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Last updated: Thu. Jan. 02, 2014 - 01:53 pm EDT

Features stories of the year

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We lost them in 2013

The following lifestyle and entertainment personalities died this year:

Most notable

Patti Page, 85, Jan. 1, singer

Pauline Phillips, 94, Jan. 16, Dear Abby advice columnist

Dale Robertson, 89, Feb. 26, actor

Van Cliburn, 78, Feb. 27, pianist

Bonnie Franklin, 69, March 1, actress

Fay Kanin, 95, March 27, screenwriter and former president of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Roger Ebert, 70, April 4, movie critic

Annette Funicello, 70, April 8, Mouseketeer, actress

Jonathan Winters, 87, April 11, comedian

George Jones, 81, April 26, country singer

Jeanne Cooper, 84, May 8, actress

Jean Stapleton, 90, May 31, actress

Esther Williams, 91, June 6, swimmer, actress

James Gandolfini, 51, June 19, actor

Karen Black, 74, Aug. 7, actress

Eydie Gorme, 84, Aug. 10, singer

Julie Harris, 87, Aug. 24, actress

Tom Clancy, 66, Oct. 1, author

Marcia Wallace, 70, Oct. 25, actress

Hal Needham, 82, Oct. 25, stuntman and film director

Lou Reed, 71, Oct. 27, singer-songwriter

Paul Walker, 40, Nov. 30, actor

Tom Laughlin, 82, Dec. 12, actor and filmmaker

Peter O'Toole, 81, Dec. 14, actor

Joan Fontaine, 96, Dec. 15, actress

Others who passed

Ned Wertimer, 89, Jan. 2, actor

Sammy Johns, 66, Jan. 4, songwriter

David R. Ellis, 60, Jan. 7, director

Conrad Bain, 89, Jan. 14, actor

Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, 69, Jan. 26, Ohio Players band member

Patty Andrews, 94, Jan. 30, Andrews Sisters singer

Ann Rabson, 67, Jan. 30, co-founder of Saffire — The Uppity Blues Women

H. Stanley “Stan” Liddell Jr., 76, Feb. 4, businessman and owner of Piere's

Reg Presley, 71, Feb. 4, Troggs singer

Robin Sachs, 61, Feb. 6, actor

John Kerr, 81, Feb. 9, actor

Rick Huxley, 72, Feb. 11, Dave Clark Five bassist

Tony Sheridan, 72, Feb. 16, Beatles frontman, singer/songwriter

Mindy McCready, 37, Feb. 17, country music singer

Debbie Ford, 57, Feb. 17, self-help author

Otis “Damon” Harris, 62, Feb. 18, Temptations singer

Cleotha Staples, 78, Feb. 21, singer

Dan Toler, 65, Feb. 25, Allman Brothers guitarist

Richard Street, 70, Feb. 27, Temptations singer

Jewel Akens, 79, March 1, singer

Magic, 37, March 1, rapper

Robert E. Relyea, 82, March 5, film producer/director

William Moody, aka Paul Bearer, 58, March 5, WWE wrestling manager

Alvin Lee, 68, March 7, guitarist

Claude King, 90, March 7, country singer songwriter

Peter Banks, 65, March 7, Yes guitarist

Clive Burr, 58, March 12, Iron Maiden drummer

Malachi Throne, 84, March 13, actor

Jack Greene, 83, March 14, country music singer

Jason Molina, 39, March 16, singer songwriter

Bobby Smith, 76, March 16, Spinners singer

Deke Richards, 68, March 24, Motown songwriter-producer

Richard Griffiths, 65, March 28, actor

Reid Fliehr, 25, March 29, pro wrestler

Phil Ramone, 79, March 30, music producer

Shain Gandee, 21, April 1, reality star

Jane Henson, 78, April 2, Muppets designer

Jesus Franco, 82, April 2, Spanish horror director

Les Blank, 77, April 7, filmmaker

Lilly Pulitzer Rousseau, 81, April 7, fashion designer

Jimmy Dawkins, 76, April 10, blues musician

Chi Cheng, 42, April 13, The Deftones bassist

George Jackson, 68, April 14, songwriter

Richard LeParmentier, 66, April 16, actor

George Beverly Shea, 104, April 16, Christian singer

E.L. Konigsburg, 83, April 19, children's author

Allan Arbus, 95, April 19, actor

Christina Amphlett, 53, April 21, Divinyls singer

Richie Havens, 72, April 22, folk singer

Deanna Durbin, 91, April 30, actress

Chris Kelly, 34, May 1, rapper

Jeff Hanneman, 49, May 2, founding member of Slayer

Cedric Brooks, 70, May 3, reggae musician

Alan O'Day, 72, May 17, singer/songwriter

Ray Manzarek, 74, May 20, Doors' keyboardist

Marshall Lytle, 79, May 25, Bill Haley & His Comets bassist

Jack Vance, 96, May 26, author

Clarence Burke Jr., 64, May 26, Five Stairsteps lead singer

Ben Tucker, 82, June 4, musician

Maxine Stuart, 94, June 6, actress

Slim Whitman, 90, June 19, yodeling singer

Vince Flynn, 47, June 19, author

Richard Matheson, 87, June 23, author

Bobby Bland, 83, June 23, blues/soul singer

Sammy Terry, 83, horror show host

Cory Monteith, 31, July 13, actor

Dennis Burkley, 67, July 14, actor

Talia Castellano, 13, July 15, Internet celebrity, honorary CoverGirl

Poncie Ponce, 80, July 19, actor

Dennis Farina, 69, July 22, actor

JJ Cale, 74, July 26, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter

Kidd Kraddick, 53, July 27, radio host

Cosmo Allegretti, 86, July 26, puppeteer

Eileen Brennan, 80, July 28, actress

Michael Ansara, 91, July 31, actor

Margaret Pellegrini, 89, Aug. 7, “Wizard of Oz” munchkin

Sean Sasser, 44, Aug. 7, reality star

Jon Brookes, 44, Aug. 13, Charlatans UK drummer

Gia Allemand, 29, Aug. 14, TV reality star

Lisa Robin Kelly, 43, Aug. 14, actress

Allen Lanier, 69, Aug. 14, Blue Oyster Cult founder

Lee Thompson Young, 29, Aug. 19, actor

Elmore Leonard, 87, Aug. 20, author

Lew Wood, 84, Aug. 21, “Today” news anchor

Louise Currie, 100, Sept. 8, actress

Patricia Blair, 80, Sept. 9, actress

Ray Dolby, 80, Sept. 12, audio pioneer

Prince Jazzbo, 62, Sept. 12, rap reggae performer/producer

Patsy Swayze, 86, Sept. 16, choreographer

Kim Hamilton, 81, Sept. 16, actress

Marta Heflin, 68, Sept. 18, actress

Richard C. Sarafian, 83, Sept. 18, film and TV director

Gary Brandner, 80, Sept. 22, horror author

Cal Smith, 81, Oct. 10, country singer

Terry Rhoads, 61, Oct. 11, actor

Maxine Powell, 98, Motown etiquette instructor

Ed Lauter, 74, Oct. 16, actor

Charlie Trotter, 54, Nov. 5, chef and restaurateur

Doris Lessing, 94, Nov. 17, Nobel Prize-winning author

Maurice (Mad Dog) Vachon, 84, Nov. 21, pro wrestler

Wayne Mills, 44, Nov. 23, country music singer

Christopher Evan Welch, 48, Dec. 2, actor

Eleanor Parker, 91, Dec. 9, actress

Ray Price, 87, Dec. 16, country singer

— By Sheryl Krieg of The News-Sentinel

Return of the Raft Race

For years, people have been asking for the Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival to bring back the Raft Race.

Once more of a party on the St. Joseph River than an actual race, the event was one of the big crowd attractions at TRF before being discontinued in 1997 because of high insurance costs, declining participation and other concerns.

After a few years of study and planning, TRF brought back the raft race this summer.

The July 20 event included a new course on the St. Marys River and stricter rules, including a brief raft safety inspection, a requirement that all riders must wear shoes and personal flotation devices, and a ban on alcohol on board. The festival also monitored river water to make sure bacteria counts were at safe levels for anyone who fell in.

Early morning rain delayed the start by an hour, but then the race was on! More than 60 rafts set sail from around Swinney Park on their way toward downtown. Most crews just wanted to have fun, while some competed for $14,000 in prize money.

All aboard!

On Oct. 26 and 27, the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society's Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive No. 765 chugged through town for the first public excursion runs the engine has made here since 1993.

Nearly all tickets for each day's round-trip run to Lafayette sold within two hours when they went on sale Sept. 1. The grand locomotive pulled about 800 people in 15 vintage passenger cars during each trip, which began and ended along railroad tracks behind the Do it Best headquarters at 6502 Nelson Road between Fort Wayne and New Haven.

Built in 1944 at the Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio, Engine No. 765 originally pulled trains between Fort Wayne and Chicago for the New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad, which later became known as the Nickel Plate Road. The engine was taken out of service in 1958 and placed in 1963 as a monument in Lawton Park.

Volunteers from the rail historical society received approval to remove the deteriorating engine from the park in 1974 so they could restore it. They began operating it in 1979 to pull people on excursion or sightseeing trips, but none of those runs originated in Fort Wayne — until this fall.

Active year for the arts

It was a year of change and growth in the local arts scene.

In May, Arts United of Greater Fort Wayne broke ground on construction of the $1.6 million ArtsLab black box theater, which is being built onto the east side of the Auer Center for Arts and Culture, 300 E. Main St. Arts United works to develop, coordinate and support arts and cultural organizations and programs in northeast Indiana.

ArtsLab, which Arts United officials hope will be completed by mid-January, will allow local arts groups to experiment with innovative artistic programming, including small theatrical productions, music and dance performances, temporary art exhibits, and educational programs.

Arts United also searched for a new president after announcing Aug. 9 that longtime leader Jim Sparrow had accepted a job as president and CEO of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County in North Carolina.

Other big arts news in 2013 included:

*The Embassy Theatre announced a $10 million fundraising campaign to pay for renovating four floors of the adjoining former Indiana Hotel and other undeveloped areas of the building. The work would create a two-story-high ballroom and rooftop garden, studio and rehearsal space, classrooms, history center, and improved public access and concessions.

*The Fort Wayne Museum of Art welcomed an exhibit of about 50 smaller pieces by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly during its “Summer of Glass” exhibits June 29-Sept. 29.

*It was a great year for local concert fans, who had the chance to see stars such as Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Elton John, Barry Manilow and Kid Rock at Memorial Coliseum, and the Avett Brothers, Harry Connick Jr., Alice Cooper, Steely Dan and Loretta Lynn at the Embassy Theatre.

Births on high

For the first time in three years, peregrine falcons successfully hatched chicks in the nest box on the roof of One Summit Square. Moxie and her mate, Jamie, jumped right into family life, too, hatching four chicks around May 1.

Moxie, a 2-year-old bird from Canton, Ohio, and Jamie, a 3-year-old male from Port Sheldon, Mich., took up residence in Fort Wayne in 2012, but Moxie was too young to lay eggs.

Their flock soon had names — male Maverick and females Electra, Skyler and Soara — thanks to a naming contest sponsored by Indiana Michigan Power and won by students at Deer Ridge, Harris, Whispering Meadows and St. Vincent de Paul elementary schools in Fort Wayne.

Both the federal government and state of Indiana listed peregrine falcons as an endangered species decades ago because exposure to pesticides caused a steep drop in their population.

Indiana started a peregrine falcon reintroduction program in 1991, and it has been successful. Statewide, a record 44 chicks were checked and banded for identification this year.

Peregrines recovered enough to be taken off the federal endangered species list in 1999. They remained an endangered species in Indiana until the Indiana Department of Natural Resources took them off the list in October.

Book sharing

In late June, the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne, also known as Downtown Rotary, announced a project to seek sponsors to install 100 Little Free Libraries around Fort Wayne as part of the club's 100th anniversary in 2015.

The Little Free Library concept, which started in Wisconsin, operates on the idea of “take a book, leave a book.” People are encouraged to take a book to read and to leave one of their books for someone else to enjoy.

The club hopes to partner with local nonprofit organizations, businesses, schools, churches, families and individuals to sponsor Little Free Libraries around the city. The club opened the first Little Free Library, which resembles a large birdhouse, in front of Washington Elementary School downtown on West Washington Boulevard.

About a dozen Little Free Libraries had been started at various locations by mid-December. You can find the one closest to you by going to our map at news-sentinel.com. We will update the map each time we learn of a new location.

To sponsor a Little Free Library, contact Candace Schuler at 418-6142 or

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