Ingvar Kamprad was a Swedish entrepreneur who became one of the world’s richest men by turning simply-designed, low-cost furniture into the global Ikea empire. He died Jan. 27 at his home in Smaland, Sweden. He was 91. Kamprad was 17 when he registered his mail-order business in household goods, calling it Ikea, formed of his initials and those of his farm, Elmtaryd, and village, Agunnaryd. During the next seven decades, he built Ikea into the world’s largest furniture retailer, with more than 350 stores in 29 countries. Bloomberg Billionaires Index listed him as the world’s eighth-richest person, worth $58.7 billion.
Dennis Edwards was a Grammy-winning former member of the famed Motown group The Temptations. He died Feb. 1 in Chicago after a long illness. He was 74. Edwards replaced founding member David Ruffin in 1968, and his soulful, passionate voice defined the group for years. A member of the group on and off for about two decades, he was part of the lineup that released the hits “Ball of Confusion (That’s What The World Is Today),” “Cloud Nine” and the chart-topping “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone.” He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with the rest of The Temptations in 1989.
Kevin Towers was a former general manager of the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks. He died Jan. 30 after a battle with thyroid cancer. He was 56. Towers was the Padres’ GM from 1995 to 2009, a tenure that included four NL West titles and an appearance in the 1998 World Series. He was general manager of the Diamondbacks during 2010-14, winning the NL West title in 2011.
Oscar Gamble was an outfielder who hit 200 home runs over 17 major-league seasons and was famous during his playing days for an Afro that spilled out of his helmet. He died Jan. 31 in Birmingham, Ala., of a rare tumor of the jaw. He was 68. Gamble played for seven big-league teams during 17 seasons and had a .265 career batting average.
Jon Huntsman Sr. was a Utah billionaire and philanthropist who overcame poverty to become one of the state’s most successful and powerful people. He died Feb. 2 in Salt Lake City. He was 80. Huntsman was the founder and longtime executive chairman of Huntsman Corp., a $13 billion company that refines raw materials that go into thousands of products. He and his family have given away more than $1.4 billion, including donations to a Salt Lake City cancer institute that bears his name.
Gene Sharp was a lifelong advocate of nonviolent resistance who founded the Albert Einstein Institution in Massachusetts. He died Jan. 28 at his home in Boston. He was 90. Sharp wrote dozens of books and articles on nonviolent resistance that have been translated into more than 50 languages. He founded the Albert Einstein Institution in 1983 to advance the study and use of strategic nonviolent action as an alternative to violent conflict.
Rasual Butler was a former NBA player who played for eight teams in his 13-year career. He was killed in a single-car crash Jan. 31 in Studio City, Calif. He was 38. His wife, Leah LaBelle, 31, also died in the crash. She was an R&B singer who was a finalist in Season 3 of “American Idol” in 2004. Butler, a forward who averaged 7.5 points in his career, last played during the 2015-16 season with the San Antonio Spurs
Louis Zorich was a Tony Award-nominated actor who played a grumpy Greek diner owner in “The Muppets Take Manhattan” and the father of Paul Reiser’s character on the NBC sitcom “Mad About You.” He died Jan. 30 at his home in New York. He was 93. Zorich was perhaps best known as sporting goods salesman Burt Buchman on “Mad About You” during 1992-1999. His Broadway credits include “Becket,” “The Odd Couple,” Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies” and “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” He earned a Tony nomination for “Hadrian VII” in 1969.
Connie Sawyer was an actress who began performing in vaudeville and nightclubs more than eight decades ago and continued to appear on stages and screens until she became known as the oldest working actress in Hollywood. She died Jan. 21 in Los Angeles. She was 105. Sawyer appeared on dozens of television shows, including “Dynasty,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Murder, She Wrote,” “Seinfeld,” “Will & Grace,” “New Girl” and the Showtime dramatic series “Ray Donovan.” She also appeared in three dozen films, ranging from the John Wayne western “True Grit” (1969) to the comedy “Dumb & Dumber” (1994).
Cliff Bourland was an Olympic sprinter who was America’s oldest living gold medalist. He died Feb. 1 of complications from pneumonia in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 97. Bourland won gold at the 1948 London Games while running the second leg of the U.S. 1,600-meter relay. He also finished fifth in the 200 meters.
Compiled from news service reports by Chris Carter, firstname.lastname@example.org.