Joe Tortorice founded Jason's Deli
BEAUMONT, Texas — Joe Tortorice Jr. founded the national restaurant chain Jason's Deli more than 40 years ago in Texas and remained chairman of the board.
The Beaumont-based company says Tortorice was the grandson of Italian immigrants and it was his father's investment in a little sandwich shop that inspired him to open his own restaurant. From a single location that opened in Beaumont in 1976, Jason's Deli now has almost 300 locations across the U.S.
Tortorice's oldest son, Jay, inspired the company's name.
Tortorice died last weekend at age 70.— AP
Wilber kept the sound of early jazz alive
Bob Wilber, a clarinetist and saxophonist, was a prominent figure in preserving early styles of jazz and swing music.
Wilber was a protege of Sidney Bechet, one of the founding fathers of jazz.
While other budding jazz musicians of the 1940s were enamored of the daring bebop innovations of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, Wilber looked toward the past for inspiration. He found it in the music of the 1920s.
He was, in the words of New Yorker magazine jazz writer Whitney Balliett, "a gifted arranger and composer, and an invaluable preserver and enhancer of jazz tradition."
He shared the stage with countless major jazz figures, including pianists James P. Johnson and Ralph Sutton, trumpeter Bobby Hackett, drummer Sid Catlett and clarinetist Pee Wee Russell, and for a time played tenor saxophone in the band of one of his idols, clarinetist Benny Goodman.
Wilber died Aug. 4 at age 91.
— The Washington Post
Mullis' DNA discovery changed science world
LOS ANGELES — Kary B. Mullis was an LSD-dropping, climate-change-denying, astrology-believing, boardsurfing, Nobel Prize-winning chemist who was both widely respected and criticized for his controversial views.
Deemed an "untamed genius" by fellow researchers, Mullis shared a 1993 Nobel for developing a technique called polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, that allowed scientists to create millions of copies of a single DNA molecule.
It was hailed as one of the most important scientific inventions of the 20th century; a discovery that — among countless other applications and research — gave scientists the ability to study DNA from a 40,000-year-old frozen mammoth and helped investigators take tiny amounts of DNA to identify or exonerate crime suspects.
Acclaimed as his technique was, Mullis was highly criticized for other theories, notably his suggestion that HIV did not cause AIDS.
Mullis died Aug. 7. He was 74.— The Los Angeles Times
Hopkins amassed troves of verse for kids
Lee Bennett Hopkins dedicated a lifetime to writing and anthologizing poetry for children, amassing troves of verse to help young people navigate the unknowns of life, from why stink bugs stink to how to survive a divorce.
Hopkins held the Guinness World Record for "most prolific anthologist of poetry for children," with 113 titles to his name when the record was declared in 2011.
Many of his anthologies centered on themes, such as the seasons ("The Sky Is Full of Song," 1983), space ("Blast Off!," 1995), holidays ("Days to Celebrate," 2005), insects ("Nasty Bugs," 2012) and history ("Lives: Poems About Famous Americans," 1999).
If much poetry for adults seeks to resolve timeless questions of love, requited or otherwise, and mortality, Hopkins collected poems that addressed equally timeless quandaries bedeviling children.
Hopkins died Aug. 8 at 81.
— The Washington Post