PASSINGS: Lionel Ferbos, Vic Atiyeh, John Fasano

Jazz trumpeter Lionel Ferbos, who has died at 103, was believed to be New Orleans' oldest working musician

Lionel Ferbos, 103, a New Orleans trumpeter who was believed to be the oldest working jazz musician, died Saturday at his home in New Orleans, said his granddaughter, Lori Schexnayder.

Ferbos performed all over New Orleans and its suburbs for decades, including at every New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival until this past year. In recent years he had been the bandleader at the Palm Court Jazz Cafe in the city's French Quarter.

Early on, Ferbos performed with New Orleans society jazz bands at well-known venues such as the Pelican Club among a string of clubs along Rampart Street — a downtown strip that in the 1920s and '30s was the epicenter of the city's bustling black entertainment district.

His ability to read music made him an in-demand musician and won him a spot in the WPA band, which was formed during the Depression by laborers in the city's Works Progress Administration.

Though he performed almost exclusively in his hometown, Ferbos did make eight tours of Europe with the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra, a group formed in the 1960s to revive the old music unearthed in the jazz archives at Tulane University.

He was also part of the original stage band of the off-Broadway hit "One Mo' Time," though he dropped out of the show in the '70s when it moved to New York. He didn't want to leave New Orleans, where he'd met his wife, a Creole seamstress named Margarite Gilyot. The couple married in 1934 and remained so for 75 years — until her death in 2009.

Born July 17, 1911, Ferbos had a day trade, like many musicians of his time. He worked for decades as a metal maker, first in his father's French Quarter workshop, then eventually taking over the family business and building his own workshop.

Vic Atiyeh

Former Oregon governor

Vic Atiyeh, 91, Oregon's last Republican governor, who shepherded the state through a deep recession during two terms in the 1980s, died Sunday at a Portland hospital of complications of renal failure. Denny Miles, who had formerly served as Atiyeh's press secretary, announced his death.

The son of a Syrian immigrant, Atiyeh was born Feb. 20, 1923, in Portland, attended the University of Oregon and turned down an offer to play for the Green Bay Packers to take over his family's rug business. He served in the Coast Guard and entered politics in the Oregon Legislature, then ran for governor and won on a platform of cutting taxes.

He wound up raising taxes because of the recession but was also remembered for cutting his own salary as governor three times to help balance the budget.

Atiyeh, a mainstream Republican who championed small state government and allowing citizens to be "left alone," lost his first run for governor in 1974 to Democrat Bob Straub. He challenged Straub again four years later and won, taking office in 1979 as Oregon underwent what was then its most severe recession since the Great Depression.

The state jumped from among the fastest growing in the country to one with a dwindling population as environmental regulations helped doom the once-mighty timber industry.

He championed a significant tax cut plan that included both a rebate and a permanent reduction. Within a year, as the recession took hold, some supporters of Atiyeh's tax plans had buyer's remorse as the state budget took a hit.

Atiyeh pushed Oregon's universities away from forestry, mining and agriculture to electrical engineering and international trade, and slightly boosted their budgets.

In 1982, after a bruising campaign, Atiyeh defeated Ted Kulongoski, then a state senator, being reelected with 62% of the vote. Confined by term limits, he left office in 1987.

John Fasano

Director turned screenwriter

Notable: John Fasano, 52, who directed and produced the 1987 cult horror movie "Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare" before becoming a screenwriter whose credits include "Another 48 Hrs." and the TV movie "Saving Jessica Lynch," died in his sleep of heart failure Saturday at his home in Studio City, according to Manfred Westphal of the Agency for the Performing Arts, which represented Fasano.

Times staff and wire reports

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