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Famed Cuban tobacco grower Alejandro Robaina dies

Cuban Alejandro Robaina received world acclaim as a tobacco grower. He was prominent enough to defy Fidel Castro.

Associated Press (2002)

Cuban Alejandro Robaina received world acclaim as a tobacco grower. He was prominent enough to defy Fidel Castro.

Alejandro Robaina, 91, a Cuban tobacco grower who received international acclaim for the quality of his leaves, died of cancer April 17, 2010, at his home near San Luis. Mr. Robaina (roe-BYE-nuh) was a member of one of the island's oldest tobacco-growing families, and his career as a planter stretched nearly nine decades. He made some of the best wrappers in the world, and they lent delicacy to the traditionally full-bodied Cuban cigar. Such was his standing that when Cuban leader Fidel Castro urged him to join a collective farm to increase productivity, he firmly said no — and got his way. "For me, tobacco growing had to be in the family, done with love. Nobody worries as much as the grower," he told CNN in 2008.

Whitney Harris, 97, a member of the U.S. legal team that prosecuted Nazis at Nuremberg after World War II, died Wednesday (April 21, 2010) at his home in the suburban St. Louis town of Frontenac. He was the last surviving of the three Nuremberg prosecutors, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. In his later years, he was an author and gave speeches on human rights. In 1980, he established the Whitney R. Harris Collection on the Third Reich of Germany at Washington University in St. Louis.

Bernard Simon, 89, who served for more than 20 years as public relations director for the Jewish humanitarian organization B'nai B'rith International, died of complications from spinal stenosis on Tuesday (April 20, 2010) in Olney, Md. Early in his career, he was a freelance journalist who wrote for the Saturday Evening Post, Coronet magazine and the Toronto Star. He worked as associate public relations director for the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, which fights anti-Semitism, before becoming public relations director at B'nai B'rith in 1956.

Esther Pierce Pulis Corcoran, 104, who rose from a private in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps to a lieutenant colonel in the regular Army, died March 24, 2010, in Washington. She was honored in November by Michelle Obama at a White House tea for women formerly in the military. She was a founding member of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial in Arlington County, Va., and donated the artwork of military icons that is displayed in its foyer.

Biljana Kovacevic Vuco, 58, one of Serbia's most prominent human rights activists, died Tuesday (April 20, 2010) after a long illness. She played an important role in Serbia's fledgling human rights and antiwar movement during the 1990s rule of late strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

Robert Pound, 90, a Harvard University physicist who confirmed one of Albert Einstein's key theories, died of a heart ailment April 12, 2010, in Belmont, Mass. At a time when scientists thought satellites and long distances might be required to confirm a main prediction of the general theory of relativity, he and a colleague did it indoors. The work helped validate Einstein by showing that gravity could shift the frequency of light.

C.K. Prahalad, 68, a University of Michigan professor whose books about business management and global marketing made him one the world's most influential thinkers on corporate strategy, died of a respiratory illness on April 16, 2010, in San Diego. He applied bold and original approaches to a wide range of business practices and economic issues, including corporate culture, consumerism, innovation, marketing and poverty. The Times of London called him "the No. 1 most influential management thinker in the world" in its two most recent rankings.

Carolyn Rodgers, 69, a leading poet of the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s whose work wove feminism, black power, spirituality and self-consciousness into a sometimes raging, sometimes ruminative search for identity, died of cancer April 2, 2010, in Chicago. She was a dynamic reader of her own poems and an influential theoretician who spoke and wrote about the black aesthetic in poetry.

Purvis Young, 67, a self-taught painter who emerged from prison as a young man and by dint of his striking, expressionist vision of urban life and mammoth output over more than three decades transformed the forgotten Miami neighborhood of Overtown into a destination for contemporary art aficionados, died of cardiac arrest and pulmonary edema on Tuesday (April 20, 1010). His work can be found in the American Folk Art Museum in Manhattan, the Bass Museum in Miami, the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, the High Museum in Atlanta, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among many other places.

Famed Cuban tobacco grower Alejandro Robaina dies 04/24/10 [Last modified: Saturday, April 24, 2010 8:54pm]

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