Ronnie James Dio, Will Owsley and the Great Ms. Lena Horne

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This is Celia Hirschman with On the Beat for KCRW.

No one makes it in the music business without blood, sweat and tears. And while the business itself dominates my usual commentary, there are moments to pause and appreciate. When we lose one of our own, it's important to pay respect. This month, we've lost a few.

Last week, heavy-metal recording artist Ronnie James Dio died from stomach cancer. I met Ronnie in 1987, when he graciously offered to give time and money for a children's shelter that I was involved with. Ronnie played a 10,000-seat concert just for the shelter, donating all the profits. With that money, Children of the Night finished a day care center for homeless kids on the streets of Hollywood. Ronnie didn't hesitate to help and he never asked for anything in return. He blew out whatever stereotypes I imagined a heavy-metal front man to be. He was kind and considerate, a professional and a true gentleman. He was one of a kind.

A memorial will be held for the rocker at Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills this Sunday at 2pm. The service will be a celebration of Ronnie James Dio's life and is open to the public.

We also lost singer/songwriter and guitarist, Will Owsley this month. As a session player, Will's career crossed paths with many of Nashville's most elite recording artists. He played in Amy Grant's band for 16 years, and recorded with Shania Twain, Vince Gill, The Neville Brothers, Faith Hill and more. In addition to his studio work, Will also released three solo albums under the name Owsley. He died of an apparent suicide, leaving two behind two young sons.

Finally, the great Ms. Lena Horne passed away this month at the age of 92. While world renowned for music, Ms. Horne was also a leader in Civil Rights. She worked with Eleanor Roosevelt to pass anti-lynching laws, marched on Washington in 1963, and worked with Japanese Americas who faced discrimination.

She had an accomplished nightclub career, a very successful stage and television career and an extraordinary recording career, earning eight Grammy awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award. She was a true renaissance woman. As her granddaughter said at her memorial service, “She was so many ideas existing all at the same time in the same space and they were all conflicting and they were all true."

Each of these individuals worked hard to show us the brilliant light inside them and it is we who are the fortunate beneficiaries, graced with the light they shone.

This is Celia Hirschman with On the Beat for KCRW.