PASSINGS: Betty Ticho, Stuart Gavert, Peter Brunette, Sue Avery, Bill Dixon, John Bucalo

Betty Ticho

Co-founder of L.A. County epilepsy group


Betty Ticho, 89, a social worker who co-founded the Los Angeles County Epilepsy Society and served as its executive director for 30 years, died May 29 at Santa Monica Hospital of complications from recent surgery, said her niece Beth Bentley.

The organization now known as the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles was founded in 1957 by what Bentley called "an intrepid group of volunteers" who hired Ticho to run what became a full-fledged nonprofit group. Its mission was to educate the public about the neurological disorder and support those afflicted with the disease with resources such as medical treatment, employment opportunities and social programs.

With a background in psychiatric social work with military veterans, Ticho understood the obstacles faced by people with brain injuries and disorders. And she used her charismatic personality to dispel antiquated notions that associated epilepsy with mental illness or the supernatural. She also was an effective fundraiser and administrator.

She was born Dec. 18, 1920, in Louisville, Ky., to Frank and Sara Tullis and moved with her family to Chicago as a teenager. She was an accomplished pianist and served as fashion editor of a student magazine while attending the University of Chicago. After earning a bachelor's degree and a master's in social work, she married Harold Ticho in 1947.

They soon moved to Los Angeles and she worked at the Veterans Administration Hospital in West Los Angeles until helping to start the epilepsy society.

She and her husband divorced in the 1960s, and she retired in 1987.

Stuart Gavert

Hair stylist known for coloring techniques

Stuart Gavert, 53, a well-regarded hair stylist known for his innovative approaches to hair coloring, died June 14 of heart failure at his home in Los Angeles, according to publicist Angela Jones.

Gavert, who opened the Beverly Hills salon Gavert Atelier with his business partner Cody Kusakabe in 1998, created the hair coloring for "Twilight" film stars Kristen Stewart and Rob Pattinson. His celebrity clientele included Christina Applegate, Christine Lahti and Shannon Doherty, but many budget-conscious consumers also sought him out for his trend-setting hair coloring techniques using non-ammonia formulations.

Born Nov. 14, 1956, and raised in Pasadena, Gavert was a fixture at Umberto in Beverly Hills before opening his own salon. He trained many hair colorists who work at high-end salons in the Los Angeles area, and he also had interests in salons in New York and Asia.

Sue Avery

Longtime reporter at L.A. Times

Sue Avery, 71, a Los Angeles Times reporter for nearly 30 years who wrote primarily for the paper's San Gabriel Valley section, died May 26 at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena after a battle with cancer, said her brother, John.


Avery worked at The Times from 1965 until retiring in 1993. Her stories in the 1970s mostly focused on schools and issues facing women. She later covered local elections, the Tournament of Roses, and wrote news and features about Pasadena, Arcadia, Duarte and other cities covered by the paper's San Gabriel section.

She was born Sept. 18, 1938, in San Francisco and graduated in 1960 from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in history. Before coming to The Times, Avery worked as a reporter for the Associated Press in San Francisco.

Peter Brunette

World-renowned film historian

Peter Brunette, 66, an internationally known film historian and critic who specialized in Italian cinema, died Wednesday of an apparent heart attack in Italy while attending the Taormina Film Festival for the Hollywood Reporter, the trade publication reported.

Brunette, who taught film studies and was director of the film studies program at Wake Forest University, also wrote for the New York Times, Boston Globe and other publications.

He had attended and reviewed from the Cannes film festival in May and was spending the summer in Europe at various film festivals.

Brunette was the author of several books on film subjects including Italian directors Roberto Rossellini and Michelangelo Antonioni, among others.

Born Sept. 18, 1943, in Richwood, W.Va., Brunette studied English at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, where he earned bachelor's and master's degrees. He received a doctorate in English from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He taught English and film studies at George Mason University from 1975 to 2004 before moving on to Wake Forest.

Bill Dixon

Jazz trumpeter and composer

Bill Dixon, 84, an avant-garde jazz trumpeter and former professor at Bennington College, died Wednesday at his home in North Bennington, Vt., according to the E.P. Mahar & Son funeral home. He had been in failing health for some time.

Dixon, a composer who was part of the New York City jazz scene in the 1960s, taught at the Vermont college from 1968 to 1995 and later toured extensively in Europe.

He played alongside Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, William Parker and others who organized musicians and composers to try to improve their working conditions.

Born Oct. 5, 1925, in Nantucket, Mass., Dixon grew up mainly in New York City, where he studied trumpet at the Hartnette Conservatory.

John Bucalo

, a thoroughbred jockey who started riding in the 1930s and later became a trainer, died Saturday after a long illness, according to Hollywood Park. Bucalo, a Baldwin Park resident, was 93.

Times staff and wire reports