Spencer Cox, 44, an AIDS activist whose work with lay scientists helped push innovative antiretroviral drugs to market, creating the first effective drug protocols to combat the syndrome, died Dec. 18
Cox, who died of AIDS-related causes, was a prominent voice in the fight against AIDS for more than two decades. After three years as a student at Bennington College in Vermont, he moved to New York. By 1989, at age 20, he had joined the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, better known as Act Up, the organization devoted to pushing government and private industry, often with demonstrations, sit-ins and other tactics, to dedicate more resources for AIDS treatment and prevention.
In 1992, he was among the Act Up members who formed the Treatment Action Group, known as TAG, to focus on accelerating treatment research. Along with other TAG colleagues, Cox schooled himself in the science of AIDS, the workings of drug trials and the government approval process. While still in his 20s, he represented people with AIDS in high-level meetings with the Federal Drug Administration and other agencies and private companies.
Mickey Baker, 87, an exceptional 1950s session guitarist who played on hundreds of recordings, helping to transform rhythm and blues into rock 'n' roll, died Nov. 27 at his home near Toulouse, France.
Baker "was the first great rock and roll guitarist," rock historian Dave Marsh wrote in 1989 in "The Heart of Rock and Roll: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made." The sassy "Love Is Strange" was one of them. Baker performed the 1957 hit as a duet with Sylvia Vanderpool. As Mickey & Sylvia, they came up with the million-selling "Love Is Strange" at their second session.
Jane Holmes Dixon, 75, who became a priest in her 40s and later became the second female bishop in the Episcopal Church, died Dec. 25 at her home in Washington.
Her 17-month term as bishop pro tempore of the Washington Diocese in 2001 and 2002 was dominated by a standoff with a rural Maryland parish whose rector, the Rev. Samuel Edwards, refused to recognize female authority. Dixon filed a federal lawsuit, charging that Edwards had been improperly hired, without her approval and in violation of canonical law. The court ruled in her favor.