Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack, 77, the nine-fingered New Orleans-based pianist, singer, songwriter and session musician best known for his 1973 Top 10 hit “Right Place, Wrong Time,” died Thursday. The cause was a heart attack. Across six decades as a creator, Rebennack served as the unofficial voodoo ambassador of the Crescent City, and starting in the 1960s helped update the region’s distinctive boogie-woogie sound for a new generation.
Herb Sandler, 87, a banker and philanthropist who with his wife, Marion, provided the initial financing for ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative-reporting organization that seeks to be an alternative model for sustaining vigorous journalism, died on Wednesdayat his home in San Francisco. The cause was not disclosed.
In a tribute to Sandler posted on its website, ProPublica said that he had a simple explanation for why he supported such work: “I hate it when the bad guys win.”
Leah Chase, 96, the nation’s preeminent Creole chef who took the sandwich shop run by her jazz trumpeter husband Dooky Chase’s family and turned it into a cultural institution tied to the politics of New Orleans and the struggle for civil rights, died June 1 in New Orleans.
“In my dining room, we changed the course of America over a bowl of gumbo and some fried chicken,” she would often say.
Leon Redbone, 69, who burst onto the pop-music scene in the mid-1970s with a startlingly throwback singing style and a look to go with it, favoring songs from bygone eras drolly delivered, died May 30 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He had retired from performing in 2015 because of ill health.
Thad Cochran, 81, courtly Mississippi Republican who cultivated his constituents for 45 years as a congressman and U.S. senator with traditional catfish fries, Southern charm and billions of dollars in federal pork-barrel largesse, died May 30 in Oxford, Mississippi. He was elected to the U.S. House in 1972. Winning a Senate seat in 1978, he became the first Republican since Reconstruction to win statewide office in Mississippi.
Peter and Sally Jarvis, both 82, a retired King County judge and a former Bellevue College trustee, died in a head-on collision in Ketchum, Idaho, on May 29.
Mr. Jarvis was a judge for 23 years, first serving in Issaquah District Court, and then King County Superior Court and Issaquah Municipal Court. He was named to the Superior Court bench in 1991 and became Issaquah’s first judge when its municipal court opened in 2005. Mrs. Jarvis was president of the UW Alumni Association in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and served as a Bellevue Community College — now Bellevue College — trustee from 1990 to 1999. She was an “extraordinary UW graduate” who was a significant leader in the community, said Paul Rucker, executive director of the University of Washington Alumni Association.
Claus von Bulow, 92, Danish-born socialite who in two trials was convicted and later acquitted of twice trying to murder his wealthy wife, placing him at the center of one of the most sensational social dramas of the 1980s, died May 25 at home in London. He was charged with the attempted murder of his wife, Martha “Sunny” von Bulow, by injecting her with insulin to aggravate her hypoglycemia. The heiress to a $75 million fortune went into a coma in December 1979, from which she recovered, and a second, irreversible coma in December 1980. She remained in a vegetative state until her death in 2008. The case was recounted in a 1986 book and a 1990 movie, both called “Reversal of Fortune.”