IN REMEMBRANCE: JULY 19, 2015

HELEN F. HOLT, WHO ELEVATED ELDER CARE ACROSS THE U.S.

Helen F. Holt at the Capitol in West Virginia, where she served as secretary of state. Credit Office of Former Rep. Rush Holt

Her son, Rush D. Holt Jr., a former congressman from New Jersey, said the cause was heart failure.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Mrs. Holt to oversee a program established by the Housing Act of 1959 for the Federal Housing Administration to insure mortgages on nursing homes that were to meet high new standards.

The president had met Mrs. Holt when she served as secretary of state in West Virginia, the first woman to serve in statewide office there. She had gone on to oversee the state’s long-term care facilities as a commissioner for public institutions.

She served in the federal government through seven administrations, until 1984, creating standards for the financing, construction and operation of about 1,000 new nursing homes with 100,000 beds. The program, now run by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, has built more than 7,000 facilities since it began.

“All there had been up until this time were ‘old people’s homes,’ ” Mrs. Holt said in a 2014 biography, “Helen Holt, Memoir of a Servant Leader,” by Patricia Daly-Lipe. “Some were called ‘poor farms’ and some were ‘pop and mom’ care places. They needed something better and with higher standards.”

Mrs. Holt encouraged architects, developers and operators to get to know at least one person in each home. “Knowing this person’s needs would allow them to understand on a personal level what was required at the facility,” she said in the biography.

Recognizing that different residents needed different levels of care, she helped create what are now known as assisted-living facilities for people who did not need full nursing home care. She also worked with universities to establish degree programs in nursing home administration. She encouraged facilities to create prayer groups and visitation programs between young people and the elderly.

She began the work at a time when it was so rare for women to serve in public roles that The Sun in Baltimore described her in an article about her swearing-in to the housing agency as an “attractive and well-dressed widow,” adding, “Hatless, Mrs. Holt looked pretty and chic in a handsome print suit.”

Helen Louise Froelich was born on Aug. 16, 1913, in the Central Illinois farming town of Gridley, where her father later served as mayor. She graduated from Stephens College in Columbia, Mo., then a two-year college for women, and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology from Northwestern University.

She went on to become a professor of biology and zoology. A group of students submitted her picture for an article about teachers in Life magazine, where it was noticed by Senator Rush D. Holt of West Virginia. The two married in 1941. She entered public service when he died in 1955 at 49, finishing his term in the West Virginia House of Delegates.

A daughter, Jane Holt Seale, died in 2008. Besides her son, she is survived by David Chase, a nephew whom she raised, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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D’ARMY BAILEY, ACTIVIST WHO FOUNDED MUSEUM WHERE DR. KING WAS SHOT

D’Army Bailey in 1989 outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968. The National Civil Rights Museum opened there in 1991. Credit Jim Burton

The cause was cancer, his brother, Walter L. Bailey Jr., said.

By 1982, Dr. King’s legacy had been honored in shrines and street signs across the country. But Mr. Bailey considered the derelict Lorraine Motel in Memphis singularly sacred.

Calling the motel “the site of the crucifixion,” Mr. Bailey said the National Civil Rights Museum would “signal to the world that Memphis has come to grip with the tragedy of Dr. King’s death here, and has drawn from it the tools to mold a unique educational tool.”

Speaking at the museum’s dedication in 1991, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson said: “To not have this museum in Memphis would be like the Christians celebrating Christmas and never celebrating Easter. Memphis, his last sermon. Memphis, the vision of the mountaintop. Memphis, the last march. Memphis, the last interruption. Memphis, the last breath.”

Judge Bailey in 2005. He retired as a Circuit Court judge in 2009 after serving 19 years, but returned to the bench last year. Credit Rollin Riggs

The son of a Pullman porter, Mr. Bailey was only a boy in 1954 when he watched with his brother from the outskirts of Elmwood Cemetery as Memphis’s old guard gathered to pay their final respects to E. H. Crump, the local political boss. Coupled with the United States Supreme Court’s school desegregation decision, the year would signal a turning point, both for the South and for Mr. Bailey.

D’Army Bailey was born in South Memphis on Nov. 29, 1941. His father, Walter Sr., worked for the railroad; his mother, the former Willella Jefferson, was a barber. He was named Darmy, after his grandfather, but for some reason a teacher in elementary school inserted an apostrophe.

Expelled from Southern University, a historically black college in Baton Rouge, La., after he was arrested at an antisegregation demonstration organized by the Congress of Racial Equality, Mr. Bailey transferred to Clark University in Worcester, Mass.

After graduating from Yale Law School in 1967, he helped dispatch lawyers and law students to Memphis, where Dr. King was supporting striking sanitation workers; became executive director of the Law Students Civil Rights Research Council in New York City; and recruited fellow lawyers to register black voters in Mississippi.

In 1969, Mr. Bailey moved to Berkeley, Calif., where he was elected to the City Council in 1971. He refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance at Council meetings because, he said, the United States was not “one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” Two years later, after being branded an obstructionist and a racial provocateur, he lost a recall vote.

Returning to Memphis to practice law, Mr. Bailey organized a campaign in 1982 to spare the Lorraine Motel, once a haven for black travelers in the segregated South, but by then facing foreclosure.

As president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memphis Memorial Foundation, he managed to buy the motel with $67,000 raised from local citizens, supplemented at the last moment by a $50,000 bank loan and a $25,000 contribution from the national public employees union.

The $9.7 million museum opened on July 4, 1991, at a ceremony attended by Rosa Parks, the Montgomery bus boycott pioneer, and Mr. Jackson (who had been present on April 4, 1968, when Dr. King was shot from across the the street).

The two rooms that Dr. King had rented were restored, the bloodstained concrete slab was reset on the balcony and exhibits were installed depicting five centuries of history. Last year, a $27.5 million renovation was completed.

Mr. Bailey wrote two books, “Mine Eyes Have Seen: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Journey” (1993) and “The Education of a Black Radical: A Southern Civil Rights Activist’s Journey, 1959-1964” (2009). He also appeared in a number of films, including “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” in which Mr. Bailey, who had by then become a judge, played a judge.

He retired as a Circuit Court judge in 2009 after serving 19 years, but he returned to the bench last year.

In addition to his brother, he is survived by his wife, the former Adrienne Leslie, and two sons, Justin and Merritt.

The King family was not involved in the museum and had cautioned Mr. Bailey against referring to Dr. King in its name.

“I would have loved to have had their involvement at the time, but in retrospect I believe we ended up having a freer hand,” he said in 1995. He also rejected criticism that the location was too mournful.

“This was a blessed project from the beginning,” Mr. Bailey said. “It’s living history, and I don’t see it as the scene of a defeat or one bit morbid. Everybody dies, and that’s the price we all pay. This is the place where Dr. King paid his price in triumph.”

SOURCE

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JOAN SEBASTIAN, MEXICAN SINGER AND SONGWRITER

Joan Sebastian performing at the Latin Grammy Awards in Las Vegas in 2012. He received a diagnosis of bone cancer in 1999. Credit Al Powers/Invision, via Associated Press

His death was confirmed in a family statement to the Spanish-language news media. Mr. Sebastian learned he had bone cancer in 1999.

Widely known as el Rey del Jaripeo (the King of Mexican Rodeo) and el Poeta del Pueblo (the People’s Poet), Mr. Sebastian performed with intimate intensity, even in packed arenas. He regularly sang and played guitar on horseback, performing equestrian feats as he wooed the audience with songs from his dozens of albums. Even for a seasoned rider, such performances could be perilous; Mr. Sebastian was thrown from his horse at a show in 2011, breaking four ribs.

Mr. Sebastian recorded rancheras, corridos and norteños, among other Mexican song styles. His albums, featuring sentimental hits like “Secreto de Amor” and “Tatuajes,” sold in the millions.

He maintained that his music’s success sprang from his own experiences. “I don’t make up songs. I live songs,” he once told Billboard magazine.

His “En Vivo: Desde la Plaza el Progreso de Guadalajara” (2001) and “13 Celebrando el 13” (2013) both reached No. 1 on Billboard’s top Latin albums chart, and he was inducted into Billboard’s Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2006. He won four Grammys, two for best banda album and two for best Mexican/Mexican-American album; and seven Latin Grammys.

In addition to having a successful recording career of his own, Mr. Sebastian composed songs for stars like Lucero, Vicente Fernández and Antonio Aguilar. He was an actor, too, best known for his work in the telenovela “Tú y Yo” alongside Maribel Guardia, to whom he was married for a time.

Mr. Sebastian was born José Manuel Figueroa on April 8, 1951, in Juliantla, Mexico, the same rural village where he died. An article in The New York Times in 2012 said that he described his father as a wanderer and a cowboy, and that his impoverished family moved regularly to find work.

After writing his first love song at 11, Mr. Figueroa entered a seminary at 14, intending to become a priest. He left the seminary at 17 to pursue both music and a young woman who frequently visited her brother there. It was not his last romance; he fathered eight children with five different women.

Mr. Sebastian’s Facebook page says that he changed his name to Juan Sebastian in 1977, and that he turned the “u” in “Juan” into an “o” on the advice of his sister, a numerologist.

His survivors include his sons Julián Figueroa and José Manuel Figueroa, a musician, who posted on Twitter about his death. Two other sons, Trigo and Juan, were fatally shot in separate incidents.

Soon after Mr. Sebastian learned he had cancer, his doctors told him to stop performing on horseback, but he ignored them. He told Billboard he owed his longevity to his audience.

“When I realized that the applause made me better, that my contact with my audience was what made me cling to life, I discovered the most vital aspect of my battle,” he said. “I honestly think the story would be different if I didn’t have my fans’ support.”

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