Obituaries

Baxter Richard Leach used his voice to cry out for the respect and dignity of sanitation workers oppressed by unsanitary and unsafe working conditions and racist attitudes. It all came to a head on Feb. 1, 1968 when two friends and colleagues were crushed to death in a malfunctioning...
Doris Thomas Hill, the founder and chief administrator of the South Memphis-based ESPN Academy, was determined to make the academy’s 19th anniversary celebration the best ever. Last Friday (Aug. 2) just after 5 p.m., Mrs. Hill passed away at Baptist Memorial Hospital.  She was 67.  “The banquet will go on as...
The iconic Four Way restaurant was still this week. The normally crowded parking lot was empty as the eatery closed to mark the passing of Jo Ellen Bates, 74. Daughter, Patrice Bates Thompson, broke the news of her mother’s passing on social media. “I tried to make you laugh,” Thompson...
Services will be Friday for James E. Ivy, the first African-American to serve as director of the Memphis Police Department. Mr. Ivy became police director in 1988. He passed away last Friday. He was 81. “Director Ivy set a high bar for the rest of us to follow,” said Memphis Police...
Film critic and literary writer Kam Williams died Thursday, May 30 from prostate cancer. He was 66 years old. A resident of Princeton, NJ, Williams published nearly 10,000 articles and reviews. Throughout his nearly 22-year career as a writer, he was most known for his film reviews and celebrity interviews...
In an alternate reality, one where John Gary Williams wasn’t called up to go to Vietnam, he might have become a soul music icon, a household name mentioned alongside Marvin Gaye, Al Green or Otis Redding. But in this reality, as news spread of Williams’ death at his Memphis home...
On Saturday at noon, the Rev. Joseph Scrivner and the Rev. Keith Norman will be in the pulpit at First Baptist Church-Broad focused on duty while also contending with a deep family loss. Scrivner is the son of the late Rev. Ralph White, longtime pastor of Bloomfield Full Gospel Baptist...
John Gary Williams, whose brief musical career with The Mad Lads on Stax Records set the stage for a fascinating life, died Tuesday. He was 73. If you're like me (say, 50 or younger), you might need to google Williams or The Mad Lads, as their brief brush with fame...
Luberta Elliott Smith, the widow of the first African American elected mayor of Holly Springs, Miss., and a long-serving teacher in the Marshall County Schools system, passed on Monday at Christopher’s Personal Care Home in Holly Springs. She was 84. The homegoing celebration will be at Asbury United Methodist Church, 225...
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Ermias Davidson Asghedom — better known as rapper, businessman and philanthropist Nipsey Hussle — was killed Sunday, gunned down in front of his own Marathon Clothing Store in his hometown of Los Angeles. Two others were wounded. Hussle was 33 years old. Hussle’s acclaimed 2017 Victory Lap was nominated...