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Ardis Butler James, 85, a philanthropist behind a major collection of quilts, dies at 85

Ardis Butler James, 85, a Nebraska-born philanthropist who with her husband established what is now the largest public collection of quilts in the world at a museum in Lincoln, encompassing humbly elegant bed coverings by anonymous 18th-century hands and avant-garde wall hangings by celebrated 21st-century artists, died from complications of a neurological disorder on July 7 in Stamford, Conn.

Lucian Freud, 88, a British artist who gained fame for his intense and deeply textural nude paintings, died on Wednesday in London following an illness. His best-known works feature subjects in anguished, antierotic poses, their psychology externalized onto their bodies. He was a grandson of Sigmund Freud.

Leo Kirch, 84, who turned his one-man film distributor into Germany's second-biggest media empire, after Bertelsmann, before losing it in a bankruptcy in 2002 after a gamble on digital pay TV, died July 14 in Munich.

Kip Tiernan, 85, who founded the nation's first homeless shelter for women in 1974, died of cancer on July 2 in Boston. Her Rosie's Place has 20 beds and serves lunch and dinner to 150 women a day. Its pantry provides food to about 800 women a month, and it offers drug and alcohol abuse counseling.

Stanley J. Seeger, 81, a reclusive, idiosyncratic art collector who disposed of Picassos, Beckmanns and Bacons nearly as fast as he bought them and who for several years in the 1980s owned Sutton Place, one of Britain's grandest Tudor estates, died of an aortic aneurysm in Whitby on June 24.

Cornell MacNeil, 88, one of the great postwar American baritones, best known for his roles in Verdi operas, died on July 15 in Charlottesville, Va. He was considered the equal of Leonard Warren and Robert Merrill, the other stellar American Verdi baritones during the second half of the 20th century.

J. Terrence Lanni, 68, a gambling company executive who helped turn a single casino into the industry giant now known as MGM Resorts International, died of cancer on July 14 in Pasadena, Calif.

Juan Maria Bordaberry, 83, who as president of Uruguay participated in a coup in 1973 that ushered in a 12-year military dictatorship, died on July 17 in Montevideo, where he had been serving a 30-year sentence under house arrest for orchestrating the coup and for crimes against humanity.

Travis Bean, 63, a machinist who earned a nugget of rock 'n' roll immortality by making electric guitars with necks fashioned out of aluminum instead of wood and selling them to members of the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones, died of lymphatic cancer on July 10 in Burbank, Calif. The electric guitars and basses had an uncanny ability to sustain notes and a richness of tone that some likened to that of a piano or harp.

David Ngoombujarra, 44, one of Australia's best-known indigenous actors whose films included Australia and Rabbit-Proof Fence, was found dead in a park in Fremantle on July 17. His other films included Ned Kelly, Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles and Kangaroo Jack.

Ardis Butler James, 85, a philanthropist behind a major collection of quilts, dies at 85 07/23/11 [Last modified: Saturday, July 23, 2011 7:53pm]
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