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Peter Lewis, who built Progressive into insurance giant, dies at 80

Peter B. Lewis, 80, who shepherded Progressive Corp. from a small-time operation to one of the largest auto insurers in the United States and later became the billionaire backer of marijuana legalization and other liberal causes, died of a heart attack Nov. 23 in Coconut Grove.

Louis Rubin Jr., 89, an influential teacher, novelist, publisher and writer who helped define the scholarly study of the literature of the South and launched the careers of many Southern writers, died Nov. 16 in Pittsboro, N.C.

Peter Kaplan, 59, who in his 15 years as editor was credited with making the New York Observer a must-read for the city's movers and shakers, died of cancer Friday. He hired an unknown Candace Bushnell to write the column "Sex and the City."

T.J. Jemison, 95, a pastor and civil rights pioneer who organized a 1953 bus boycott in Baton Rouge, La., that foreshadowed the one set off by Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Ala., and who went on to lead the nation's largest black Baptist organization into liberal political activism, died Nov. 15 in Baton Rouge.

Fred Kavli, 86, a physicist who left Norway for California as a young man and made millions manufacturing sensors for appliances, automobiles and aircraft, then late in life began donating much of his fortune to science, establishing a major prize he intended to rival the Nobel — the Kavli Prizes — died of cancer Nov. 21 in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Adrienne Asch, 67, an internationally known bioethicist who opposed the use of prenatal testing and abortion to select children free of disabilities, a stance informed partly by her experience of blind­ness, died of cancer Nov. 19 in New York.

Jane Kean, 90, a diverse performer who got her start in musical theater but was best known as Trixie alongside Jackie Gleason on a TV revival of The Honeymooners in the 1960s, died Tuesday in Burbank, Calif., after a fall that led to a hemorrhagic stroke.

Chico Hamilton, 92, a drummer who helped define the "cool" West Coast jazz in the 1950s and whose innovative groups echoed the intimacy of chamber music, died Monday in New York.

Peter Lewis, who built Progressive into insurance giant, dies at 80 11/29/13 [Last modified: Saturday, November 30, 2013 4:11pm]

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