RIP – DANNY DEGENNARO


EXPIRED: 12/28/11  – Danny DeGennaro, 56, also known as Danny Rio, seemed to have returned to his Bucks County, Pennsylvania, home only to confront a burglar.  He was shot and left for dead.

DeGennaro, who fronted the Philly-based Danny DeGennaro Band, is best known for being a guitarist and singer for Kingfish, a band that included former Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir among its early members. Although the two were never in the band at the same time, they certainly shared an audience and gave DeGennaro great networking opportunities he used throughout his career.

That career included performing with Bo Diddley, Billy Squier, Clarence Clemons and some of Philadelphia’s great blues artists including T.J. Tindall and Parliament Funkadelic’s Michael Hampton.

DeGennaro last played with Kingfish in 2010 on their Live and Kicking tour.

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RIP – HOWARD TATE


EXPIRED: 12/02/11 – Howard Tate, 72, had been thru a lot. There were 3 top 20 hits, a crack addiction, homelessness and a false death report. Then a comeback.

“When you love somebody, you’re taking a chance on sorrow / Who knows, baby, we may not, may not be here tomorrow / Get it while you can.”

His song “Get It While You Can” was a minor hit for him, but a huge milestone for Janis Joplin when she recorded it years later. Despite the success of the song, Tate never made much money from his recordings. Back then black artists didn’t make much – they had no protection – and money just disappeared amongst shift managers, promoters and record companies.

So he was forced to walk away from the music business in the 1970s and got a job selling insurance. Tragedy struck his family a few years afterwards when his 13-year-old daughter died in a house fire. Then his marriage fell apart, he lost his home and he turned to cocaine, scrambling all over southern New Jersey looking for odd jobs to support his habit.

But in 2008 he had a comeback, with an album called “Blue Day.” And although it was short lived, it might be some of the most heartfelt blues you will ever hear. He oozes the blues.

Rest in peace, brother.

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RIP – BIL KEANE


EXPIRED: 11/08/11 – Bil Keane, 89, was a cartoonist who’s first regular comic strip was called Silly Philly which only ran in the Philadelphia Bulletin from 1946 to 1959. A syndicated strip, Channel Chuckles, premiered in 1954 and ran until 1977. But it was in 1960, when he moved from Pennsylvania to Arizona that he created the long-running newspaper comic The Family Circus. That makes it 51 years old and it’s still in syndication.

Believe it or not, Keane started by mimicking cartoons in The New Yorker, a magazine that would never touch The Family Circus.

Although he started out as “Bill Keane”, he dropped the second L from his name “to be distinctive.” What he should have done was to use his more distinctive middle name, Aloysius.

His son Jeff is expected to take over daily production of strip.

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RIP – RYAN & ESTHER THE BISON


EXPIRED: 09/08/11 – Ryan, 13, and his older sibling Esther, 15, were Bison, an animal that had nearly been hunted to extinction in North America. But this brother /sister act lived safely at ZooAmerica, part of Hershey Park, in Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, Hurricane Irene had other plans. Ryan and Esther were among the casualties of flooding in central Pennsylvania – Esther, caught by rapidly rising waters from the nearby Swatara creek and run-off from flooded roads, drowned while struggling to keep her head above water. Bison brother Ryan had to be euthanized when there was no way to save him.

The deaths caused a firestorm from animal lovers who said that the zoo had two days to move the bison out of an exhibit that’s known to flood. But no-one expected the inches of water normally seen during a creek overflow to turn into waters over 6 feet high in a matter of minutes.

While in the wild  bison rarely reach past the age of 15, these two should have had another 10 years due to being raised in captivity.

Rest in peace, teenage bison, rest in peace.

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RIP – RYAN DUNN


EXPIRED: 06/20/11 –  Ryan Dunn, 34, was often fearless. He hit the big-time crashing golf carts and stuffing a toy car up his butt on MTV’s “Jackass.” His latest (and last) stunt was driving in his 2007 Porsche 911 GT3 at 3am in rural Pennsylvania …drunk. Not only did he kill himself, he killed his passenger. Hours before the crash he Tweeted a photo of himself getting drunk. Jackass.

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RIP – JAMES WINNER


EXPIRED: 09/14/10 – James Winner Jr., 81, invented The Club® after his Cadillac was stolen, despite it having a factory-installed alarm. Too bad the Club didn’t keep him from crossing into oncoming traffic and plowing into another vehicle.

Winner, was born and raised on a farm in Transfer, Pennsylvania, proud of the fact that he was dirt poor. At the age of 5, he was up at 5 a.m. to milk the cows. He attended a one-room schoolhouse and graduated in a class of 8.
At age 13, after watching his parents work so hard for nothing, Winner decided that farming was not for him.

So at 17, he entered the Army and six months later found himself across the ocean in the middle of the Korean War.

Thinking back on his time in the Army, Winner remembered how he once secured his Jeep’s steering wheel with a chain to prevent anyone from stealing it. That memory led him to invent the No. 1 selling mechanical anti-theft device for cars and trucks.

The Club®

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RIP – JOHN ANCZARSKI


EXPIRED: 06/23/10 – John Anczarski, 19, could have driven across the United States if he had wanted to, but then he wouldn’t have met so many people, or touched so many lives or raised as much cash for Breast Cancer awareness.

So he chose to bike across the country instead.

John Anczarski, was the youngest of a foursome who rode for a project they called the called ‘The Pink Pedal.” They included Ty Bereskie, 20, and Travis Brown and Nicholas Gober, both 21. Four college kids hoping to see a little part of the world, meet some interesting people, get some exercize and raise awareness, and money for Breast Cancer research.

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