; James, Daniel, Christopher, Valerie, Jennifer, Isabella, Joseph III, Pablo, and Lailla, and his great- grandchildren, Blair and James III.

In addition, he leaves behind many other beloved family, friends, and business associates. He was both beloved by, and loved, his team at the dealerships, and will be greatly missed but neverforgotten.

Remembering Joseph Buzzetta

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Sandy Jacobs

Sandy Jacobs

January 20, 1942 - January 13, 2023

Sandra “Sandy” Jacobs, the first woman to serve as El Segundo’s mayor and as president of the local chamber of commerce, has died, according to the city. She was 80.

Jacobs, who also served on the boards of multiple local organizations, died earlier this month, El Segundo announced on Friday, Jan. 13. In 2007, Jacobs was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Yet, she remained active despite her limitations.

“Sandy’s contributions to the City of El Segundo cannot be overstated,” the city said in a press release. “She was integral to shaping the city into the thriving community that it is today.”

The former mayor was born Sandra Carol Garrard on Jan. 20, 1942, in Kentucky. Her family moved to El Segundo in the early 1950s when her father got a job in the aerospace industry.

She graduated from El Segundo High School in 1960 and then attended the University of the Pacific in Stockton. During her time at the university, she worked as a camp counselor for the Girl Scouts, earned a bachelor’s degree in group work, recreation and elementary education — and met her husband, Karl Jacobs.

Her first job after graduating was teaching children with autism.

Besides Stockton, the Jacobs family, including daughter Jennifer, also lived in Reseda and Phoenix before moving back to El Segundo in 1981.

Jacobs eventually became president of her family’s business, South Bay Welder’s Supply, Inc. But she didn’t stop there. She also opened her own business, House of Cards, and co-owned the jewelry company Pinsational with her husband.

Jacobs became the first woman president of the El Segundo Chamber of Commerce in 1989, and made further history in 1996 — by becoming mayor.

She served as the city’s elected leader until 1998 and then continued as mayor pro-tem until 2004.

El Segundo did not have another woman mayor for 16 years. Suzanne Fuentes was El Segundo’s second woman mayor, serving from 2014 to 2018.

Jacobs was more than an elected official, however.

She also served on more than a dozen civic and charitable organizations, including the El Segundo Rotary Club and the El Segundo Economic Development Committee; was a founding member of Downtown El Segundo, Inc.; was the first president of the Library Board of Trustees; and was named Switzer Center’s South Bay Woman of the Year in 1999.

She also contributed regularly to Castaway Kids, an organization in Guaymas, Mexico, that assists children and families with education and housing.

And before, during and after serving on the City Council, Jacobs played a vital role in the downtown revitalization project, as well as the town’s mural program and downtown signage initiative.

Mayor Drew Boyles said in a statement that Jacobs was always generous with her time, and was a source of expertise and encouragement to the next generation.

“She was a dear friend and mentor to me and many others in our wonderful city,” Boyles said in the statement. “She will be missed tremendously.”

His fellow city officials also remembered Jacobs’ presence in El Segundo.

“El Segundo lost a leader, servant and friend with Sandy’s passing,” Councilmember Carol Pirsztuk said in a statement. “Thankfully, her legacy will live on as she helped set the path forward for our city and future leaders.”

Councilmember Lance Giroux described Jacobs as a trailblazer who loved the city.

“She had a bright and ready smile, coupled with a depth of knowledge and love for the City of El Segundo,” Giroux said in a statement. “She was a true pioneer for women, and I am a better person for having known her.”

Jacobs is survived by her husband, Karl Jacobs; her daughter, Jennifer Jacobs; her grandson, Jacob Levy; her brother Elwyn Garrard and his partner, Kit Kerwick; and many more family members in California, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana.

Remembering Sandy Jacobs

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Ronald Ruskin

Ronald Ruskin

February 24, 1931 - January 12, 2023

Born on Feb. 24, 1931, in Jersey City, New Jersey, Ruskin graduated in three years from New York University in 1951. He saw an ad for the executive training program for Bamberger’s in New Jersey, paying $50 a week and took the job, but was soon drafted into the U.S. Army. Before he was deployed, the 21-year-old Ruskin proposed to his girlfriend, Myrna, whom he had met at a college dance while she was still in high school.

The two were married in June 1954, upon his discharge from the Army service in Japan, and he returned to Bamberger’s, where he worked in the Ladies Better Coats department and then became a buyer of junior coats and suits. In 1957, Ruskin joined Bloomingdale’s and held various positions during his 10-year career there, rising to divisional merchandise manager of ready-to-wear in 1963. He left Bloomingdale’s in 1967 to become executive vice president of Best & Co.

According to his daughter, Ruskin’s favorite achievement at Best & Co. was the creation of a unisex department that was inspired by an article he read about Harrods in London and their marketing to young people. He set aside the ninth floor and hired the artist Peter Max to decorate and execute the vision of what became “Stage 9.”

He also met Diane von Furstenberg, who came to Best & Co. with some dressy dresses, before she introduced the wrap dress. Ruskin immediately called up his buyer and told her to pick a few styles and put them in the store. The dresses sold well and were von Furstenberg’s first order in the U.S.

“One of my earliest appointments was I went to visit him at Best & Co.,” recalled von Furstenberg Thursday. “I was very pregnant, and could not carry my bag. He was a true gentleman. I have fond memories of him.”

In a WWD story about Best & Co. in 1967, the 36-year-old Ruskin was described as “a dynamic, no-nonsense fashion merchandiser” who brought a wealth of ready-to-wear resource contacts and critical buying experience to his job. In 1971, Ruskin moved to Miami and became executive vice president of Jordan Marsh Florida. Three and a half years later, he received an offer to become president of May D&F in Denver.

In 1979, Ruskin moved back to New York and became president and CEO of Gimbels and signed a contract that was a landmark at the time in retail executive compensation, according to WWD. His package at Gimbels called for $2 million in base salary and bonus over the five year life of the contract. In 1983, he was promoted to president of the BATUS Retail.

When Ruskin assumed the role at Gimbels, he didn’t realize the extent of the challenge, Linder said. She recalled that her father’s strategy was to get his young salespeople to take more pride in what they were doing. “It was always my strong belief that people make the difference. If you can get them to perform at their best, you will be successful,” Ruskin told his daughter, she said. Within a year, Gimbels was in the black.

In fact, in a 1984 WWD story, Ruskin was credited with turning about the Gimbels New York unit and making the first operating profit in six years in 1981 at a division that had marked time during the ‘70s while competitors successfully moved upscale.

Linder also said Ruskin was a big proponent of hiring women.

Ruskin was honored in 1984 by the National Jewish Hospital and National Asthma Center at a dinner that raised more than $1 million, which was covered by WWD and attended by industry people such as Marvin Traub, Arnold Aronson, Burt Tansky, Robert Suslow, and Albert Nipon. While “always minding the store,” Ruskin accepted the award and said the fundraising was brought about by “our efforts and your money.” The prior year’s dinner had honored BATUS chairman Arnold Aronson, and also raised $1 million.

“I would like to make it clear, that the $2 million in no way excuses any manufacturer from participating in markdowns, returns, advertising allowances or the consideration of any other allowances,” Ruskin said at the time.

Burt Tansky, former CEO of Neiman Marcus Group, said Thursday, “He and I worked closely when he was at Gimbels and I was at Saks. [Both were then owned by BATUS]. I remember him as a very fine man and a good merchant. He was a good retailer.”

In 1986, when BATUS decided to sell 40 percent of its retail business in the U.S., including Gimbels, Ruskin left the company. On Feb. 1, 1987, Ruskin became president of Cohoes Specialty Stores, a privately held chain of apparel stores. He left after 16 months when Cohoes decided to cut back its ambitious expansion plans due to the sluggish retail climate, WWD reported. After that, he started consulting.

Laurence C. Leeds Jr., former chairman and CEO of Manhattan Industries and former chairman of Buckingham Capital, said he did a lot of business with Ruskin, especially when he was at Jordan Marsh in Florida. “I knew him well. He was bright, humorous, very entertaining and a pretty darn good merchant. I had a lot of respect for him. My wife and I enjoyed having dinner with Myrna and Ron.”

When asked what Ruskin was like as a father, Linder said, “He just never had a harsh word, he was just all love.” Ruskin’s hobbies included tennis, sports, old movies and a love of chocolate. “But he would say his hobby was his family,” Linder said.

In addition to his daughter Robin, Ruskin is survived by his wife, Myrna; his son, Brad; daughter-in-law, Susan; son-in-law, Brian Linder, and four grandchildren.

The above published in Women’s Wear Daily submitted by Lisa Lockwood.

Ron Ruskin, the patriarch of our family, much beloved husband, father, and grandfather, died Wednesday morning after a brave battle with Parkinson's disease. He had a long and distinguished career in the retail industry, serving as CEO of several major department stores across the country. He was a Trustee of National Jewish Health, a Founding Director and Chairman of Smithsonian Business Ventures, and a longtime member of the Harmonie Club. Ron was famous for his dry and endearing sense of humor, his love of chocolate, and his disdain for all green foods. Ron's family was the joy of his life. He is survived by his wife Myrna, his son Brad (Susan Brooks), his daughter Robin Linder (Brian), and his grandchildren Rachel (Adam Chernicoff), Max Linder (Shayda Milani), Meredith, and Casey Linder. We will miss him forever.

Remembering Ronald Ruskin

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David Howard

David Howard

September 10, 1928 - January 10, 2023

In a career that lasted more than 60 years and included decades on stage in Sarasota at Asolo Repertory Theatre and memorable film roles in “Moonstruck” and two Woody Allen films, David S. Howard built a connection with audiences and fellow actors who adored him.

“David and I worked together for over 30 years and did a lot of plays together and had a lot of laughs together,” said Howard Millman, the former producing artistic director of Asolo Rep. “He was one of the most brilliant actors I’ve ever known. He was so insightful in every role he played. He was an effortless actor and he was always ready.”

Howard, who had retired from acting due to the impact of Parkinson’s Disease, died on Tuesday at age 94.

From 1976 to 1982, he appeared in more than 40 plays at Asolo Rep and he returned in the mid-1990s when Millman, who had previously served as managing director, returned as artistic director. In more recent years, he appeared in Frank Galati’s production of “12 Angry Men,” “Visiting Mr. Green,” Martin Vanderhof in “You Can’t Take it With You,” Grampa Joad in “The Grapes of Wrath,” and Yogi Berra in the one-man play “Nobody Don’t Like Yogi.” He played Scrooge in the theater’s one-time annual production of “A Christmas Carol” and a judge in Joanna Glass’s “Trying.”

Michael Donald Edwards, the current producing artistic director, chose “Yogi” to give him a chance to work with Howard.

“What I experienced with him was the most generous, wonderful, inspiring partner. I was a newbie compared to him and so grateful for that whole experience with him to work on a play about an American iconic figure like Yogi Bera with an American theater icon like David Howard,” said Edwards, who later directed Howard in “The Grapes of Wrath.”

Remembering David Howard

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Charles Koch

Charles Koch

April 11, 1946 - January 10, 2023

Charles F. "Chuck" Koch died in early January following a brief illness. Chuck was a Los Angeles native, born in Glendale in 1946 and raised in the San Fernando Valley until his family moved to the San Jose area in 1957. After finishing high school there, Chuck returned to L.A. to attend Pepperdine, then in Watts, and never lived anywhere else again. With his BA in journalism and a life-long love of cars, he initially found work as a writer and editor for Motor Trend and several other automotive magazines. In the late 1970s he moved into public relations for racing teams and the automotive industry. Chuck took on the role of VP for Client Services at Vista Group, where he was responsible for product placement in films and television. He was also a founding member and former Executive Director of the Motor Press Guild.

Outside of work, Chuck loved sports (the Dodgers, 49ers, and, of course, auto racing) and music (he played the violin, subscribed to the LA Philharmonic for decades, and enjoyed the organ at church). His faith was important to him, as was his church, Calvary Presbyterian in Glendale, where he served as an elder. Chuck was a loyal friend to many people, and a loving son, brother, and uncle. His keen sense of humor entertained everyone and there was always a story to be told.

A memorial service will be held at his church on March 11th; please call the church for details. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Parkinson's Resource Organization (, of which Chuck was a founder.

He is survived by his sister Kathie Hagan, his niece Sara Hayden, and his beloved blood orange tree, raised from seeds smuggled from Italy. But, as Chuck would say, that's a story for another time.

Remembering Charles Koch

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Virginia Payson

Virginia Payson

February 19, 1930 - January 9, 2023

Longtime Thoroughbred owner and breeder Virginia Kraft Payson died Jan. 9 in Central Kentucky, according to friends and acquaintances. She was 92.

Payson also owned Payson Stud in Kentucky and Payson Park Training Center before placing the latter on the market about 10 years ago. The popular South Florida facility, used by many of the sport's most respected trainers after she refurbished it, is currently owned by Thoroughbred owner Peter Brant.

Trainer Christophe Clement, who trained graded stakes-winning homebreds Rutherienne , Ruthenia , and Scipion  for Payson, remembered her as "a very successful lady" who was assertive and "ahead of her time."

"Payson will carry on and that will be her legacy as well," he added.

Prior to her involvement in the equine industry, Payson worked as a journalist for Sports Illustrated magazine for 26 years, beginning with its first issue in 1954. She also authored five books on boating, training dogs, shotgun sports, and tennis. 

In recent years, Payson experienced the debilitating effects of Parkinson's disease, which limited her ability to communicate, said Anna Colombo, a former assistant at Payson Stud who remained in contact with her.

"She had a full life," Colombo said.

In an interview with BloodHorse in 2013, Payson, a native of New York City, recalled her introduction to the sport when her second husband, the late Charles Shipman Payson, first bid on a yearling at Fasig-Tipton in the late 1970s.

Virginia Payson would later race such standouts as 1984 Travers Stakes (G1) winner Carr De Naskra and homebred champion St. Jovite, a multiple group 1 winner who was European Horse of the Year in 1992. Other prominent horses bred by Payson included Lac Ouimet, L'Carriere, Milesius, Salem Drive, Strawberry Reason, and Uptown Swell. Her mare Northern Sunset was honored as 1995 Broodmare of the Year.

Payson was honored as 1997 Breeder of the Year by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. She became known for a breed-to-race operation before making a shift to breed commercially in 1999.

"People told me, 'Well, you'll never be successful selling horses because people will believe you are just culling," she told BloodHorse in 2013. "My breeding operation has never been very large. I averaged 12 broodmares over all the years, with only about eight foals a year. But in the first crop I sold Farda Amiga (2002 champion 3-year-old filly), and the next year included Vindication (2002 champion 2-year-old male). With those two great successes, that changed people's minds."

Mike Stidham, who trained for Payson for a short period, said that as her health initially declined, she remained excited to talk about her runners.

"She was always enthusiastic about her horses and how they ran," Stidham said. "Just really loved the horses so much. You could tell how much she loved the horses no matter what her condition was.

"Everything she did for racing was pretty similar, I thought, to Josephine Abercrombie, who we just lost (in January 2022)."

Remembering Virginia Payson

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IGP Stephen Mutasa Kyefulumya

IGP Stephen Mutasa Kyefulumya

July 15, 1937 - January 8, 2023

On January 8, Uganda woke to the news of the death of former Deputy Inspector General of Police (IGP) Stephen Mutasa Kyefulumya.

The 85-year-old died in a hospital in the UK after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease (PD), a degenerative neurological condition that affects movement.  

Kyefulumya had been living in the Uk for the last 30 years.
He is survived by a widow, Olivia Kyefulumya, a retired nurse, 15 children, 38 grandchildren and an undisclosed number of great-children. 

In an interview with this publication yesterday, Ministry of Finance spokesperson Jim Mugunga, who is also the late Kyefulumya’s son-in-law, said: “Plans are underway to return the body home for burial.”
He added: “We as a family are trying to raise funds to repatriate our dear dad. Detailed arrangements are being made. In the interim, no wake, funeral service or burial arrangements have been concluded. These will be communicated in due course.”   
Kyefulumya, who close friends called Afande, is remembered for being a meticulous police officer. 

Kyefulumya was born on July 15, 1937 in Mengo Hospital, Kampala. His father, the late Victor Mutasa, was a Buganda county chief while his mother, the late Tezira Nakkazi was a midwife. 
His siblings include Gaster Luwaga, Elizabeth Zalwango, David Sebuwufu, Fredrick Sebyayi and Grace Naddamba. 

Others are the late Augustas Kimansule, Anna Nakato, Paula Nalongo, Kevina Namutebi, the late Romani Nsubuga, George W Semukaaya, Christine Nsagire, Joseph Mubiru Nadibanga, Nandire, Babirye, Nakato and Nakamya. 

He attended Kisubi Boys Boarding School before joining Bukumi Primary School. 

Remembering IGP Stephen Mutasa Kyefulumya

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Ruth Alper

Ruth Alper

January 1, 1933 - January 4, 2023

Ruth Hagen Alper, of Baltimore, MD, passed away on Wednesday, January 4th, 2023 at the age of 90. She is survived by her children, Ronald (Lisa) Alper and Lynn (David) Stander, her brother, Max (Barbara) Hagen, her grandchildren, Marissa Alper, Michael Alper, Rebecca (Brian) Scarpelli, and Jeffrey Stander, and her great-grandchildren, Daniel Scarpelli and Allison Scarpelli. She was predeceased by her husband, Dr. Clifford D. Alper, Ph.D.

Ruth Hagen Alper, a retired Baltimore County teacher who fled Nazi Germany and witnessed the aftermath of Kristallnacht as a six-year-old, died of Parkinson’s disease complications and COVID-19 at Brightview Fallsgrove in Rockville on Jan. 4. The former Randallstown resident was 90.

Born in Magdeburg, Germany, she was the daughter of Izaak Hagen, a clothing salesperson, and Berta Weissenberg, a homemaker.

Mrs. Alper’s son, Ronald “Ron” Alper, said she and her family became aware of the danger the German government posed to Jews in the late 1930s.

“Her aunt Ester was street smart and prescient,” he said. “She worked in a lawyer’s office and learned how to bribe Nazi officials to get the papers to leave the country.”

Mrs. Alper also shared memories of Nazi persecution like Kristallnacht, which was Germany’s widespread attacks on Jews in November 1938 and is seen as the start of the Holocaust.

“My mother remembered being told she had to leave her German elementary school because she was Jewish. She also remembered Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, and walking through Magdeburg and seeing burned-out buildings and broken glass on the street.”

She joined her parents, her brother Max, two aunts and uncles, and three first cousins, on the steamship Orinoco at Hamburg. One cousin, an infant, died on the voyage and was buried at sea.

“My mother was aware of the incident and how it affected Berta, her mother, all her life,” said her son.

Mrs. Alper arrived in Havana, Cuba in Feb. 1939 because she was not allowed in the U.S. due to immigration quotas being filled. She and she and her parents lived in Havana until the family was able to gain entry into the U.S. in the summer of 1941.

She recalled seeing the steamship Saint Louis idling in the Havana harbor. The ship carried Jews and oppressed minorities but was unable to find a home for its passengers. The Cuban government canceled their landing permits and the U.S. would also not accept the passengers.

“My mother and her family and one aunt settled in Miami, Florida,” her son said. “Her native language was German. She learned Spanish while in Cuba and then had to learn English when the family finally settled in the U.S.”

Her aunts and uncles, a number of cousins, and her grandmother remained in Germany and disappeared. Mrs. Alper believed they were likely killed at the Belzec extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland.

She graduated from Miami Beach Senior High School and in June 1950 received a bachelor of education degree at the University of Miami.There she met her future husband Clifford D. Alper in 1951. She saw him hitchhiking and gave him a lift. They married in 1953.

Mrs. Alper began teaching elementary school in Miami after graduation.

The family settled in Baltimore in 1960 when her husband began teaching at what was then Towson State Teachers College. They moved to Flagtree Lane in Baltimore County in 1963. She later earned a master’s degree at Towson University.

In 1966, she began teaching elementary school in the Baltimore County system. Over a career of about 30 years, she taught at Scott’s Branch Elementary and Franklin Elementary schools.“She was an optimist and her students liked her. She was a thoroughly sweet person,” said fellow Baltimore County teacher, Robert “Bob” Cohen.

Her daughter, Lynn Stander, said her parents bought a season subscription to the Washington Opera. Mrs. Alper was a member of two book clubs and enjoyed tennis, golf, and bridge. She was also a docent at the Hopkins Evergreen Museum on Charles Street.

“She was a docent for 20 years and the experience mixed her love of teaching with art,” said Stander. “She was masterful in her personal interactions with people. It was about them, not her.”

When she moved to Springhouse assisted living facility in Pikesville due to her Parkinson’s, she arranged to have the Baltimore County Public Library bookmobile come to the facility.

After moving to Brightview Fallsgrove in Rockville, she began a bridge group there.

In September 2022 artist Gunter Demnig installed a “Stolperstein” or stumbling stone memorial at her last home in Magdeburg. The artist has erected many of these stone memorials to Jews, homosexuals, the disabled, and Romani who died as a result of Nazi persecution.

Survivors include a son, Ronald “Ron” Alper of Columbia; a daughter, Lynn Stander of Rockville; a brother, Max Hagen of Charlotte, North Carolina; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Her husband, Clifford D. Alper, a Towson University music education professor, died in 2019.

Services were held on Jan. 8 at Sol Levinson and Brothers in Pikesville.

Remembering Ruth Alper

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Fred White

Fred White

January 13, 1955 - January 1, 2023

FRED WHITE, DRUMMER for the groundbreaking funk outfit Earth, Wind and Fire — and half-brother of lead singer Maurice and brother of bassist Verdine White — has died, his family announced on Jan. 1. White was 67 years old.

“He joins our brothers Maurice, Monte, and Ronald in heaven and is now drumming with the angels,” Verdine White wrote in a tribute shared on Instagram. (He did not disclose a cause of death; Maurice White died after a battle with Parkinson’s Disease in 2016.)

A child prodigy who began drumming at age nine before going on to earn his first gold record at the age of 16 for his work on Donny Hathaway’s Live — which made Rolling Stone’s list of 50 greatest live albums of all time — White joined his brothers’ band in 1974 just before the group shot to stardom on the success of its sixth studio album, That’s the Way of the World. Both the album and the single, “Shining Star,” hit number 1 on the Billboard charts.

Earth, Wind and Fire went on to sell more than 90 million records, cementing its status as one of the best-selling bands of all time. Beloved by critics as well as fans, the band was nominated for 17 Grammys, and won six. 

More than two dozen members have cycled in and out of Earth, Wind and Fire since its founding in 1969, but White was part of the nine-man lineup inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.

While Maurice — Earth, Wind and Fire’s vocalist, co-founder, and producer — began his career as a drummer, it was Fred playing percussion on the Earth Wind and Fire’s biggest hits, like “September,” “Boogie Wonderland,” and “Shining Star.”

Longtime Earth, Wind and Fire frontman Philip Bailey paid tribute to White on Twitter, writing, “EWF. That Family groove foundation. It was built on Maurice, Verdine, and Freddy. We never had to say much… The Groove was in the Blood … RIP my little Brother.”

Remembering Fred White

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Orion Knox

Orion Knox

March 20, 1941 - December 31, 2022

The New Year began with the sad news. After a battle with Parkinson’s disease, a pillar of Texas and Mexico speleology has passed away on December 31, 2022. Orion Knox was one of the discoverers of Natural Bridge Caverns in 1960, and one of the first cavers to go to Huantla, Oaxaca, Mexico. He started into caving in 1957 while still in high school; and, at age 78 was on a trip to the Dome Pit in Natural Bridge Caverns in 2019. Orion was 81. 

One of the discoverers in 1960, Knox also helped develop the caverns by installing pathways and lights. Since the discovery, millions have visited Natural Bridge Caverns.

He met his wife, Jan, through the local grotto at University of Texas in Austin. Together they became a surveying team and worked on Harrison’s Cave in Barbados and Kartchner Caverns in Arizona, Natural Bridge Caverns TX plus numerous others. When traveling they would include a stop at any local caves that were open.

Upon graduation he went to work for Texas Parks and Wildlife. Starting as a park planner and later becoming the head of the Historic Sites branch in Texas Parks. He worked on the first restoration for the Battleship Texas. He said that crawling in the battleship was similar to caving.

He will always be remembered as friendly, smiling and a good storyteller. He will be greatly missed.

Remembering Orion Knox

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Updated: August 16, 2017