March 18, 2019

Guitarist Dick Dale, known as the king of surf rock, died on Saturday. He was 81.

Born Richard Monsour, he taught himself how to play guitar and got his start performing at the Rendezvous Ballroom in Newport Beach, California. He pounded rather than plucked the strings, and was known to shred his guitar picks in the middle of songs. Dick Dale and the Del-Tones appear in several Beach Party movies, and his 1962 hit "Miserlou," adapted from a Middle Eastern folk song, was used decades later in Quentin Tarantino's 1994 cult classic Pulp Fiction. He continued to tour, even as he hit his 80th birthday.

Dale was left handed, and when he met guitar builder Leo Fender, Fender offered to make him a left-handed model in exchange for Dale testing out Fender's new line of guitars and amps. In a 1997 interview with The Associated Press, Dale said he became Fender's "personal guinea pig," and because he played so loudly, he kept blowing up amps. Finally, Fender built the "Dick Dale Dual Showman," a double-sized amp able to keep up with him. Dale had cancer in the 1960s, and it came back in 2015; he also had a severe foot infection in the 1970s, caused by a surfing injury. Dale is survived by his wife, Lana, and son, James. Catherine Garcia

February 21, 2019

Peter Tork, bassist and keyboardist for The Monkees, died on Thursday. He was 77.

In 2009, Tork was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, a rare cancer affecting his head and neck. Known for their hits "Daydream Believer" and "I'm a Believer," The Monkees had four No. 1 albums and a television show that ran from 1966 to 1968. The group, comprised of Tork, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz, and Michael Nesmith, released the movie Head in 1968, and Tork left the band later that year. He participated in several reunion tours, both before and after Jones died in 2012. Tork's last solo record, Relax Your Mind, came out in 2018.

Dolenz tweeted on Thursday that his heart is "broken," and Nesmith said he is "clinging to the idea that we all continue," but the "pain that attends these passings has no cure." Catherine Garcia

February 19, 2019

Don Newcombe, a star pitcher for the Dodgers, died Tuesday, following a long illness. He was 92.

Dodgers president Stan Kasten said in a statement that Newcombe's "presence and life established him as a role model for major leaguers across the country. He was a constant presence at Dodger Stadium and players always gravitated toward him for his endless advice and friendship." Sandy Koufax said Newcombe was "a mentor at first, a friend at the end. He will be missed by anyone who got to know him."

After getting his start in the Negro Leagues, Newcombe broke barriers as one of the first black pitchers in Major League Baseball. Newcombe played for 10 seasons, starting with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949, and in 1956 he won the inaugural Cy Young Award and National League MVP. Following his retirement, Newcombe disclosed that he had a drinking problem, and after becoming sober in the 1960s, he raised awareness about alcohol abuse. He later worked with the Dodgers as director of community affairs and later special adviser to the team's chairman. Catherine Garcia

February 10, 2019

Rep. Walter Jones Jr. (R-N.C.), a one-time supporter of the Iraq War who regretted his vote after attending the 2003 funeral of a Marine killed in action, died Sunday, on his 76th birthday.

Jones broke his hip in a fall, and after suffering complications, entered hospice care in January. His congressional office did not release the cause of death. In November, he was re-elected to his 13th term in office.

Jones initially supported the Iraq War, and after France opposed the invasion, he was behind the push to have House cafeterias call French fries "Freedom Fries," NBC News reports. In 2003, he attended the funeral of a Marine killed in the war, Sgt. Michael Blitz, and he then regretted his vote, Jones told The Associated Press in 2017. Jones wrote a letter of apology to Blitz's family, and went on to write 11,000 more to the relatives of service members who died in the war.

A conservative Christian, he opposed abortion, same-sex marriage, and taxes, and in 2017, was the only Republican in the House to vote against the GOP tax bill, saying it would add too much to the national debt. "He was a public servant who was true to his convictions and who will be missed," Gov. Roy Cooper (D-N.C.) said in a statement. Catherine Garcia

February 7, 2019

Former Rep. John Dingell, the country's longest-serving congressman, died on Thursday, after battling cancer and heart issues. He was 92.

A Democrat from Michigan, the World War II veteran was first elected to Congress in 1955, taking over the seat his father held for two decades. He retired in January 2015 at age 88, after helping write major environmental, energy, civil rights, and health care legislation. He was also a champion of the automotive industry.

Once he announced his retirement, Dingell's wife, Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), said she would run for his seat; she was elected in 2014. Over the last several years, Dingell was active on Twitter, commenting on politics and sports. In his last message, posted Wednesday, Dingell said his wife insisted he "rest and stay off here, but after long negotiations, we've worked out a deal where she'll keep up with Twitter for me as I dictate the messages. I want to thank you all for your incredibly kind words and prayers. You're not done with me just yet." Catherine Garcia

January 29, 2019

Grammy-winning R&B singer James Ingram has died, his friend Debbie Allen announced on Tuesday. He was 66.

"I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the celestial choir," she tweeted. "He will always be cherished, loved, and remembered for his genius, his love of family, and his humanity. I am blessed to have been so close. We will forever speak his name." The cause of death has not been released.

While working as a session keyboard player and singer in the early 1980s, one of Ingram's demos got into the hands of Quincy Jones, who asked Ingram to sing several songs on his album, The Dude. Ingram's breakout hit was his 1982 duet with Patti Austin, "Baby, Come to Me," and he co-wrote Michael Jackson's "P.Y.T." with Jones and appeared in the "We Are the World" video. He was also known for his soundtrack work, which brought him two Oscar nominations; Ingram sang "Somewhere Out There" with Linda Ronstadt for the 1986 movie An American Tail, and composed songs for Beethoven's 2nd, Beverly Hills Cop II, and Junior. Catherine Garcia

January 16, 2019

Jack Bogle, the founder of The Vanguard Group and creator of the index fund, died Wednesday. He was 89.

Vanguard is the world's largest mutual fund organization, now managing $4.9 trillion in global assets. When he created what is now known as the Vanguard 500 Index Fund, he was ridiculed by Wall Street, with the fund dubbed "Bogle's Folly." In his letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders in February 2017, billionaire investor Warren Buffet praised Bogle, saying that he was "frequently mocked by the investment-management industry," but "he helped millions of investors realize far better returns on their savings than they otherwise would have earned. He is a hero to them and to me."

Bogle grew up during the Great Depression, and studied economics at Princeton. He founded Vanguard in 1975, and served as chairman and CEO until 1996. Bogle also wrote 13 books about investing, with his final tome, Stay the Course: The Story of Vanguard and the Index Revolution, published in December. He is survived by his wife, Eve, and six children. Catherine Garcia

January 2, 2019

Blake Nordstrom, the co-president of Nordstrom, died on Wednesday. He was 58.

In December, Nordstrom announced he had been diagnosed with lymphoma but was still planning on working. The department store's chairman, Brad Smith, said in a statement that "everyone who worked with Blake knew of his passion and deep commitment to employees, customers, and the communities we serve." Nordstrom served as co-president alongside his brothers, Pete Nordstrom and Erik Nordstrom.

Born on Oct. 4, 1960, Nordstrom was the eldest of three sons. He worked his way up the ranks at the family company, which was founded by his great-grandfather, Swedish immigrant John Nordstrom, in 1901. Nordstrom spent the last few years overseeing corporate functions and Nordstrom Rack stores, and in November, he said he was focused on making Nordstrom the "best fashion retailer in a digital world." Nordstrom is survived by his wife, Molly; a son and a daughter; his father, Bruce; and his brothers. Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads