Other Notable Deaths


August 14, 2006

Rufus Harley, 70, who was billed as "the world's first jazz bagpiper" and emitted his haunting sounds alongside some of the greats of jazz, died of prostate cancer Aug. 1 in Philadelphia, his hometown.

Although he fully acknowledged that "everybody thought I was crazy" when he turned to bagpipes in the early 1960s, he became a frequent sideman on records and in concerts with saxophonists like Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Stitt, with the trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and with the flutist Herbie Mann.

"He adapted the bagpipes to jazz, blues, funk and other typically African-American styles, while also acknowledging the instrument's Scottish roots," said David Badagnani, an instructor at the Center for the Study of World Musics at Kent State University.

Mr. Harley, who was of African-American and Cherokee descent, sometimes performed in Scottish kilts, and sometimes in a dashiki and a Nigerian kufi, or skull cap.

Robert McCullough, 64, who led a group of black students in a landmark civil rights protest 45 years ago, choosing to serve jail time on a chain gang rather than pay a $100 fine for the crime of sitting at a whites-only lunch counter, died Aug. 7 in Rock Hill, S.C.

Mr. McCullough, along with eight other black students from Friendship Junior College, gained widespread attention when they used the "jail, no bail" technique after they were arrested in February 1961.

The group, which became known as the Friendship Nine, had demanded service at the McCrory's lunch counter at Rock Hill and were charged with trespassing and breach of peace.

Anthony Galla-Rini, 102, a self-taught musician who strove to raise the accordion's profile by composing, arranging and playing classical and popular melodies for the instrument, died from a heart seizure July 30 in Corona, Calif.

He played a variety of woodwind and brass instruments, but the accordion was his passion. Born into a musical family from Verona, Italy, he spent most of his childhood crisscrossing the United States on the vaudeville circuit with his three sisters.

He eventually settled in Southern California, broke into the movie business and played the accordion on many film scores, most memorably in 1944's Laura and 1952's High Noon.

Bob Thaves, 81, whose nationally syndicated comic strip Frank & Ernest has amused newspaper readers for decades with its quirky observations, died of respiratory failure Aug. 1 at a hospital in Torrance, Calif.

His long-running strip stars the happy-go-lucky punsters Frank and Ernest, who travel the universe and through time - and sometimes change shape - as they comment on everything from science to world politics.

The strip, which was syndicated in 1972, is distributed to 1,300 newspapers worldwide. His son, Tom, has collaborated with his father on Frank & Ernest since 1997 and will continue to produce it, according to a statement from United Media, whose Newspaper Enterprise Association syndicates the strip.

Gustavo Arcos Bergnes, 79, who fought alongside Fidel Castro in the Cuban revolution but was later imprisoned as a dissident, died Tuesday in Havana. The cause of death was not immediately known, but he had been hospitalized recently.

He steadfastly opposed the government of Fulgencio Batista and joined in the ill-fated 1953 assault on a military barracks that launched the Cuban revolution. Mr. Arcos was shot in the right hip and left partially paralyzed.

He began expressing his discontent privately and was soon accused of being a counterrevolutionary. When he was released after three years in prison, the government refused his request to leave the country.

Mr. Arcos and his younger brother, Sebastian, became involved in the Cuban Committee for Human Rights, formed in 1978. He issued reports about human rights complaints to international organizations and distributed copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the island.

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