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Obituaries

Rev. Dennis E. Thomas, former pastor of First African Baptist Church, dies at 62

The Rev. Dennis Earl Thomas has come to the end of his 41- year career as a church leader, preacher and musician. The former pastor of First African Baptist Church in Richmond died Friday, Dec. 7, 2018, in Philadelphia. He ...

Vernita Lee, mother of Oprah Winfrey, dies on Thanksgiving

Vernita Lee, the mother of Oprah Winfrey, has died at age 83. A spokeswoman for Ms. Winfrey issued a statement on Monday saying Ms. Lee died at her Milwaukee home on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, 2018.

Richmond native and noted musician Melvin ‘Wah Wah Watson’ Ragin dies at 67

Melvin Marcellus Ragin learned to strum a guitar in Richmond and went on to become a legendary studio musician whose unique sound can be heard in more than 150 recordings that topped the charts at No. 1.

Wallace ‘Wally’ Triplett, football pioneer, dies at 92

Wallace “Wally” Triplett, who set many “firsts” as a pioneering African-American football player, died Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, at his home in metropolitan Detroit. He was 92.

Erika E. Wheeler, musician and former outreach coordinator for the Richmond Symphony, dies at 63

Erika Eliza Wheeler combined a passion for music with a penchant for real estate.

Stan Lee, Marvel Comics writer and creator of the ‘Black Panther,’ dies at 95

Stan Lee, the creative dynamo who revolutionized the comic book and made billions for Hollywood by introducing human frailties in Marvel superheroes such as Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk, died Monday, Nov. 12, 2018.

Legendary baseball slugger Willie McCovey dies

Willie McCovey, who was among the most respected and feared sluggers in baseball history, died Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif. Mr. McCovey was 80.

Margaret ‘Peggy’ Brazil, former RPS principal, dies at 76

Margaret Williams “Peggy” Brazil spent 31 years as a Richmond Public Schools educator, capping her service as principal of Overby-Sheppard Elementary School in North Side. Her work helping Richmond schoolchildren build a foundation of knowledge is being remembered following her ...

Trumpeter Roy Hargrove dies at 49

Trumpeter Roy Hargrove, a prolific player who provided his jazz sound to records across a vast range of styles and won two Grammys, has died at age 49.

Poet and playwright Ntozake Shange dies at 70

Playwright, poet and author Ntozake Shange, whose most acclaimed theater piece is the 1975 Tony Award-nominated play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf,” died Saturday, Oct. 27, 2018, according to her daughter.

Retired dentist Dr. Edwin D. Cooke Jr. dies at 85

Dr. Edwin Donald Cooke Jr. is being remembered as a caring dentist. The Air Force veteran practiced in the Richmond area for more than 35 years before retiring. Dr. Cooke, a resident of Prince George County, died Monday, Oct. 8, ...

Charles ‘Jabo’ Wilkins, trailblazing player for the VCU Rams, dies at 70

In Virginia Commonwealth University’s storied basketball history, few players shined brighter than Richmond native Charles “Jabo” Wilkins. A trailblazing hero for the Rams from 1968 to 1971, Mr. Wilkins died of brain cancer Friday, Oct. 12, 2018, in Greenville, N.C., ...

Kenneth L. Prince Sr., businessman, dies at 78

“Work, work and more work. Man don’t work, man don’t eat. “ That was the mantra Kenneth Lee Prince Sr. lived by, said his family. Seeking to emulate his hard-working parents, the longtime Henrico County resident never seemed to rest.

Arthur Mitchell, creator of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, dies at 84

Arthur Mitchell, who broke barriers for African-Americans in the 1950s as a ballet dancer with the New York City Ballet and who would go on to become a driving force in the creation of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, has ...

Venisha Brown, daughter of legendary singer James Brown, dies at 53

A daughter of the late “Godfather of Soul” James Brown has died.

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