Obituaries, 14th -20th of December 2012

Leslie Claudius, Jimmy McCracklin, Dina Manfredini, Jesse Hill Jnr & Jake Adam York have passed away. May their souls rest in peace

Leslie Claudius: March 25th 1927 – December 20th 2012
Legendary former Indian national field hockey player and manager, Leslie Claudius, passed away this week aged 85. Born in Bilaspur to Anglo-Indian parents, he took part in four highly successful Olympic Games, bringing home gold in 1948, '52 and '56. Claudius was also the first Indian to represent his nation in over a hundred hockey matches. 1978 saw him appointed national coach and other honors include the Padma Shri Award, having a train station named after him and a citation in the Guinness Book of Records for his Olympic medal haul – one of the most ever won in his sport. Claudius is survived by his wife and three sons.

Jimmy McCracklin: August 13th 1921 – December 20th 2012
Blues musician Jimmy McCracklin has passed away in California. He was 91. A skilled pianist, singer and songwriter, McCracklin's career stretched through seven decades, recording over 30 albums, four of which were gold. Born in St Louis, Missouri, his musical career blossomed after leaving the US Navy when he began to perform in bars and clubs in the 1940's. This lead to him backing the likes of B B King and in 1945 he pressed his first record and formed his first group a year later. Otis Redding's hit single, "Tramp" was written by McCracklin. Widely considered to be one of the most influential bluesmen of his era, he was honored with a Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer Award in 1990. McCracklin is survived by his daughter and two grandchildren.

Dina Manfredini: April 4th 1897 – December 17th 2012
The oldest living person – since the death of Besse Cooper less than two weeks prior – Dina Manfredini has passed away at the age of 115 years and 257 days. She held the title for just thirteen days. The Italian-American was born in North Italy's Emilia-Romagna region and moved with her husband to Iowa, USA in her early twenties. They had four children together and after his death in 1965 she lived alone before moving to a nursing home aged 110. Manfredini, who remained relatively active right up until her final years, is survived by three children, seven grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren.

Jesse Hill Jnr: May 30th 1926 – December 17th 2012
Civil rights leader and prominent businessman, Jesse Hill Jnr, passed away this week at the age of 86. A former friend of Martin Luther King Jnr, Hill was born in St Louis and went on to graduate from the University of Michigan. He created the first black newspaper, "The Atlanta Inquirer" and in 1977 became the first black president of the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. Other firsts included his membership of the Board of Directors at Rich's Department Store and the Georgia Board of Regents. 2008 saw him honored with an induction into the International Civil Rights Walk of Fame. Hill is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Jake Adam York: August 10th 1972 – December 16th 2012
Revered poet Jake Adam York suddenly passed away this week aged 40 after suffering a stroke. The award-winning poet was born in West Palm Beach, Florida before moving to Alabama at an early age and went on to read English at Auburn University. After this he gained his Ph.D from the University of Cornell. York published three poetry books: "Murder Ballads" won the Elixir Prize in 2005 and "A Murmuration of Starlings" won the Colorado Book Award three years later. His other tome is entitled "Persons Unknown." York is survived by his wife, parents and brother.

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