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1996 / THE YEAR IN REVIEW

Remembering Those Who Made a Difference

December 29, 1996

They weren't necessarily famous--they didn't usually burst onto our television screens or grab headlines in the morning paper--but still they shaped Los Angeles. They changed the way we thought about our world. They entertained us, or inspired us. They achieved financial success, then donated their money to our hospitals, our schools or our libraries. When they passed on, they left their mark. What follows is a sampling, a brief memorial to just a few who died in 1996:

* Irving P. Krick, 89, meteorologist. Krick forecast the weather for U.S. military forces during World War II, and his predictions helped guide bombing runs and the D-day invasion of Normandy. Later, he established a meteorology department at Caltech and promoted a commercial cloud-seeding process to increase rain.

* Jack Smith, 79, journalist and author. Smith's column in The Times, which premiered in 1958, captured daily life in simple yet graceful prose. From child-rearing to heart disease, from cats to football, he wrote about anything and everything he encountered.

* Kenneth Norris Jr., 66, manufacturing executive and philanthropist. Norris' family trust poured more than $70 million into Southern California charities and institutions, including a cancer research center at USC and an astronomical observatory at Caltech.

* James Wood, 51, labor leader. A union leader for decades, Wood was a fixture on picket lines and at strike negotiations. But he also forged a partnership with developers as head of the Community Redevelopment Agency, focusing on revitalizing downtown with projects such as the Bunker Hill skyscrapers and Little Tokyo.

* Scott Dunning, 50, surfboard designer. Dunning's handcrafted surfboards attracted customers around the world. He developed new technology to make lighter boards, then decorated them with intricate woodwork and sold them in his Topanga Canyon shop.

* Kathleen Parker, 90, county judge. Parker was one of the first women elected to the Los Angeles Superior Court, taking the bench in 1962 and presiding over criminal cases for the next 30 years. She also served as president of the Volunteers of America of Los Angeles.

* Ross Miller, 68, surgeon and civic leader. Miller led a 1960s charge to bring African Americans to power in Compton. He served on the school board and City Council, volunteered at the Compton YMCA and with the group 100 Black Men of Los Angeles, and practiced medicine at several local hospitals.

* Max Factor, 91, cosmetics executive. Factor invented waterproof mascara and long-lasting lipstick for movie stars, then pushed it into drugstores for everyday women. He is credited with coining the word "makeup."

* Richard Rouilard, 43, journalist and gay rights activist. Rouilard edited the Advocate, the nation's oldest magazine serving the homosexual community, for two years, more than doubling its circulation. He was dubbed the "voice of gay rights" by Time magazine.

* Arshag Dickranian, philanthropist and educator. An Armenian immigrant who fled his country in 1923, Dickranian ran a market in Beverly Hills, then founded 13 Armenian schools throughout California. He also helped fund Armenian studies programs at Harvard University and UCLA.

* Louis Brown, 87, lawyer and law professor. Brown developed the concept of "preventive law," advocating regular legal checkups to keep people out of trouble. He wrote 10 books and a regular newspaper column and taught his concepts at USC, UCLA and Southwestern University.

* C. Bernard Jackson, 68, founder of a multicultural theater. Jackson created the Inner City Cultural Center after the Watts riots. It became an educational center and a social service organization as well as a theater, aiming to use art to bring together racial and ethnic groups.

* Mauro Vincenti, 53, restaurateur. Vincenti, who owned Rex il Ristorante downtown, helped introduce contemporary Italian cooking to Los Angeles. He also transformed the downtown Oviatt Building from a rundown Art Deco landmark into a showpiece restaurant.

* Lillian Lewis, 83, retired dishwasher and school volunteer. A South Los Angeles resident, Lewis rode buses 80 miles each day to serve as the hall monitor at Granada Hills High School. The students called her "Granny" and many confided their problems to her.

* Francisco M. "Cannibal" Garcia, 49, band leader. As founder of the Cannibal and the Headhunters pop quartet, Garcia epitomized the Latin-Motown sound that sprang from Los Angeles' Eastside in the 1960s. His best-known line was an ad-lib created when he forgot the words to "Land of 1,000 Dances" and subbed in "na-na-na-na-na."

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