Obituaries of note: David Morris Kern, Jeff Hanneman, Donald Shirley

May 6, 2013
David Morris Kern
Orajel creator

David Morris Kern, 103, the creator of Orajel, a medicine aimed at fighting toothaches that was later also used for mouth sores, died May 3 at a group home in Paradise Valley, Ariz. His son Allan Kern confirmed the death. The cause was not known.

Mr. Kern worked as a pharmacist before buying a pharmaceutical manufacturing facility with his brother and two partners. He created Orajel with the help of a chemistry professor and sold the company to Del Laboratories in 1961.

Jeff Hanneman
Rock guitarist

Jeff Hanneman, 49, a founding member of the heavy metal band Slayer, died May 2 of liver failure at a Los Angeles hospital.

Slayer spokeswoman Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald confirmed the death.

The guitarist had recently begun writing songs with the band in anticipation of recording a new album this year. Mr. Hanneman had been slowly recovering from what was thought to be a spider bite that nearly cost him his arm after he failed to seek immediate treatment.

Mr. Hanneman co-founded the thrash metal pioneers in Huntington Park, Calif., in 1982.

Donald Shirley
Pianist

Donald Shirley, 86, a pianist who worked in classical music, jazz and a hybrid musical form of his own, died April 6 of heart disease at his home in New York City. A friend and student, Michiel Kappeyne van de Coppello, confirmed the death.

Mr. Shirley made his concert debut at 18, performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1 with the Boston Pops. He performed in concert halls around the world but, he said, was discouraged from pursuing a career in classical music.

He later performed in jazz settings, and he composed and arranged music that combined classical and popular elements. He made a number of recordings, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, and was known for his fine touch on the piano.

Mr. Shirley was born in Pensacola, Fla., and studied organ at Catholic University in his youth. He lived for many years in an apartment at Carnegie Hall in New York.

— News services and staff reports

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