Elmer Lower
ABC News president

Elmer Lower, 98, a former ABC News president who tripled the size of that network’s news division during the ’60s and ’70s, died July 26 in Vero Beach, Fla. No cause of death was reported.

Mr. Lower served as president of ABC News from 1963 to 1974, a period that marked the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon as well as the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement.

In that time, the news division grew from 250 to 750 employees, and the evening news expanded from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. Mr. Lower also was behind the network’s hiring of broadcasters such as Peter Jennings, Ted Koppel, Frank Reynolds and Sam Donaldson.

Mr. Lower was a native of Kansas City, Mo., and a 1933 graduate of the University of Missouri’s journalism school. He spent several years as a photojournalist, eventually joining the staff of Life magazine. During World War II, he worked in propaganda and psychological warfare for the U.S. government.

He did public affairs work for the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany before becoming Washington-based news director for CBS-TV in 1953. He later was vice president and general manager of NBC before joining ABC.

Mr. Lower was honored with a lifetime achievement Emmy in 1975 and retired from ABC in 1978. He went on to educate young journalists for more than two decades, including a period as dean of Missouri’s journalism school.

Joe Arroyo
Colombian singer

Joe Arroyo, 55, a Colombian singer who composed such salsa classics as “La Rebelion” and “Tania,” died July 26 at a hospital in Barranquilla, Colombia. He was being treated for hypertension and fluid in his lungs.

The singer, whose given name was Alvaro Jose Arroyo, performed with artists including Celia Cruz and Shakira. He first appeared in the 1970s with the orchestra Fruko y sus Tesos and formed his own band in Medellin in 1981 called La Verdad. Two years later, he moved to Barranquilla.

The Bogota Philharmonic Orchestra called Mr. Arroyo “one of the most important artists of tropical music” in Colombia, recalling the 2009 homage it performed with him in the country’s capital.

The Latin Recording Academy lauded Mr. Arroyo for crossing many styles, including salsa, merengue and reggae, and for creating his own, known as Joeson. The academy said it would celebrate him at an awards ceremony in November.

Gilbert ‘Magu’ Lujan
Chicano artist

Gilbert “Magu” Lujan, a painter, muralist and sculptor whose whimsical, slyly humorous artworks — frequently evoking a rollicking, mythical view of Mexican American life — graced museum walls and public spaces, died of cancer July 24 at a hospital in Arcadia, Calif. He was 70.

Mr. Lujan’s style — colorful, often humorous and just as often political — sprung from the sidewalks, freeway overpasses and lowrider cars of largely Hispanic East Los Angeles in the 1970s. Like the work of such contemporaries as Carlos Almaraz, Frank Romero and Beto de la Rocha, his murals and other creations have come to define Chicano art.

Perhaps best known as a painter, Mr. Lujan also worked in a variety of media, including sculpture, prints and even whimsical assemblages of sticks and twigs. He painted on canvases, parking structures and lowriders.

One of his best-known, and most widely seen, creations is “Hooray for Hollywood,” which graces the subway station at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine. It includes a “yellow brick road” directing people from the plaza to the train platform, as well as benches sculpted in the form of lowriders and support pillars that look like palm trees.

Other works have been exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Houston Museum of Fine Art and numerous galleries.

While his work could be light, colorful and whimsical, it just as often contained powerful messages directed at the culture.

“Everything I do is about humans,” he once told the Web site Latinopia.com. “So I make the car a human being, but for me making them these cartoon characters is a subterfuge for something else. This way I could deal with racism in a different way, to counter a lot of these anti-Mexican feelings by hiding behind whimsy, color, innocence, folky.”

He acquired his nickname, he later told interviewers, when friends noticed him squinting at artworks while inspecting them, like the nearsighted cartoon character Mr. Magoo.

— From news services