Nahum Sarna, 82, a professor emeritus at Brandeis University who was considered one of the world's foremost Jewish Bible scholars, died June 23 at his home in Boca Raton, Fla. He had been in ill health for a year with a variety of ailments, a Brandeis spokesman said.
Dr. Sarna was editor of the Jewish Publication Society translation of the Bible and was general editor of a groundbreaking set of Bible commentaries. He was a scholar who wrote in everyday language, dedicating himself to making modern biblical scholarship accessible to a lay audience.
His best-known work, "Understanding Genesis" (1966), won the National Jewish Book Award. Other books include "Exploring Exodus" (1986), "Commentary on Genesis" (1989), "Commentary on Exodus" (1991) and "Songs of the Heart: An Introduction to the Book of Psalms" (1993). He also wrote more than 100 scholarly articles and lectured around the world.
Ray Holmes, 90, a World War II fighter pilot who rammed a German plane to prevent a direct hit on Buckingham Palace, died June 27 at Hoylake Cottage Hospital in Wirral, England, after a two-year battle with cancer.
Mr. Holmes spotted a German Dornier bomber lining up to attack the palace on Sept. 15, 1940, and, finding he had run out of ammunition, the pilot from 504 Squadron slammed into the bomber, slicing off its tail. Mr. Holmes parachuted to safety, while his Hurricane plane crashed at 400 mph behind Victoria Station, well away from the palace. The German bomber plunged into the station's courtyard. The German pilot also survived the incident, which was captured on film.
Mr. Holmes continued to fly throughout the war and taught Russian pilots to fly Hurricanes. He later moved into photo-reconnaissance, taking pictures from 30,000 feet of locations that included Berlin and Adolf Hitler's hideout at Berchtesgaden. After the war, he returned to Wirral, where he worked as a journalist.
Charles S. Bing
Florida A&M University associate band director Charles S. Bing, 67, who tutored generations of members of the famed Marching 100, died June 26 of complications from a stroke in Tallahassee.
During 42 years at historically black university FAMU, Mr. Bing directed not only the famous marching band, but the symphony, the ROTC band and the pep band. He played the trombone -- and one of the signatures of the Marching 100 performances he led was to have the band form the shape of the trombone on the field. The instrument would then appear to be played.
Mr. Bing, an Orlando native, attended Florida A&M on a music scholarship and received a degree in music education in 1960. He later received a master's degree from Indiana University.
Chet Helms, 62, a concert promoter often called the father of the "Summer of Love" who brought the 23-year-old singer Janis Joplin to San Francisco, died June 25 from complications after a stroke at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.
He helped stage free concerts and Human Be-ins at Golden Gate Park, which became the backdrop for the Summer of Love in San Francisco in 1967. He was the first producer of psychedelic light-show concerts at the Fillmore and the Avalon Ballroom and was instrumental in helping to develop bands delivering the San Francisco sound.
"Without Chet, there would be no Grateful Dead, no Big Brother & the Holding Company, no Jefferson Airplane, no Country Joe & the Fish, no Quicksilver Messenger Service, and the list goes on," said Barry Melton, the lead guitarist for Country Joe & the Fish. "He wasn't just a promoter, he was a supporter of music and art. He supported people emotionally, psychologically and psychically. He made the scene what it was."
Mr. Helms eventually dropped out of the concert business for a time in 1970, but he proudly sported a grizzled beard and long hair topped by a hat through much of his adult life. Mr. Helms ran the Atelier Dore art gallery in San Francisco from 1980 until his retirement last year.
"Chet was a hippie," said Mickey Hart, drummer for the Grateful Dead. "We were all hippies. He hated to charge for the music."