Obituaries of note: Hjalmar Andersen, Guillermo Luksic Craig and Gordon Stoker

March 27, 2013
Hjalmar Andersen
Norwegian skater

Hjalmar Andersen, 90, a Norwegian speed skater who won three gold medals at the 1952 Winter Olympics, died March 27.

The Norwegian Skating Association said Mr. Andersen, known to many Norwegians as Hjallis, died after a fall this week at his home. Other details were not available.

In the early 1950s, Mr. Andersen was considered the world’s best speed skater. He was the world all-around champion for three years and won a European title and set world records in 1950, 1951 and 1952. In 1949, he set a world record in the 10,000-meter race, becoming the first person to cover the distance in less than 17 minutes.

At the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Mr. Andersen won gold in the 1,500, the 5,000 and the 10,000. He qualified for the 1956 Olympics but finished sixth in the 10,000.

Three Norwegian cities have statues of Mr. Andersen.

Guillermo Luksic Craig
Chilean businessman

Guillermo Luksic Craig, 57, a member of Chile’s richest family, which owns the country’s leading bank, brewer and shipping company, died March 27 of lung cancer, said an announcement from a Chilean corporate communications company.

Mr. Luksic’s father, Andronico Luksic, who died in 2005, built the family fortune by buying up copper deposits and a railroad.

Mr. Luksic dropped out of college in the 1970s to help manage the family businesses. He and his brothers ran the family’s far-flung enterprises, but the bulk of the family’s $16.8 billion is controlled by Mr. Luksic’s stepmother, Iris Fontbona, who ranks 43rd on the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.

Gordon Stoker
Jordanaires singer

Gordon Stoker, 88, a member of the Jordanaires, a vocal group that backed up Elvis Presley and other stars, died March 27 at his home in Brentwood, Tenn. A son, Alan Stoker, confirmed the death to the Associated Press but did not provide a cause.

Mr. Stoker, who was born in Gleason, Tenn., got his start playing the piano on WSM radio and its signature show, the Grand Ole Opry.

He joined the Jordanaires as a piano player but then took on a role as a tenor vocalist. The quartet had developed a national following after performing on the Opry and the nationally syndicated show “Eddy Arnold Time” by the time Presley invited it to perform on his recording of “Hound Dog” in 1956.

The Jordanaires also performed on several other Presley recordings, such as “It’s Now or Never” and “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”

They also recorded with Patsy Cline on “Crazy,” Jim Reeves on “Four Walls,” on George Jones’s 1980 hit “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and on Kenny Rogers’s “Lucille.”

The Jordanaires were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

— From news services

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