Other Notable Deaths


December 31, 2007


Spiritual leader of Senegal

Serigne Saliou Mbacke, Senegal's spiritual leader, whose image was ever-present in the lives of his countrymen, has died.

Four million people - nearly a third of the West African country's population - were expected to make a pilgrimage to Mr. Mbacke's grave over the weekend, said national police chief Assane Ndoye.

Mr. Mbacke was the leader of the Mourides, the most powerful Muslim brotherhood in Senegal. He died Friday and was buried Saturday.

Senegal's president, Abdoulaye Wade, called for a three-day national period of mourning.

Although Senegal is a secular country, the majority of its democratically elected rulers had to seek the endorsement of Mr. Mbacke. His image is found on the dashboards of taxis and in the homes of millions of his followers.

Among Mr. Mbacke's achievements was the transformation the holy center of Touba from a rural outpost into a city that now has a population of 1 million. TOM DOWNS, 91

Helped draft Mich. Constitution

Tom Downs, an expert in election law who helped draft Michigan's current constitution, died Wednesday, according to the Michigan Political History Society, of which Mr. Downs was a member. Katy Downs told the Lansing State Journal that her father died of pneumonia.

Mr. Downs was instrumental in drafting Michigan's constitution, serving as a vice president at the constitutional convention. The constitution was adopted in 1963, and Mr. Downs was an expert on its history.

"He was the guy you could pick up the phone and call and find out, `How did something come into the constitution? How did it get there? What were the arguments?'" said Lynn Jondahl, a former Michigan legislator.


Jewelry designer

Andrew Grima, a jewelry designer whose creations adorned royalty and celebrities, died Wednesday at a hospital in the Swiss mountain resort of Gstaad after contracting pneumonia; he had been injured in a fall this month, his family said.

Mr. Grima came to prominence in the 1960s with a flowery and organic style that captured the mood of a new generation of postwar fashion designers.

"When he started, jewelry was a very different thing - small, precious stuff," his second wife, Jojo Grima, told the Associated Press. "He went straight the other way."

"At that time everything was pretty representative," she said. "There were bows, there were bees, there were little dogs. Andrew used a lot of rough stones and he made large pieces. It was a completely different philosophy."

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