In Passing

SUNDAY, APRIL 22, 2007

Jersey City, N.J.

Andrew Hill, jazz pianist

Andrew Hill, a jazz pianist whose career as an adventurous, envelope-stretching improviser and composer reached from the 1960s to the present, has died.

Hill, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1974, died Friday in Jersey City, N.J., his record label announced. He was 75 and had performed as recently as three weeks ago at a Manhattan church.

Hill’s visibility ebbed and surged over the past four decades, despite the fact that his music continued to grow and evolve as one of the jazz world’s most innovative expressions.

His performing career can be traced, in large measure, through his association with Blue Note Records, which took place in three time periods – the mid-‘60s, the late ‘80s and the 2000s. In between, he spent extended periods away from the active jazz scene, teaching at Colgate University and Portland State University in Oregon, and establishing residencies at several other universities.


Fu Tieshan, Chinese bishop

Bishop Fu Tieshan, the hard-line chairman of the state-sanctioned Catholic Church who sparred with the Vatican over China’s insistence on appointing its own bishops, died on Friday. He was 76.

The government-backed church, the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, refuses to recognize the Vatican’s authority, but many clergy and ordinary Catholics remain loyal to the pope and have been persecuted for it.

As the top authority of the Chinese church, Fu clashed with the Vatican over China’s right to independently appoint bishops without papal approval and the Vatican’s diplomatic ties with Taiwan, which China claims as its territory.

Association Vice Chairman Liu Bainian said Fu died Friday night in a Beijing hospital of lung cancer.

Bentonville, Ark.

Helen Walton, Wal-Mart matriarch

Helen Robson Walton, widow of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, died Thursday at her home. Walton, 87, died of natural causes.

Walton met the man who would become her husband, Sam Walton, a native of Kingfisher, Okla., in 1942, and the two were married on Valentine’s Day 1943. Sam Walton died in 1992 at 74.

The couple moved in 1945 to Newport, Ark., where they opened a Ben Franklin “five-and-dime” store. Five years later, they moved to Bentonville, where Sam Walton continued his career in retailing.

In 1962, the Waltons opened the first Wal-Mart in nearby Rogers.

Other stores followed, and the chain grew into the largest retailer in the world but maintained its headquarters in Bentonville. The company has more than 6,500 stores in 15 countries.

Members of the Walton family are listed each year among the world’s wealthiest people. In March, Forbes magazine listed Helen Walton as the 29th-richest individual in the world, with a fortune estimated at $16.4 billion.

Helen Walton was widely known in Arkansas for her philanthropy, focusing on education, the arts, and families and children. She also was active in the Presbyterian Church both locally and nationally.


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