Milestones Oct. 27, 1997

DIED. JOHN DENVER, 53, earnest singer-songwriter who composed sunny anthems to human goodness and nature's wonders; after crashing his homemade fiber-glass plane into Monterey Bay, Calif. Denver's road trips with the Chad Mitchell Trio inspired him to compose Leaving on a Jet Plane, a No. 1 hit for Peter, Paul and Mary in 1969. He went solo with equal success, charming audiences with his lyrical tenor and country-boy appeal. As he crooned Take Me Home, Country Roads and Sunshine on My Shoulders, he seemed to embody the peace-loving ethos of the 1970s. Offstage he was devoted to nature conservation. His squeaky-clean...

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