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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, January 25, 2020

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Jimmy Heath, jazz saxophonist, composer, and arrangerShin Kyuk-ho, South Korean business tycoon

Business and Science

Shin Kyuk-ho (98) built a chewing-gum business into the hugely successful Lotte Group in South Korea and Japan, only to see his sons squabble over the corporate empire. The company is South Korea’s fifth-largest business conglomerate. Shin was the last of the rags-to-riches founders of South Korea’s major family-run conglomerates, or chaebol. Tycoons like Shin were credited with engineering the dramatic industrialization that transformed the country into one of Asia’s leading economies after the destruction of the Korean War in the ‘50s. Shin stowed away on a ship to Japan in 1941. In Tokyo he delivered milk and newspapers during the day while attending college at night. He named his first successful business, a company that marketed chewing gum, Lotte after Charlotte, the female character in Wolfgang von Goethe’s novel The Sorrows of Young Werther. Today Lotte is a household name in South Korea, running 90 affiliates that together generate 100 trillion won, or $86 billion, in annual revenues. The name graces hotels, department stores, apartment buildings, nationwide chains of shopping malls, theme parks, movie theaters, duty-free stores, coffee shops, and fast-food restaurants. Shin kept his last promise for his home country—building South Korea’s tallest building—when Lotte completed its 123-story Lotte World Tower in Jamsil in 2017. He died in Seoul, South Korea on January 19, 2020.

News and Entertainment

Jimmy Heath (93) tenor saxophonist whose compositions became part of the mid-20th century jazz canon. Heath found new prominence in middle age as coleader of a popular band with his two brothers. His saxophone sound was spare but playful, but his reputation rested equally on his abilities as a composer and arranger for large ensembles, including bebop rhythms and improvisations. He was a teenager touring the Midwestern dance circuit with the Nat Towles Orchestra in the ‘40s when he became interested in arranging. At first he could hardly read music, but he proved a quick study. When a particular harmony struck him, he hounded his fellow horn players to tell him what notes they were playing, then pieced together the chords on sheet music. Before long he was writing for a 16-piece band of his own, whose lineup included future saxophone luminaries John Coltrane and Benny Golson. Heath died in Loganville, Georgia on January 19, 2020.

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