Indy 500 racing driver
Lloyd Ruby, 81, who raced in the Indianapolis 500 for 18 straight years and won the 24 Hours of Daytona endurance race in 1966, died Monday in his hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas, according to Lunn’s Colonial Funeral Home. The cause of death wasn’t given.
In 18 consecutive starts at the Indy 500 from 1960 to 1977, Ruby finished in the top 10 seven times. His best finish was third, in 1964. He led the race at various points in five of those years but fell short every time because of mechanical or other failures. Only once did a crash put him out of the race. He was inducted into the Indianapolis 500 Hall of Fame in 1991.
Ruby teamed with Englishman Ken Miles for victories at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1966 and the World Sportscar Championship in 1966 and 1968. He was a seven-time winner in the USAC Championship Car Series.
In 2005, Ruby received the Bruton Smith Legends Award at the Texas Motor Sports Hall of Fame in Fort Worth.
Ex-bantamweight boxing champion
Raul Macias, 74, a former world bantamweight champion, died of cancer Monday at a Mexico City hospital, his son Arturo said.
Known by the nickname “Mouse,” the 5-foot-3 1/2 Macias emerged from Mexico City’s tough Tepito neighborhood and participated in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics before turning pro the next year.
He won the vacant world bantamweight title sponsored by the National Boxing Assn. -- which later became the World Boxing Assn. -- over Thailand’s Chamrern Songkitrat in 1955.
The affable boxer, famed for keeping in shape by dancing, became one of Mexico’s top sports heroes and dedicated his triumphs to the Virgin of Guadalupe, the country’s patron saint. More than 50,000 people filled the capital’s bullfighting ring to see him defeat Nate Brooks in September 1954 for the North American title.
Macias successfully defended the world title twice before losing it to Alphonse Halimi on a split decision in 1957.
Macias retired for good in 1962 at age 28 with a professional record of 41-2, with 25 knockouts. He turned to work as a trainer and to acting in television soap operas.
John M. Thacker
Fighter pilot at Pearl Harbor
John M. Thacker, 90, a retired Air Force colonel and fighter pilot who received the Silver Star for his actions at Pearl Harbor, died of kidney disease March 6 at his home in McLean, Va.
Col. Thacker spent 30 years in what became the Air Force before retiring in 1970 after accumulating more than 5,400 total flying hours. He was among the few pilots to become airborne during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
His Silver Star citation said that he fought the numerically superior Japanese fliers until his guns jammed and that he returned to his base on Oahu with a number of cannon holes in his aircraft. “His initiative, coolness under fire and gallantry in the air contributed to driving off the enemy forces,” read the citation, which was awarded in February 1942.
Thacker later commanded a fighter group during the Korean War. His final active-duty assignment was as inspector general of Headquarters Command at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.
After his military retirement, he owned and operated television and audio repair stores in Arlington, Va.
John Marshall Thacker was born Aug. 9, 1918, in Petersburg, Va., and grew up in Miami, where his father found work as a typewriter salesman. Thacker left the University of Florida in 1940 to join the Army Air Corps.
Besides the Silver Star, his military decorations included the Legion of Merit, two awards of the Bronze Star Medal and the Air Medal.
-- Times Staff and Wire Reports firstname.lastname@example.org
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