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In Passing

Sun., July 31, 2011

Dan Peek, popular musician

St. Louis – Dan Peek, a founding member of the popular 1970s band America and singer of high harmonies on hits that included “A Horse With No Name” and “Ventura Highway,” has died. He was 60.

Peek’s wife, Catherine, found him dead July 24 in bed in his home in Farmington, Mo., about 60 miles southwest of St. Louis. The cause of death was not immediately known, and an autopsy was planned. Dan Peek suffered from arthritis, but it wasn’t known if that was a contributing factor.

Peek, whose father was in the U.S. Air Force, had met the two other members of America – Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley – while attending high school in London. After signing a record contract, America was an almost instant sensation with songs featuring tight harmonies over catchy tunes. All told, America had three platinum and three gold albums, along with eight Top 40 hits, from 1971 through 1975.

The group’s first album in 1971 included the No. 1 hit “Horse With No Name.” Other hits followed: “Tin Man,” “Sister Golden Hair” and “Daisy Jane” among them. Peek played lead guitar on many of the songs, and wrote some of them, including the 1974 hit “Lonely People.”

Howard Creecy Jr., civil rights leader

Atlanta – The president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Rev. Howard Creecy Jr., died seven months after taking office.

Damien Conners, the SCLC’s national program director, said the 57-year-old Creecy died of an apparent heart attack in Atlanta early Thursday. Creecy, pastor of The Olivet Church in Fayette County, was elected SCLC president in January after the position was declined by Bernice King, daughter of the organization’s co-founder, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Before that, Creecy had served as the interim president of the civil rights organization founded in 1957.

John Stott, British evangelist

London – The Rev. John Stott, who led a resurgence of evangelicalism in Britain and went on to become one of the most influential evangelical thinkers of the 20th century, died Wednesday. He was 90.

Benjamin Homan, president of John Stott Ministries, did not give a precise cause of death but said Stott’s health had deteriorated sharply in recent weeks and that he had been in severe pain near the end of his life.

Stott died at the College of St. Barnabas, a residential community for retired Anglican clergy in Lingfield, Surrey, 30 miles south of London.

He was an intellectual pioneer who in the years following World War II spearheaded an evangelical revival in England at a time when evangelical Christians had almost no influence and were often derided as uneducated.

In more than 50 books, he explained complex theology in a way that laypeople could easily understand. Among his most popular books was “Basic Christianity,” a primer on the faith that has been translated into more than 60 languages.


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