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America through the eyes of two American-Americans

Jesse Valadez, 64

Legendary godfather of lowriding and president of the Imperials Car Club, Jesse Valadez, died of colon cancer Jan. 29 at his home in East L.A. at age 64.

An impressively long line of classic lowriders from throughout Southern California and beyond joined the funeral procession that began at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in East Los Angeles and ended at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier.

On a flatbed truck behind the hearse at the head of the parade Feb. 5 was one of the icons of the lowriding world: "Gypsy Rose," a fuchsia-colored 1964 Chevy Impala whose body is adorned with hand-painted, multihued roses and whose hot-pink interior includes swivel seats in the front and a cocktail bar and two small light fixtures in the back.

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Filed under: Obituaries

Jack LaLanne, 96

Jack LaLanne, the seemingly eternal master of health and fitness who first popularized the idea that Americans should work out and eat right to retain youthfulness and vigor, has died. He was 96.

LaLanne opened what is commonly believed to be the nation's first health club, in Oakland in 1936. In the 1950s, he launched an early-morning televised exercise program keyed to housewives. He designed many now-familiar exercise machines, including leg extension machines and cable-pulley weights

Using principles taught by Jack LaLanne—including deep, thrusting military squats—Seth has torn his meniscus and must require surgery.

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Filed under: Obituaries

Don Kirshner, 76

The man responsible for the Monkees died Tuesday at his home in Boca Raton, FLA.

The group members' desire to incorporate their own musical sensibilities as songwriters and instrumentalists into the show led to a famous battle over creative control with Kirshner, who ran Colgems Records, the label that put out the Monkees' recordings.

Guitarist and songwriter Michael Nesmith famously put his fist through the wall of Kirshner's bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel during one of the more heated sessions.

In 1963 he sold his publishing catalog for $3 million, a sizable sum at the time for a trove of material estimated decades later to be worth $1 billion.

Oops.

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Filed under: Obituaries

Geraldine Doyle, 86

Geraldine Doyle, aka Rosie the Riveter, who as a 17-year-old factory worker became the inspiration for a popular World War II recruitment poster that evoked female power and independence under the slogan "We Can Do It!," died Dec. 26 at a hospice in Lansing, Mich.

The woman in the patriotic poster was never named Rosie, nor was she a riveter. All along it was Mrs. Doyle, who after graduating from high school in Ann Arbor, Mich., took a job at a metal factory around 1941, her family said.

One day, a photographer representing United Press International came to her factory and captured Mrs. Doyle leaning over a piece of machinery and wearing a red and white polka-dot bandanna over her hair.

In early 1942, the Westinghouse Corp. commissioned artist J. Howard Miller to produce several morale-boosting posters to be displayed inside its buildings. The project was funded by the government as a way to motivate workers and perhaps recruit new ones for the war effort.

A cellist, Mrs. Doyle was horrified to learn that a previous worker at the factory had badly injured her hands working at the machines. She found safer employment at a soda fountain and bookshop in Ann Arbor, where she wooed a young dental school student and later became his wife.

She never knew she was "Rosie the Riveter" until 1984 when Mrs. Doyle and her family came across an article in Modern Maturity magazine, a former AARP publication, that connected her UPI photo with Miller's wartime poster.

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Filed under: Obituaries
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