obituaries

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Hazel I. Lowe, owner of South Side boutique known for elegant apparel, dies at 97

For 43 years, Hazel Lowe’s Boutique was a one-stop destination for women who knew Ms. Lowe would deck them out from shoes to chapeau. She dressed the Rev. Johnnie Coleman, founder of Christ Universal Temple; singer Natalie Cole; business leaders; and wives of pastors and bishops. She helped turn a gospel queen into a glamour queen. “Albertina Walker shopped there all the time,” said Henrietta Leak, wife of funeral director Spencer Leak Sr. “She had fabulous clothes. If you ever wanted a one-of-a-kind dress, that’s where you would go, to Hazel Lowe.”

University of Chicago’s Dr. Donald F. Steiner, pioneer in diabetes research, dead at 84

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Dr. Donald F. Steiner’s work improved the lives of diabetes patients around the globe. Nearly half a century ago, he discovered that the insulin molecule was composed of a single protein chain, not two, as previously thought. He called it proinsulin.

The best of Mike Nichols

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One of the shortest lists in show business is the roster of EGOTs: artists who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony. According to egotwinners.com, there are but 13, including Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks, Barbra Streisand and Liza Minnelli. Mike Nichols …

Edward Robinson, Chicago pianist who accompanied gospel greats, dead at 81

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Edward Robinson, a Chicago musician who performed at the White House five times and played piano and organ for some of the world’s greatest gospel artists, has died at 81.

Dr. Michael Koller, popular teacher at Loyola medical school, dies at 53

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A personal physician to 300 Roman Catholic priests, Dr. Michael Koller urged them to take better care of themselves, saying that they put others first even more often than compassionate doctors do. Dr. Koller, 53, died at his Oak Park home on Nov. 11. He had lived for about 18 years with the effects of a carotid body tumor, a rare cancer of a nerve inside the carotid artery.

Jane Byrne left a colorful legacy

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Jane Byrne, who died Friday at age 81, presided over a time of political change in Chicago; she was the city's first, and still its only, female mayor.

Chicago-area woman, one of oldest survivors of Armenian genocide, has died

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Helen Paloian was one of the few people left in the world to have witnessed what’s been called the first genocide of the 20th Century, in Armenia. She died Oct. 24 at Midwest Palliative & Hospice CareCenter in Glenview. Her family’s research puts her birth year at 1906, which would make her 108. A Sun-Times check of various records lists birth years for Mrs. Paloian ranging from 1898 to 1910.

Stage designer known for work at Lyric Opera

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When the curtain goes up to reveal the phosphorescent dreams and menacing nightmares of Johan Engels, audiences gasp. Though the 62-year-old English stage designer died Friday, Chicago audiences will continue to see his work for several years in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s ultramarathon of classicial music, Wagner’s “Ring” cycle.

Will Kilkeary dies; owner of legendary Chicago bar, a favorite of Royko, Ebert

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Will Kilkeary, who was the proprietor of O'Rourke's, a landmark Chicago bar peopled by some of the nation’s most gifted writers, journalists, grifters and good-time boys and girls, has died at 74.

Darby Tillis, who fought wrongful convictions after he was freed, dies at 71

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Darby Tillis, one of the first men to be freed from Illinois’ death row, died Sunday morning at Rush Hospital of what is thought to have been an aneurysm. He was 71. Mark A. Clements, a board member of the Campaign to End to Death Penalty, said Mr. Tillis was a respected and strong advocate for ending the death penalty and wrongful convictions and “will be greatly missed.”

Bernard “Bernie” Feinstein, police officer known as mayor of Devon Avenue, dead at 82

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Bernie Feinstein, a cop who walked a beat on Devon Avenue for 18 years and got to know the immigrant business owners there by listening to their worries and life stories, died Oct. 14 at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston. He was 82.

Acclaimed dancer, long-time teacher at U. of I.

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Beverly Blossom, a leading modern dancer who went on to be master teacher at the University of Illinois and a celebrated choreographer and performer, has died in Chicago. She was 88.

Chicago bead merchant Ronnie Klein, whose Loop business drew stars, dead at 65

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Chicago bead merchant Ronnie Klein’s Loop business, International Importing Bead & Novelty Company, often provided accesories for actors and musicians. Cher, Sally Rand and Eric Clapton were among tose who came to stock up on beads, crystals, sequins and feathers. Mr. Klein, 65, died of a heart attack Oct. 12 at Skokie Hospital.

Enthusiastic student Stan Kij, 25, dies of stomach cancer

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Despite his own battle with advanced cancer, Stanislaw “Stan” Kij made it a point to wish other patients well.

Father Bob Botthof, teacher who became priest after losing wife, dies at 85

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When Father Bob Botthof introduced his kids to people, they looked confused. Some asked, “What does your mother think about your dad becoming a priest?” Others inquired, “Isn’t that frowned upon by the church?” He’d lived a whole other life before becoming a Roman Catholic priest. Mad about his fellow teacher and wife, Mary Elizabeth, he used to serenade her with “Shall We Dance?” But after losing her to cancer after 23 years of marriage, the father and former U.S. Marine joined the Dominican friars.

Dr. Lawrence Solomon: Renowned dermatologist, book collector loved a mystery

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Dr. Lawrence M. “Larry” Solomon loved a mystery — in medicine and also in fiction. His collection of 6,000 books, many of them featuring Sherlock Holmes, was testament to that. Like Holmes, he’d use his powers of observation to arrive at deductions that dazzled and sometimes confounded patients and other physicians. The former University of Illinois dermatology chief Oct. 8 at his North Shore home. He was 83.