Wallace E. Howell


Wallace E. Howell, 84, a meteorologist known for his attempts to generate rain during a New York drought 50 years ago, died June 12 in San Diego. The cause of death was not reported.

Mr. Howell spent two decades seeding clouds with dry ice and silver iodide in efforts to make rain in Canada, Cuba, Peru, the Philippines and other countries. In the 1960s, he developed one of the first snowmaking machines for ski resorts.

Mr. Howell's fame came from his work in New York during the water shortage of 1949-50. He was hired by New York City in early 1950, earning $100 a day. The rain came, filling reservoirs to 99 percent of capacity. There was even a freak snowstorm in mid-April coined "Howell's snow."

Mr. Howell was later head of the weather observatory on Mount Washington in New Hampshire and spent 15 years with the Federal Bureau of Reclamation.

Solly Robins


Solly Robins, 86, founder of the law firm that won a $6.6 billion settlement in the Minnesota tobacco trial, died in Gem Lake, Minn. The cause of death was not reported.

In the last 20 years, the Robins law firm has won a $38 million settlement for 199 women in Dalkon Shield cases, $470 million representing the Indian government against Union Carbide in the 1984 Bhopal chemical disaster, and $6.6 billion in the 1998 settlement with the tobacco industry.

The firm, founded in 1938, now has more than 250 lawyers and offices in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago and Washington.

Bob Lucas

Jazz Pianist

Bob Lucas, 60, a jazz pianist who played with greats such as Dave Brubeck and Dinah Shore, died of leukemia July 4 in Sebastopol, Calif.

Two weeks ago, he accompanied singer Eddie Fisher in a performance in San Francisco that was filmed by "Dateline NBC" for a piece on Fisher's attempted comeback.

Mr. Lucas discovered jazz when his father invited Louis Armstrong to stay at the family hotel. Other hotels had refused to rent a room to the black musician.

Mr. Lucas passed up a scholarship at the New York Light Opera Company to pursue a career in jazz. He moved to California in 1968, playing at clubs in the San Francisco area. In the late 1970s, he took over the foundering Russian River Jazz Festival and brought it back to life.