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updated: 6/15/2013 5:25 PM

Notable deaths last week

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  • Jiroemon Kimura smiles after he was presented with the certificate of the world's oldest living man from Guinness World Records.

      Jiroemon Kimura smiles after he was presented with the certificate of the world's oldest living man from Guinness World Records.
    Associated Press/Oct. 15, 2012

  • Sir Henry Cecil, one of British horse racing's most successful trainers with 25 British Classic winners, has died.

      Sir Henry Cecil, one of British horse racing's most successful trainers with 25 British Classic winners, has died.
    Associated Press/June 15, 2011

  • University of Chicago economist Robert Fogel at his home in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood.

      University of Chicago economist Robert Fogel at his home in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood.
    Associated Press/April 4, 2013

  • Miller Barber hits during the first round of the New Orleans Open golf tournament in New Orleans.

      Miller Barber hits during the first round of the New Orleans Open golf tournament in New Orleans.
    Associated Press/April 23, 2077

 
From news wire reports

Japan's Jiroemon Kimura, recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest man in recorded history, has died at the age of 116.

Kimura died of natural causes in a hospital in his hometown of Kyotango, western Japan.

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Born on April 19, 1897, when Queen Victoria still reigned over the British Empire, Kimura dodged childhood killers such as tuberculosis and pneumonia that kept life expectancy in Japan to 44 years around the time of his birth. He became the oldest man in recorded history on Dec. 28, 2012, at the age of 115 years and 253 days. The oldest woman in recorded history, France's Jeanne Calment, died in 1997 at the age of 122.

His wife, Yae, died in 1978 at the age of 74. Four of Kimura's five siblings lived to be more than 90 years old, and his youngest brother, Tetsuo, died at 100, Timatso Miyake, his nephew, said.

Miller Barber, the unique-swinging golfer who made the most combined starts on the PGA and Champions tours, has died. He was 82.

Barber, nicknamed "Mr. X," played in 1,297 tournaments on the PGA Tour and 50-and-over circuit. He won 11 times in 694 PGA Tour starts and added 24 victories in 603 events on the Champions Tour.

Robert Fogel, a Nobel Prize-winning economic historian who used empirical data in innovative and iconoclastic ways, most notably to dispute longheld assumptions about why slavery collapsed as an institution in the United States, died at a rehabilitation facility in Oak Lawn, Ill. He was 86.

The cause was pneumonia, said his daughter-in-law Suzanne Fogel. Fogel, a Chicago resident, spent much of his career at the University of Chicago and directed its Center for Population Economics.

Fogel shared the 1993 Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences with Douglass North, then of Washington University in St. Louis. Both winners were on the 1960s vanguard of a field known as cliometrics, which merges economic theory with statistical analysis of hard numbers raked from the past; Clio is the muse of history in Greek mythology.

Fogel drew on historical documents such as medical records, census data and pension documentation, and then used modern computing systems to process the information. The Nobel citation credited him with "having renewed research in economic history by applying economic theory and quantitative methods in order to explain economic and institutional change."

"Fogel was one of the intellectual pioneers and certainly the most visible member of a generation of economic historians who transformed the discipline from what had been narrative history into history informed by economic theory and statistical methods," said Barry Eichengreen, an economics and political science professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

Bruno Bartoletti, an orchestra conductor who was associated with the Lyric Opera of Chicago for a half-century, and who championed modern opera as well as classic works, died in his native Tuscany, a day before his 87th birthday.

The Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, where the maestro had served as artistic director from 1985 until 1991, said Bartoletti died in a Florence hospital after a long illness.

In a career that saw Bartoletti conduct well into his 80s -- he directed Giacomo Puccini's `'Manon Lescaut"at Florence's Teatro Comunale in February 2011 -- he served as the first music director of Chicago's Lyric Opera, starting as guest conductor there in 1956, when he was relatively unknown.

Bartoletti was 30 when the then 2-year-old Lyric Opera needed a replacement conductor for Giuseppe Verdi's `'Il Trovatore" in 1956. Baritone Tito Gobbi endorsed him, and Bartoletti made his American debut with the company. He conducted more than 600 performances of 55 operas in the Lyric, in his 51 years there, with his last in 2007. He served as co-artistic director with Pino Donati from 1965 till 1975, and as artistic director from 1975 till 1999.

The world's oldest Jewish person, Evelyn Kozak, whose family fled Russia to escape anti-Semitism in the 1880s, has died at age 113.

Kozak was the world's oldest documented Jewish person and the world's seventh-oldest person, said Robert Young, a senior database administrator at the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group.

Walter Mess, an American spy who captained a speedboat that ferried agents to and from secret missions in the China-Burma-India theater of World War II, died May 26 in Alexandria, Va. He was 98.

Sworn to secrecy, Mess didn't tell his wife about his OSS work for decades. "I was told to keep my mouth shut," Mess told the Falls Church News-Press in 2008. "She was so angry, she didn't speak to me for a month."

A nun believed to hold the world record of 86 years cloistered in a monastery has died in Spain.

Sister Teresita Barajuen had died at 105.

Henry Cecil, who trained unbeaten superstar Frankel and was one of British horse racing's greatest trainers in a career spanning nearly half a century, has died following a long battle with cancer. He was 70.

Cecil's death was announced on the website of Warren Place Stables, where the Scotsman worked as a trainer for 44 years.

Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2011, Cecil was champion trainer in Britain 10 times. He capped his career by training one of racing's all-time great horses, Frankel, who was retired last year after winning all 14 of his races.

Harry Lewis, founder of the Hamburger Hamlet chain whose regular customers included Ronald Reagan and Elizabeth Taylor, has died at age 93.

Lewis was an actor who appeared in the 1948 movie "Key Largo" before founding Hamburger Hamlet chain in 1950 with his future wife, Marilyn.

The restaurants were decorated with movie memorabilia and offered customized hamburgers long before the idea became trendy.

Jeffery Lynn Berry, who as leader of the American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan led marches on town squares that cost municipalities thousands of dollars in security costs, has died at age 60.

Berry died from lung cancer at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, Ill., said the Cook County clerk's office spokeswoman Courtney Greve.

Berry spent much of the 1990s as the National Imperial Wizard of the Butler, Ind.-based American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Isabel Benham, whose deep knowledge of the railroad industry made her an influential bond analyst at a time when few women held positions of authority on Wall Street, has died. She was 103.

Barbara Vucanovich, who was the first woman to represent Nevada in Congress and went on to serve the sprawling, rural 2nd Congressional District for 14 years, died Monday after a brief illness, family members said. She was 91.

Johnny Smith, a jazz guitarist whose luscious tone, understated versatility and exemplary swinging style brought him a half-century of acclaim and whose composition "Walk, Don't Run" became a surf-rock hit for the Ventures in the 1960s, died June 11 at his home in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was 90.

The cause was complications from a fall, said his son John Smith III.

Smith accompanied Benny Goodman, Stan Getz, Bing Crosby, Beverly Kenney and Hank Jones, among others, during his career.

Scottish writer Iain Banks, who alternately wowed and disturbed readers with his dark jokes and narrative tricks, has died, his publisher said. He was 59.

Banks, whose writing took readers from rural Scotland to the edge of space, announced in April that he was terminally ill with cancer and that his soon-to-be released novel, "The Quarry," would be his last.

Banks was also an expert on Scotch whisky -- writing a book on the subject -- and was politically active, lending his name to left-wing causes including the anti-war movement and the cultural boycott of Israel.

Yoram Kaniuk, a celebrated Israeli author and harsh critic of his homeland, has died, his relatives said. He was 83.

Walt Arfons, a self-taught mechanical engineer and champion drag racer who built the first jet-engine dragster, conceived of innovations that helped save lives on the raceway, and whose car held the land-speed record at 413 mph until his estranged half-brother bested it three days later, has died at age 96.

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