Al Bart - Defensive lineman for six years in the NFL for the Chicago Bears and Chicago Cardinals, who is probably best known as one of the famed “Seven Blocks of Granite” at Fordham University in the mid-1930’s with Vince Lombardi, died Dec. 29 in Kettering, OH at age 87.
Joel Buchsbaum - College football draft expert who had been a contributing editor of Pro Football Weekly magazine since 1978, and who published 20 annual draft preview guides, was found dead on Dec. 29 in his New York apartment of unknown (natural) causes at age 48.
Ed Doobrow - Longtime golf reporter who most recently worked for PGA.com, specializing in exclusive interviews with many of golf’s top players and officials, died Dec. 26 of undisclosed causes in High Point, NC at age 66.
Linda Elias - One of Southern California's most successful female sailboat racers, who won the Women's One-Design Championship four times, died of complications from ovarian cancer on Jan. 3 in Surfside, CA at age 52.
Sid Gillman - Hall of Fame head football coach of the Chargers, Rams and Oilers, who was the first head coach in Charger history in 1960 who spent 10 years with the team, including an AFL championship in 1963, and who is one of the founding fathers of the modern NFL passing game, died Jan. 3 in Los Angeles at age 91.
Jo Jo Heath - Standout defensive back at the University of Pittsburgh, who played on the 1976 national championship team, who played several seasons in the NFL with the Eagles, Bengals and Jets, was stabbed to death in an altercation over drugs on Dec. 30 in Charleroi, PA at age 45.
Pleasant Colony - Race horse who won two-thirds of the Triple Crown in 1981 by winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but fell short by finishing third at the Belmont Stakes, died Dec. 31 near Upperville, VA at age 25.
Riverfront Stadium - The home of the Cincinnati Reds for the last 32 years, which played host to 5 World Series and Pete Rose’s 4,192nd hit, among other memorable moments, was imploded on Dec. 29 to make way for Great American Ball Park set to open in March.
Albert Stubbins - Red-haired British soccer star in the 40’s and 50’s who became a Liverpool legend, and is pictured on the cover of the Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” LP, died Dec. 28 at age 83.
Art and Literature
Edward K. Boyd - Co-author with his son Gregory of the classic Christian book “Letters From A Sceptic”, which is a compilation of letters exchanged between an agnostic father and his believing son, which has sold thousands of copies and been translated into 14 languages, died Dec. 28 in Minneapolis at age 84.
D.J. Enright - Poet and novelist who was considered one of the outstanding poets of postwar Britain, whose collections of poetry include “Terrible Shears: scenes from a Twenties childhood “ and “Collected Poems”, died in London on Dec. 31 of cancer at age 82.
Jose Maria Gironella - Spanish author best known for the Spanish Civil War trilogy “The Cypresses Believe in God”, which depicts the trauma of a divided family during the 1936-39 Civil War and which sold more than 6 million copies, died Dec. 28 of a blood clot in the brain in Arenys de Mar, Spain at the age of 85.
Giovanni Intra - Editor for the magazine Art and Text and partner in the China Art Objects Galleries in Los Angeles, died on Dec. 17 of unknown causes in his Manhattan apartment at age 34.
Robert Laird - Self-taught surrealist painter whose paintings caught the eye of mystic Uri Geller, who claimed there were psychic messages in his paintings and offered to become his agent, collapsed and died of unknown causes on Jan. 1 in London at age 30.
Hazel Pete - Chehalis Indian and renowned basket maker, whose baskets are held in museum collections across the U.S. and in Europe including the National Museum of the American Indian, the American Indian Arts Museum, and the Burke Museum, died Jan. 2 on the Chehalis reservation in Oakville, WA at age 87.
Glen Seator - Sculptor who was known for his massive recreations like B.D.O., an office replication inside a wooden box tilted on its side, whose works are exhibited in New York and Europe, died on Dec. 21 at his home in New York when he fell off his roof while working on his chimney. He was 46.
Mary Wesley - British novelist who published her first book at age 70, and produced a string of racy best sellers including “The Camomile Lawn” and “A Sensible Life”, died of a blood disorder in London on Dec. 30 at age 90.
Politics and Military
Leighton Cornett - Democratic state representative from Texas who served from 1939 to 1941 and was the youngest seated member at the time, died Jan. 1 in Paris, TX at age 86.
Frank Cremeans - U.S. Congressman from Ohio, who was swept into office in 1994 with many other Republicans pledging to pass the Contract with America, but became known for sticking his foot in his mouth, and was defeated for re-election in 1996, died Jan. 2 of complications of neuropathy in Gallipolis, OH at age 59.
Joe Foss - Governor of South Dakota from 1955 to 1959, but who is best remembered as one of the most prominent WW2 heroes, shooting down 26 enemy planes, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, and later became the commissioner of the American Football League, hosted “The American Sportsman” show on ABC, and served as president of the NRA from 1988 to 1990 (no mention in the obit but I bet he was a physicist on the Manhattan Project as well), died on Jan. 1 in Scottsdale, AZ after having suffered an aneurysm several months ago. He was 87.
Hector McGeachy - Democratic North Carolina state Senator who served from 1961-63 and 1965-1975 and was majority leader in the late 60’s, who created that state’s District Court system, died Jan. 1 in Fayetteville at age 85.
James E. O'Neill - Democratic state representative from Michigan who specialized in education issues and served from 1966 until 1994, died on Dec. 30 in Saginaw after open heart surgery at age 73.
Social and Religion
Meredith Burke - Population and demographics expert who staunchly argued for stricter immigration control as the chief means of controlling overpopulation in the U.S., died on Dec. 11 in Santa Barbara, CA of a suicide at age 55.
Michael Ellerbe - Uniontown, PA boy who was driving a stolen vehicle and crashed the vehicle during a police chase and tried to run away, was shot in the back by either policeman Juan Curry or Samuel Nassan and killed on Dec. 24. He was 12 years old.
Mohammed al-Fassi - Wealthy Saudi sheik known for his extreme lavish lifestyle who once bought a Beverly Hills mansion, painted it lime green and had the Italian statuary painted in skin tones with body hair, died in Cairo on Dec. 24 of an infected hernia at age 50.
The Pesce Family - Livonia, Michigan jewelry store owner and his family who on Dec. 21 were shot to death in their home by recently-paroled robbers Dennis Lincoln and John Wolfenbarger, after the Pesce’s had complied with the robber’s requests and emptied the safe. Slain where jeweler Marco Pesce, 38; his mother, Maria Vergati, 68; and Pesce's three children, Melissa, 6, Sabrina, 9, and Carlo, 12.
Patricia Taylor - Groton, MA woman who was vacationing with her family at the beach in Georgetown, ME, and on Dec. 31 watched as her two teenage children and their surfboards were swept out to sea by a strong current, drowned after jumping in the ocean to try to save them (the kids were rescued). She was 51 years old.
Sir Gus - The kissing camel who delighted children in central Florida for a quarter of a century, was mortally injured Jan. 3 in a car accident after appearing in Orlando’s Super Holiday Parade. Gus was 25.
Business and Science
Richard Clarke - Chairman and chief executive of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company from 1986 to 1995, who was known for promoting efficient energy use and clean-air transportation, and who was awarded the Environment and Conservation Challenge Award by President Bush in 1991, died of Lou Gehrig’s disease on Dec. 14 in San Rafael, CA at age 72.
Warner Gardner - High-profile Washington attorney who founded the Shea & Gardner firm, who worked on cases ranging from legal issues surrounding Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” legislation to advising Anita Hill during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearings, died Jan. 2 in Washington DC of a heart attack at age 93.
Dr. Eleanor Gibson - Psychology researcher at Cornell who studied learning processes in children, known for her depth perception studies using a “visual cliff” which showed babies could distinguish depth, died on Dec. 30 in Columbia, SC at age 92.
Rushton Skakel Sr. - Wealthy Connecticut businessman who was president of Great Lakes Carbon, at one time one of the largest private companies in the U.S., who is the brother of Ethel Kennedy and father of recently convicted murderer Michael Skakel, died Jan. 2 in Hobe Sound, FL of brain illness at age 79.
Armand Zildjian - President of Avedis Zildjian, a nearly 500 year old company founded by his ancestors that makes cymbals, died Dec 26 of cancer in Scottsdale, AZ at age 81.