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 – VIC MILES


EXPIRED: 10/12/11 – Vic Miles, 79, was born to a mixe race family in Philadelphia in 1931. His Black/Puerto Rican/Jewish heritage was the source of a lot of harassment from neighborhood school kids so it was imperative that Miles, who’s real last name is Levy, learned to either talk himself out of a scuffle or become very street smart. Miles did both.

His communication style and street attitude got him a gig as a news director and disc jockey for radio station WHOA in Puerto Rico from 1956 to 1966, and a reporter and anchor with KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh from 1966-1971.

From there he took a job at WCBS-TV in New York City, where he was a street beat reporter and the first American black news anchor from ’71 til ”95 when Jerry Nachman cleaned house of the old reporters and brought in fresh young faces who didn’t want to get dirty.

That’s what Miles did best. He got dirty. He wasn’t afraid to go where the news was and report in an honest fashion. For him it wasn’t about entertainment. It was news.

RIP Vic.

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RIP – JOEY VENTO


EXPIRED: 08/23/11 – Joey Vento, 71, set up his cheesesteak sandwich shop in 1966 directly across the street from rival Pat’s King of Steaks, which claimed to have invented the Philly Cheesesteak in 1933. He called his new Geno’s because Joe’s Steak Place was already taken. The battle between Geno’s and Pat’s is legendary – but that’s wasn’t the least of Vento’s controversies.

Whether it’s publicly and vehemently calling out for the death sentence for local cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, or posting a sign at his takeout window that reads  “This Is AMERICA: WHEN ORDERING Please ‘SPEAK ENGLISH,” there was no question which side Vento was on.

When Vento claimed that the signs were directed at Mexicans living nearby, a discrimination complaint was filed arguing that Geno’s was “denying service to someone because of his or her national origin, and having printed material making certain groups of people feel their patronage is unwelcome.” Vento’s rebuttal? “If I can’t understand you, you might not get the sandwich you thought you ordered.”

He added that if his customers order in any other language, he’ll give them Cheez Whiz on bread.

In 2008, it was ruled that Geno’s did not violate the city’s Fair Practices Ordinance.

But that didnt stop Vento from having a heart attack. Too much of his own cooking maybe? Maybe the stress from being involved in the Tea Party movement?

I have to say, I did love the food at Genos’, it just didn’t love me.

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RIP – JACK WOLGIN


EXPIRED: 01/26/10 – Jack Wolgin, 92, was a mover and shaker in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He developed the Rittenhouse Hotel, the 1700 Market Street building, and the Center Square high-rise office complex.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Wolgin’s true passion was making Philly known as a center for the arts. So in 1976, when it was time to City wanted a grand piece of art in their bustling business district, the Philadelphia elite had certain ideas of what they were looking for: another Civil War hero in bronze on horseback.

Wolgin thought the city needed something different. A giant clothespin.

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RIP – TEDDY PENDERGRASS


EXPIRED: 01/13/10 – Teddy Pendergrass, 59, was confined to a wheelchair for much of his adult life but his voice was free and freeing.

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RIP – FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ


EXPIRED: 11/22/09 – Francisco Rodriguez, 25, was a national Golden Gloves champion in 2001 and continued to fight as a bantamweight, based out of Chicago. He went pro in 2005 and had won the Golden Gloves several times.

Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Rodriguez was known as “El Nino Azteca” and was loved in the Chicagoland area.

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RIP – DAVID MCCLENDON


EXPIRED: 11/16/09 – David McClendon, 44, was diagnosed in March with sarcoidosis, an autoimmune disease. Until his illness worsened, he was the associate editor of the Chi-Town Daily News, an online newspaper in Chicago, and taught journalism at the city’s Loyola University.

A burly, tall man, he was an imposing figure but was basically a kid at heart and was a kind and wonderful mentor to newsroom interns.

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