Tag Archives: dies

City Councilor Miriam Witherspoon dies

witherspoon-91City flags fly at half-staff today as we learn that Miriam Witherspoon, Birmingham City Council President Pro Tempore, passed away last night. The first-term representative for Birmingham’s District 7 was 48. According to BhamWeekly’s Twitter profile, Birmingham City Council President Carole Smitherman confirmed the news in City Council chambers earlier this morning. 

The Birmingham News‘ breaking news blog has more details, with the city website’s bio and BhamWiki entry providing a glimpse of what she was able to accomplish.

Photo: Bob Farley/f8Photo

Ken Owens, architect & preservationist, dies

Ken Owens , a co-founder of Birmingham’s first African-American owned architecture firm and an advocate for preservation in the city, died on Saturday. He was 69 years old.

According to the account published on The Birmingham News‘ blog, Owens had been battling cancer for the last two years. The former Blach’s building and the former Fire Station #4 (where his offices were located) were among the numerous projects that he and his business partner, Franklin Woods were responsible for throughout the city and Alabama.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 13, 2009, at Sixth Avenue Baptist Church.

Odetta dies

Odetta - gee hue/Flickr

Photo: Odetta. gee hue/Flickr

The Voice of the Civil Rights Era, Odetta Gordonwill not get the chance to perform at President-elect Barack Obama’s Inauguration as she and others had hoped. The Birmingham, AL born singer/songwriter passed away last night at the age of 77, a result of heart disease according to her agent and numerous reports, including this one at nytimes.com (subscription may be required). They also have an extended Last Word interview with the folk music icon currently available on their website.

Babec, zoo favorite, euthanized

Babec the Gorilla - courtesy of Birmingham ZooFor those that have not yet heard, Babec, a gorilla in residence at the Birmingham Zoo and famous for being the first zoo animal to receive a pacemaker, was euthanized this earlier today. The Western Lowland gorilla was 27 years old.

According to reports published on both The Birmingham News and NBC 13 websites, he had been showing signs of discomfort in recent weeks, including loss of appetite.