In the last week, many notable Americans have passed away. This will cover a few of these amazing people from various walks of life that helped to shape American culture and life in some way.

Politics

Mike Lowry (1939-2017) was a Democratic politician for the state of Washington. He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Washington's 7th district from 1979-89.

After two failed attempts at becoming a Senator, he became the 20th Governor of Washington. He served one term from 1993-97, putting in place health insurance with premiums based on ability to pay.

Lowry died on May 1 at age 78 from complications due to a stroke.

Entertainers

Lorna Grey (1917-2017) was an actress, who also went by the name Adrian Booth. Grey appeared in a number of films between 1937-51. She starred opposite legend John Wayne in the 1938 movie 'Red River Range.' She also appeared in the title role of the 1943 movie 'O, My Darling Clementine.'

When Grey started working for Republic, she and Dale Evans were the only women to receive co-star billing in Westerns at the studio. She also played Gail Richards in the 1944 serial 'Captain America.' Grey died on April 30 at age 90.

Bruce Hampton (1947-2017) was a musician and songwriter, who also had roles in several movies. Regarded by many as the grandfather of the jam-scene, he started out as the founding member of the 'Hampton Grease Band' in the late 1960s.

Over the decades, he would become associated with eight other acts, including 'Late Bronze Age' and 'Fiji Mariners.' Hampton died on May 1 at age 70, after he collapsed during the encore performance of a birthday concert thrown for him.

Kevin Garcia (1975-2017) was a musician and bassist for the band 'Grandaddy.' At the age of 15 he was a founding member of the band, which was active until 2006 when they broke up.

The band reformed in 2012 and released their first album in 11 years called 'Last Place' in March. On May 1, Garcia suffered a massive stroke and died the following day at age 41.

Edwin Sherin (1930-2017) was a director and producer of television and theatre. He is best known for producing and directing the acclaimed TV legal drama 'Law & Order.' He shared the show's 1997 Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series, with it being nominated for the award six other times.

On Broadway, he is best known for directing the 1968 play 'The Great White Hope', starring his future wife Jace Alexander and James Earl Jones. Sherin died on May 4 at age 87.

Sports

Sam Mele (1922-2017) was a professional baseball player and manager. In 1942 he joined the U.S. Marine Corps, serving on the USS Ranger, until he was honorably discharged in 1946. During his 10 years in the majors he played for six different teams, batting .267 with 80 homers.

In the middle of the 1961 season he took over as manager for the Minnesota Twins. In seven seasons, he had a 524-436 record and lead the team to the 1965 AL Pennant. After managing, he spent 1967-1994 as a special assignments scout for the Red Sox.

Mele died on May 1 at age 95 from natural causes.

Adolph Kiefer (1918-2017) was a competitive swimmer. At 16, he became the first man to break the one-minute mark in the 100-yard backstroke in 1935. This would be the first of 17 world records he would set between 1935-44. In the 1936 Summer Olympics, he won gold in the men's 100-meter backstroke.

He joined the U.S. Navy in 1943. By the end of World War II, he was a Lieutenant, Senior Grade and the Officer in Charge of Swimming for the U.S. Navy. In 1965 he was an "Honor Swimmer" member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame's inaugural class. Kiefer died on May 5 at age 98.

Steven Holcomb (1980-2017) was a professional bobsledder. Following a seven-year service as part of the Utah Army National Guard, he began to compete on the World Cup circuit.

In the 2010 Winter Olympics, he led the U.S. team to their first gold-medal victory in the four-man event in 62 years.

In the 2014 Olympics, he won bronze in the two-man event, breaking another U.S. medal drought of 62 years. He also led the U.S. to bronze in the four-man. Holcomb was found dead on May 6 at age 37. A cause of death has yet to be determined.

Others

Leo K. Thorsness (1932-2017) was a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in an air engagement in 1967 during the Vietnam War. Two weeks later on his 93rd mission, Thorsness was shot down and became a POW tortured by the North Vietnamese until his release in 1973.

During his career, he received, 2 Silver Stars, 6 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 2 Purple Hearts and 16 Air Medals, among others.

He would later serve as a member of the 11th district in the Washington Senate from 1988-92. Thorsness died on May 2 at age 85 from leukemia.

William Baumol (1922-2017) was an economist who wrote over 80 books and 700 journal articles. He worked as a professor of economics at New York University and was a Professor Emeritus at Princeton. Baumol was considered one of the most influential economists in the world. He made important contributions to the history of economic thought and theory of entrepreneurship. Baumol died on May 5 at age 95.

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