IN REMEMBRANCE: 3-15-2015

REV. WILLIE T. BARROW, A FIGHTER FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

The Rev. Willie T. Barrow, with the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. in 1986, was a past chairwoman of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. Credit Sun-Times Media, via Associated Press

Her death was confirmed by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, the alliance of two groups founded by the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr., of which she was chairwoman for a decade.

Ms. Barrow organized her first civil rights demonstration when she was 12, protesting the fact that she and her fellow black students had to walk to school in her hometown in Texas while whites could ride the school bus. She went on to conduct sit-ins and boycotts with luminaries of the movement, including the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, and joined in the 1963 March on Washington and the protests two years later in Selma, Ala. More recently she voiced concern over gun violence and dilution of the Voting Rights Act.

Willie Beatrice Taplin was born in Burton, Tex., on Dec. 7, 1924, to Nelson and Octava Taplin. Her father was a farmer and a Church of God minister. When she was 16 she moved to Oregon, where she studied theology, organized a Church of God group and worked as a welder in a shipyard, where she met Clyde Barrow, a fellow shipyard worker. They married and moved to Chicago in 1945.

In the early 1970s, she helped Mr. Jackson found Operation PUSH (the letters originally stood for People United to Save Humanity, later changed to Serve Humanity) and succeeded him as executive director when he sought the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1980s. She later served as chairwoman.

She was a fiery advocate and fierce adversary, as the organization pursued its civil rights goals. It encouraged young people to study and stay in school. And, with mixed success, it pressed major corporations to hire more black workers and executives under threat of boycotts. Mr. Jackson merged PUSH with his National Rainbow Coalition in 1996.

Ms. Barrow was a mentor and self-described godmother to young activists, including the future President Obama. The president said in a statement, “I was proud to count myself among the more than 100 men and women she called her ‘godchildren,’ and worked hard to live up to her example.”

The Rev. Calvin S. Morris, the retired executive director of the Community Renewal Society in Chicago and her friend for 48 years, described her as “an old-fashioned schoolmarm of the civil rights movement.”

After her son, Keith, announced that he was gay, she publicly embraced gay rights. He died of AIDS in 1983. Her husband died in 1998. No immediate family members survive.

Married for 56 years, she was inspired to write a book, “How to Get Married … and Stay Married.” Among her sage prescriptions: “Don’t try and make your mate over. It cannot be done.”

While Ms. Barrow mentored men and women alike, she was an unabashed feminist.

She learned by opening her home “to all of the powerful women in the movement — Coretta Scott King, Dorothy Height, Addie Wyatt,” she told The Chicago Sun-Times in 2012. “We have to teach this generation, train more Corettas, more Addies, more Dorothys.

“If these youth don’t know whose shoulders they stand on, they’ll take us back to slavery. And I believe that’s why the Lord is still keeping me here.”

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JONELL NASH, WHO CUT FAT, NOT FLAVOR, OUT OF SOUL FOOD

Jonell Nash was among the pioneers in reducing rates of childhood obesity. Credit One World/Ballantine

The cause was cancer, her friend and former colleague Harriette Cole said.

As the food editor of Essence magazine from 1984 until she retired in 2008 and the author of several cookbooks, Ms. Nash was among the pioneers in a cause popularized more recently by Michelle Obama: reducing rates of childhood obesity, which are higher among black and Hispanic youngsters than among whites.

In her introduction to “Low-Fat Soul,” published in 1996, Ms. Nash said that “in those painful days of our history,” when satisfying meals were one of the few joys available, “our forebears gave little thought to the fat or sugar stirred in.”

“Besides,” she wrote, “they burned off much of what they ate during long, grueling days toiling in the fields. Fat in the diet was actually important to survival.”

In today’s more sedentary, health-conscious times, though, Ms. Nash recommended reduced-sodium recipes infused with legumes, sweet potatoes and cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and greens. Her credo: “Boot the fat, boost the flavor,” by substituting smoke-cured chicken, turkey, fish and even cheese for bacon, and by using butter sparingly.

Forget the lard and ham hocks was how Publishers Weekly summarized Ms. Nash’s other cookbook, “Essence Brings You Great Cooking.” Its review said Ms. Nash had two goals: “The first is to celebrate African-American food traditions in all their diversity; the second, to create a cookbook that will make nutritious home cooking appealing to the everyday cook. She succeeds on both counts.”

Ms. Nash is survived by two sisters, Gertrude Cherry and Marva Stanton, and a brother, Willie Nash. Her longtime partner, Paul Butler, a film and television actor, died in 2010.

She was born in Delhi, La., on Dec. 20, 1942, the daughter of Willie Henry Nash Sr., who worked in a plastics plant, and the former Mollie Osborne, who worked in a dry cleaning store. The family moved to Detroit, where Ms. Nash graduated from Wayne State University and taught high school home economics.

Ms. Nash was hired by Coed magazine, published by Scholastic, and then moved to New York, where she worked in the test kitchen at Woman’s Day magazine. She joined Essence, which describes itself as a lifestyle magazine for black women, in 1984, and published “Essence Brings You Great Cooking” in 1994.

She wove her commitment to quality cooking and baking, which she learned from her parents, into her personal and professional lives. Through Les Dames d’Escoffier New York, an organization of women in the food and hospitality professions, she financed a scholarship in honor of Edna Lewis, a renowned chef who died in 2006, for students to study Southern cooking. The scholarship is being renamed for Ms. Nash.

Even when Ms. Nash would eat at her desk, another former colleague, Sharon R. Boone, recalled, she would first put down a china place setting and silverware on a small tablecloth. Taste matters, she said in her cookbook.

“Even more than specific dishes or ingredients, soul food represents a certain spirit, an attitude, a flamboyance, a kind of loving that one brings to the kitchen and stirs into the pots,” she wrote. “In essence, it’s a flava.”

Correction: March 11, 2015
An earlier version of this obituary misstated the year Ms. Nash joined Essence magazine. It was 1984, not 1978.
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MICHAEL GRAVES, POSTMODERNIST ARCHITECT WHO DESIGNED TOWERS AND TEAKETTLES

Michael Graves in 1999, with his Target designs. He was one of the New York Five, and designed more than 350 buildings. Credit Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

His death was confirmed by his firm, Michael Graves & Associates, which did not specify a cause. He had been paralyzed from the waist down since 2003 as a result of a spinal cord infection.

Mr. Graves was first associated with the New York Five, a group of architects who achieved cult-like stature by helping to redefine modernism in the 1970s. He went on to design projects like the headquarters of the health care company Humana in Louisville, Ky., and the Portland Municipal Building in Oregon, which exemplified postmodernism with their reliance on color and ornament and made him a celebrity.

He used his fame as a brand, designing housewares for Target while continuing to run a busy practice even as postmodernism fell out of fashion and Mr. Graves’s reputation with it.

An advocate of design for health and safety, Mr. Graves made this bathtub grab bar. Credit Drive Medical

Since founding his firm in Princeton in 1964, Mr. Graves designed everything from office buildings, resorts and retail stores to hospitals, monuments and university buildings. His most prominent projects also included the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport in The Hague and an expansion of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, proposed in the mid-1980s, that was never realized.

Writing about the Humana building in 1985, Paul Goldberger of The New York Times called the tower, sheathed in pink granite with a solid glass shaft up the center, “a remarkable achievement — in every way Mr. Graves’s finest building, a tower that proves his ability not only to work at large scale, but to create interior and exterior details as well wrought as those of any architect now practicing.” But Mr. Graves became a household name not for his buildings but for designing more than 2,000 everyday consumer products for companies like Target, Alessi, Steuben and Disney.

When he was awarded the American Institute of Architects’ gold medal in 2000, the institute’s Eugene C. Hopkins said Mr. Graves had “brought quality designed products within reach of everyone in the country.” (He also received the National Medal of Arts from President Bill Clinton the previous year.)

This utilitarian direction arguably lost Mr. Graves some ground in his profession. “He chose to go populist and commercial,” the architect Peter Eisenman, a good friend of Mr. Graves, said in a telephone interview. “I think you pay a price for those kinds of things.”

Mr. Graves persevered nonetheless, with unabashed pride. Asked by The Times in 2011 whether he worried about injuring his reputation, he said: “Just the opposite. It was my hope to do that.”

“We have behind us all this mass production, so why not take advantage and bring the price down for everybody?” he added. “I figured, if it’s going to get designed, let’s do it well. So that’s what we did, and I’m happy about it.”

The Humana health care company skyscraper in Louisville, Ky., designed by Mr. Graves. Credit Geoff Oliver Bugbee for The New York Times

Mr. Graves’s firm is celebrating its 50th anniversary with an exhibition at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, N.J., which is on view until April 5.

“For those of us who had the opportunity to work closely with Michael, we knew him as an extraordinary designer, teacher, mentor and friend,” his firm said in a statement. “For the countless students that he taught for more than 40 years, Michael was an inspiring professor who encouraged everyone to find their unique design voice.”

Mr. Graves recently helped establish the Michael Graves School of Architecture at Kean University in New Jersey.

Born in Indianapolis on July 9, 1934, Mr. Graves studied architecture at the University of Cincinnati and Harvard University. In 1962, he began a 40-year teaching career at Princeton. As one of the New York Five, he was linked with Mr. Eisenman, Richard Meier, Charles Gwathmey and John Hejduk. They were also known as the Whites, because of their proclivity for white buildings inspired by the purist forms of Le Corbusier.

Mr. Graves became among the most celebrated of the postmodernists in the 1980s. “He was on top of the heap,” Mr. Eisenman said. The Portland building, with its hammered-copper Portlandia statues, its rich colors and its classical references, was a standout among corporate buildings. Seen by many as a rejection of — or a welcome departure from — the glass-and-steel Modernist orthodoxy, the Portland building became the centerpiece of the so-called postmodern movement.

But by 1985 the backlash against postmodernism had begun, and the rejection of Mr. Graves’s plan for expanding the Whitney Museum of Art’s famed Breuer building was a setback. “No Mo Po Mo!” became the rallying cry of foes of postmodernism. His design would have radically altered the facade of the building, prompting objections from community groups and the city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

Michael Graves in 2011 with some of his housewares. He designed more than 2,000 everyday consumer products. Credit Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times

“Losing the Whitney — and that fight he had with the neighborhood — took a lot out of him,” Mr. Eisenman said. “He really wanted to build that building.”

Among Mr. Graves’s later projects was the design of scaffolding used for the restoration of the Washington Monument in 2000.

He is survived by his companion, Minxia Lin; two sons, Adam and Michael; a daughter, Sarah Graves Stelfox; and three grandsons.

After he began using a wheelchair, Mr. Graves became internationally recognized as an advocate of health care design. In a 2011 interview, he explained why he tended to use color in designing hospital rooms.

“It’s not there to get you well,” he said, “but make you smile and make you think life is not as bad as that operation you had.”

Mr. Eisenman said he and Mr. Meier had both seen Mr. Graves recently, at a luncheon at the American Academy of Arts, and noted that the declining numbers of the New York Five (Mr. Hejduk died in 2000, Mr. Gwathmey in 2009) had made him think about his own mortality.

“We had a lot of good times,” Mr. Eisenman said. “As I said to Richard Meier, ‘And then there were two.’ ”

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JIMMY GREENSPOON, A KEYBOARDIST FOR THREE DOG NIGHT

Jimmy Greenspoon in 2014. Credit Steve Spatafore/Three Dog Night, via Associated Press

The cause was cancer, said his agent, Chris Burke.

Mr. Greenspoon had been with Three Dog Night since its formation in 1968 and worked with the band until October 2014, when he took a leave of absence to pursue treatment for metastatic melanoma.

Three Dog Night had three No. 1 singles between 1969 and 1971: “Mama Told Me (Not to Come),” written by Randy Newman; “Joy to the World,” written by Hoyt Axton; and “Black and White,” a song about racial equality written in 1954 by Earl Robinson and David Arkin. Twenty-one of the group’s singles reached the Billboard Top 40.

The band broke up in 1976 but reunited a few years later.

Unlike most other bands of the era, Three Dog Night had three lead singers. Mr. Greenspoon was not one of them, but his keyboards were an integral part of the band’s sound.

Mr. Greenspoon also performed or recorded with Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, the Beach Boys and many other music acts.

He is survived by his wife, Susie; a daughter, Heather Miller; and two granddaughters.

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