The music world has lost a giant.

Phil Blum, who made his home in Chicago, River Forest, Forest Park and, at the end, Oak Park, succumbed to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma after a 12-year, mostly victorious, battle with the disease. Everyone who knew him loved him. Phil was the consummate musician having played cello with the Chicago Symphony for 54 years. At a very young age he soloed with the Oak Park Symphony where his mother played violin. She was astounded when she heard him play that solo, since he’d never practiced it at home. He leaves a wife, Nancy, also a cellist, a family and a host of friends and admirers. A memorial service will be held later this month at Orchestra Hall (or Symphony Center as it’s now called).

Welcome home to Roger Grant who spent the last three weeks in Africa, mostly Kenya, where he met with many old friends and fellow Evangelists. Roger lives his religion, and spreads peace and joy wherever he goes. In his travels to Africa, he has become dear friends with many fascinating people and has a story to tell about each one. Pictured at right is Roger with his 104-year-old friend, Elizabeth Chepquaitch, a convert to Christianity several years ago. At a meeting in her Kenyan village under a Mango tree, the group was discussing just what and where is a church. Elizabeth said, “Here under the Mango tree.” Roger will soon present an illustrated discussion at his home in Forest Park of his travels. As stated here some months ago, Roger was born in Jos, Nigeria. At a very young age he helped his father build an entire hospital, including X-ray machines and other equipment.

Goodbye and the best of everything to Frank Pinc, our prize-winning photographer here at the Review, and a longtime village resident. (Frank is retiring, so you may see him about town without a camera.) He’s wise and funny and does his job better than anyone. Everyone will miss him.

You may have noticed that on the day this newspaper hits newsstands the date is 090909. It’s a great day to get married, have a baby or do something that you will have to remember for the rest of your life.

And speaking of birthdays, here are some happy celebrants for this week: Clayton Davis, Kirk Scully, John Erickson, Rick Stephanie, Lily O’Neill, Diane Huebner, Betty Huebner, Marion Flight, Nicole Walsh, Max Rus, Celeste Cosgrove, Claire Finnegan, Brian Foley, Adam Goetz, Brett Massoth, Alyssa Neff, Jodi Gianakopoulos, Alexander Baffetti, Nick Spanvello, Dee Galbraith and Laura McDermott.

Happy anniversary this week to Tony and Lois Calderone, Ed and Darlene Pope, Guy and Katina Macino, and Carol and Dave Novak.