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Counterculture icon Stephen Gaskin, founder of Farm commune, dies at 79

Stephen Gaskin, 79, a Marine combat veteran and hippie guru who in 1971 led around 300 followers in a caravan of psychedelically painted school buses from San Francisco to Tennessee to start the Farm, a commune that has outlived most of its countercultural counterparts while spreading good works from Guatemala to New York City, died Tuesday on the commune in Summertown, Tenn.

Arnold S. Relman, 91, who abandoned the study of philosophy to rise to the top of the medical profession as a researcher, administrator and longtime editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, which became a platform for his early and influential attacks on the profit-driven health care system, died of melanoma June 17 in Cambridge, Mass. He taught and did research at Boston University, the University of Pennsylvania, Oxford and Harvard.

Paul Mazursky, 84, an innovative director and screenwriter who satirized and sympathized with America's panorama of social upheavals in the late 1960s and '70s in films that included Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, Blume in Love and An Unmarried Woman, died of pulmonary cardiac arrest Monday in Los Angeles.

Walter Dean Myers, 76, a best-selling and prolific children's author and tireless champion of literacy and education, died Tuesday in New York. In books that included Monster, Lockdown and Fallen Angels, he often painted portraits of young African-Americans who battled troubles in the streets, in school and at home.

Anatoly Kornukov, 72, a retired commander in chief of the Russian air force who in 1983 relayed the order to shoot down Korean Air Lines Flight 007 as it strayed into Soviet airspace, killing all 269 aboard, died Tuesday near Moscow.

Fouad Ajami, 68, a Lebanese-born scholar and commentator who illuminated modern Arab history for audiences in the United States, and who later played a part in that history as an advocate for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, died of cancer June 22 in Maine.

Gerry Conlon, 60, who spent a quarter of his life in prison for Irish Republican Army bombings in which he was later found to have had no involvement — and whose case inspired the Oscar-nominated film In the Name of the Father died of cancer June 21 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Bobby Womack, 70, who spanned the American soul music era, touring as a gospel singer in the 1950s, playing guitar in Sam Cooke's backup band in the early '60s, writing hit songs recorded by Wilson Pickett and the Rolling Stones, among others, and composing music that broke onto the pop charts, died June 27.

Counterculture icon Stephen Gaskin, founder of Farm commune, dies at 79 07/05/14 [Last modified: Saturday, July 5, 2014 12:27am]
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