PASSINGS: Joe Lee Wilson, Helen Beverley, Martin Weinberger, Jolene Combs

Joe Lee Wilson, 75, a jazz vocalist who performed with saxophonists Sonny Rollins and Archie Shepp and trumpeters Miles Davis and Freddie Hubbard and hosted a thriving loft club in New York City in the 1970s, died July 17 at his home in Brighton, England, said his daughter, Naima Wilson of Los Angeles. He had a heart ailment.

Born in Briscow, Okla., on Dec. 22, 1935, Wilson moved to Los Angeles as a teenager. He studied classical singing, then jazz, while attending Los Angeles City College. He began touring the West Coast and Mexico, then moved to New York in the early 1960s, when he played with some of the biggest names in jazz.

Wilson lent his baritone voice to Shepp’s albums “Things Have Got to Change” and “Attica Blues” in the early 1970s.

Wilson ran a Manhattan jazz club called the Ladies Loft for most of the ‘70s, then moved to Europe late that decade. He and his wife, Jill, lived in England and France.


Helen Beverley, an actress who performed in Yiddish theater and the Yiddish films “Green Fields,” “The Light Ahead” and “Overture to Glory” and was married to actor Lee J. Cobb in the 1940s and ‘50s, died July 15 of natural causes at the Motion Picture and Television Fund hospital in Woodland Hills, her family announced. She was 94.

Martin Weinberger, the longtime owner, publisher and editor of the Claremont Courier community newspaper, died July 5 at the Pilgrim Place retirement home in Claremont, the newspaper announced. Weinberger, who bought the paper in 1955 and remained publisher until retiring in 2008, was 82 and had been in poor health for some time.

Jolene Combs, a longtime journalism instructor and school newspaper advisor at El Camino College and Redondo Union High School, died July 13 at Torrance Memorial Medical Center after a long illness, her family said. Combs, who was named multiple times by the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund as one of the top journalism teachers in the country, was 69.

Times staff reports