Ivan Calderone - All-Star outfielder who played 10 seasons in the major leagues with the Mariners, White Sox, Red Sox and Expos from 1984 to 1993, whose best season was 1991 for Montreal where he hit .300 with 19 home runs and was selected to the All Star team, and who finished his career with a .272 average, was shot to death on Dec. 27 in a store in his hometown of Loiza, Puerto Rico at the age of 42.
Ray Crowe - Legendary Indiana high school basketball coach who led Oscar Robertson and Crispus Attucks High School to two state championships in 1955 and 1956 with a combined record of 62-1, making Attucks the first all-black school in the nation to win a state basketball championship, who after retiring from coaching in 1967 became an Indiana state legislator and appeared in the 1986 film "Hoosiers", died Dec. 20 in Indianapolis at age 88.
Irvin Favre - Father of football superstar Brett Favre, who coached his son in high school and was his biggest fan, died Dec. 21 in Kiln, MS of a heart attack or stroke while driving. He was 58 years old.
Del Flanagan - Welterweight boxer who rose to the No. 2 rank in the world during the 1950's, who defeated several reigning and former world champions in nontitle fights and had a career record of 105-22, but who never got a shot at the title due to being sidestepped by many champions fearful of his skill and quickness, and who was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in Oct. 2002, died Dec. 26 in Phoenix from complications of a heart attack at age 75.
Aniela Goldthwaite - One of Texas's top female amateur golfers, who won the first major golf event played at Colonial in a field that included Babe Didrikson Zaharias, and who won countless titles in Texas golf beginning in the 1920's, died Dec. 24 in Fort Worth, TX after a long illness at age 91.
Herman Keiser - Professional golfer who won five PGA tour events in the 1940's and 50's, but who is best known for upsetting Ben Hogan and winning the 1946 Masters tournament, despite the best efforts of Augusta National club members to stop him from winning (they misinformed him of his tee time and gave him a slow-footed caddy, both in an effort to disqualify him and give the title to Hogan), died Dec. 24 in Akron, OH of Alzheimer's disease at age 89.
John Lingenfelter - Nationally-known sports car engine specialist and championship race car driver, who won the 1972 super stock eliminator class at the United States Nationals and went on to win 13 more national racing titles, who became a leading engine-modifier for high-performance vehicles, and who founded and owned Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, died Dec. 25 in Decatur, IN from injuries sustained in a drag racing accident in Oct. 2002. He was 58 years old.
Paul Owens - Legendary Philadelphia Phillies general manager and manager, who was associated with the team for 48 years, who as general manager was the architect behind their 1980 World Series championship team (the Phillies' only championship in their 131 year history), who as field manager led the 1983 team to the National League pennant, and who is remembered for "The Speech" on Sept. 1, 1980, a 30-minute rant in which he scolded the players for their selfish, sloppy play, which spurred the team to a winning spell that culminated in a World Series victory over Kansas City, died Dec. 26 in Woodbury, NJ after a long illness at age 79.
Art Rosenbaum - Award-winning and longtime sports columnist and editor at the San Francisco Chronicle, who worked at the paper for 60 years, who witnessed key moments in the history of sports and befriended several sports celebrities, and who worked as a special correspondent for Sports Illustrated, died Dec. 21 in San Francisco of pneumonia at age 91.
Steve Wright - All American star basketball player at Boston University during the late 1970's, who was team MVP in three different seasons and ranks fourth on the school's all-time scoring history with 1,641 points, who was drafted by the Boston Celtics but played professional basketball in Europe, and who recently was working as director of finance and administration of the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, DC, died Dec. 21 of cancer in Baltimore at age 45.
Art and Literature
Hugo Arguelles - One of the top Mexican playwrights of the 20th century, known for his the black humor, magical realism, the study of characters and social criticism in his works, whose stories like "La Amante perfecta" and "La Primavera de los escorpiones" were adapted into movies, died Dec. 24 of prostate cancer in Mexico City at age 71.
Charles Berlitz - One of the world's top linguists who spoke 32 different languages, who was grandson of world famous linguist Maximilian Berlitz, founder of the famous language schools, who worked as head of publications for the Berlitz company, writing language curriculum for schools around the world, and who was also a well-known UFO and paranormal researcher and author of such books as the best-selling "The Bermuda Triangle" (he theorized that the Triangle was a large magnetic vortex through which a craft and its occupants could slip into a different point in time and space) and "World of Strange Phenomena", died Dec. 18 in Fort Lauderdale, FL at age 90.
Blanche Davis Blank - Noted social scientist and author who was founder and chairwoman of the Hunter Institute for Trial Judges, who wrote several books including "It Takes Two to Tango: International Perspectives on the United Nations" and "The Not So Grand Jury: The Story of the Federal Grand Jury System", and who was a longtime dean and an interim president of Hunter College, died Dec. 19 in New Rochelle, NY at age 80.
Betty Brock - Children's author best known for the popular book "No Flying In the House", first published in 1970 and reissued in 1982, which has appeared on a number of lists of books recommended for young readers, died Dec. 4 in Lake Forest, IL of Alzheimer's disease at age 80.
Helen Gustafson - Author who was the "ambassador of tea", who wrote about tea, promoted it at restaurants and taught the art of afternoon tea, who managed the tea service at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, and who wrote several article and books including "The Agony of the Leaves: The Ecstasy of My Life with Tea" and "The Green Tea User's Manual", died Dec. 14 in Berkeley, CA of cancer at age 74.
Wally Hedrick - Iconoclastic San Francisco artist and leading member of the Beat Generation, who founded The Six Gallery, a major hangout for artists and writers of the Beat Generation in the 1950s, and whose works are a permanent part of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, died Dec. 17 of congestive heart failure in Bodega, CA at age 75.
Betty Receveur - Best-selling historical novelist, best known for her two-part story told in 1990's "Oh, Kentucky!" and 1995's "Kentucky Home", who also published historical romances like "Molly Gallagher" and "Sable Flanagan", died Dec. 22 in Louisville after a long illness at age 73.
Laura Wood Roper - Author who wrote several biographies including the highly acclaimed "Flo: A Biography of Frederick Law Olmsted", who also published biographies on Walter Reed and Louis Pasteur, died Dec. 5 in Cotuit, MA after a series of strokes at age 92.
Paula Schwartz (aka Elizabeth Mansfield) - Romance novelist who wrote 36 period novels under the pen names Elizabeth Mansfield, Paula Reid, Paula Jonas and Paula Reibel with titles such as "An Encounter With Venus", "The Phantom Lover", "An Accidental Romance" and "Her Man of Affairs", all of which took place in the Regency period of England in the early 1800's, died Dec. 21 in Annandale, VA of ovarian cancer at age 78.
Albert Szabo - Architect and artist, who taught architecture at Harvard University for many years, and who was known for his sculptures using dissected common household items such as typewriters, balusters, and barrel staves, died Dec. 17 of surgical complications in Cambridge, MA at age 78.
Robert L. Wood - Prolific writer, photographer and mountaineer, who wrote about the Olympic Mountains in Washington state that he hiked and explored in books including "The Land that Slept Late", the history book "Across the Olympic Mountains: the Press Expedition, 1889-90", and the best-selling handbook "Olympic Mountains Trail Guide", died Dec. 21 in Snohomish, WA of Parkinson's disease complications at age 78.
Politics and Military
Kriangsak Chomanan - Prime minister of Thailand from 1977 to 1980 who came to power in a military coup, but who helped promulgate a constitution in 1978, setting up a timetable for the restoration of parliamentary democracy beginning with a 1979 election, died Dec. 23 in Bangkok of a blood infection and kidney failure at age 87.
Pvt. George Elliot - Army radar operator stationed in Oahu, Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941, who first detected the incoming Japanese aircraft approaching Pearl Harbor, whose warning to headquarters was brushed aside as a test flight of B-17 Flying Fortresses due in from California, who turned off the set when the "blip" became too large, figuring the set must be broken, and whose actions were depicted in numerous books and movies like "Tora, Tora, Tora", died Dec. 20 in Port Charlotte, FL of stroke complications at age 85.
Nicholas Mavroules - Seven term U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts, who served as a Democrat from 1978 to 1992, who during his tenure served on as chairman of the House subcommittee on investigations, exposing major cost overruns by the Navy, but who was defeated for re-election in 1992 after he was indicted on bribery and racketeering charges, and who later served 11 months in prison, died Dec. 25 in Peabody, MA after gastric surgery at age 74.
Loyd E. Newcomer - Navy commander and Antarctic naval explorer, who on April 10, 1961 as a member of Operation Deep Freeze piloted a plane during the harsh Antarctic winter in a rescue mission to evacuate desperately ill Russian scientist Leonid Kuperov, becoming the first pilot to land in Antarctica during the winter darkness in what was called the one of the most significant flights in Deep Freeze history, died Dec. 18 in Boulder, CO of respiratory failure at age 85.
Anthony Nugent - Missouri appeals court judge, who when he was forced to retire in 1991, filed an age discrimination suit and fought it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court (he lost), who found a whole new life as a well-known legal activist after his forced retirement, died Dec. 23 in Kansas City, MO at age 83.
Susan Travers - The only woman to have joined the French Foreign Legion, who as the daughter of well-to-do English parents living in France was accepted into the Foreign Legion after omitting her sex from the application form, who spent much of World War II driving an ambulance in Finland then Africa, who played a key part in the breakout by the Legion from Rommel's siege of the desert fortress of Bir Hakeim in 1942, and whose memoir "Tomorrow To Be Brave" was published in 2000, died Dec. 18 in Paris at age 94.
Oleg Troyanovsky - Affable Soviet diplomat during the Cold War, who for nine years served as the Soviet Union's ambassador to the United Nations, who earned the respect of his Western adversaries with his sense of humor and cool composure, which were the anti-thesis of Soviet stereotypes during that time, died Dec. 21 after a long illness at age 84.
Social and Religion
Shahab Behzadpour and his children Sammi and Nikki - Florida man undergoing a bitter divorce from his wife who had accused him of abuse and had a restraining order against him, who had gone before a judge earlier in December to argue over who could be with the children Christmas Day, the judge ruling that the parents split the holiday with the children, and who was returning the children to his in-law's house after spending Christmas morning with them, rammed his car into the in-law's house in Altamonte Springs, FL and apparently set off an explosive device in the car killing himself, 46, and his two children Nikki, 6, and Sammi, 3. Family members inside the house including the children's mother were unharmed.
Albert Circelli - New York City man who had a history of boisterous behavior, who on Dec. 22 went with friends to the fabled Rao's Restaurant, a place known to be frequented by mobsters, who during a performance by chanteuse Rena Strober began heckling her, and who then began exchanging words with Luchese crime family figure Louis "Lump Lump" Barone, was shot to death when Barone pulled out a .38 caliber revolver and shot him in the back in front of stunned patrons. Circelli was 37 years old.
"Old Ben" Fullingim - Well-known Tuolumne County, California character who lived alone in a sagging shack he hand-built on public land in the early 1950s on gold claims, who for years successfully challenged his right to live on the land as a squatter, and who served as mascot of the Mother Lode Fair and Parade, died Dec. 21 at a nursing home in Fresno, CA at age 99.
Geranium - Pet donkey belonging to 80-year-old Jesse Laing of Annaville, Texas, that for years had been used at churches and schools for nativity scenes and children's rides, who on Dec. 10 was attacked and mauled outside of Laing's home (near a day-care center) by a pair of pit bulls belonging to a neighbor of Laings, died from his injuries on Dec. 22 at the age of 31. Due to publicity surrounding the story, two donors have given new donkeys to Laing.
Olga Gomez - Elderly New York City woman who was a retired attorney for the state welfare office, who had emigrated from Puerto Rico many years ago and had lived in the same apartment for 35 years, and who on Dec. 20 was crossing a street at a busy Brooklyn intersection with her just-purchased groceries, was struck and killed by an 18-wheeler filled with coffins. She was 75 years old.
Prince Alfonso de Hohenlohe - Jet-setting member of the Spanish royal family who made his money by introducing production of the Volkswagen Beetle in Mexico, who is said to have invented the modern international jet set by transforming the small Spanish fishing village of Marbella into one of the world's most glamorous playgrounds for the rich, the powerful and the beautiful, and who dated actresses Ava Gardner and Kim Novak, died Dec. 21 in Mirbella at age 79.
Thich Chan Hy - Buddhist monk at a temple in Charlotte, North Carolina, who on Dec. 24 wished to object to the oppression of Buddhism by the South Vietnamese government, doused himself with gasoline and then burned himself to death as he kneeled in front of a Buddhist statue in an act of self-immolation. He was 74 years old. No word on whether South Vietnamese government officials have given up their oppression of Buddhism.
Barry Long - Australian spiritual guru and author known as the 'Tantric Master of the West', who wrote about and lectured on meditation, cosmic consciousness and tantric sex, who advocated finding God through self-discovery, and who published several best-selling books including "Origins of Man and the Universe", died Dec. 6 of prostate cancer at age 77.
Joe Mayer - Guitarist for the popular Huntsville, Alabama rock band Black-Eyed Susan, who disappeared on Nov. 20 and whose car was found days later with his effects and music equipment intact, was found dead on Dec. 17, an apparent drowning victim, in Huntsville. He was 33 years old and foul play is not suspected.
Rev. Joseph Ognibene - Roman Catholic priest who became a hero during the 1958 Our Lady of Angels school blaze in Chicago, a fire that killed 92 children and 3 teachers, who rescued children from the burning building by swinging them from a window of the school to an adjoining classroom, where they were able to flee to safety, died Dec. 19 in Rolling Meadows, IL of cancer at age 77.
Pharos - One of Queen Elizabeth's beloved corgi dogs, who was one of her oldest and dearest pets, was attacked and killed on Dec. 21 by one of Princess Anne's bull terriers (Dotty) when the corgis ran out to greet the princess as she arrived at the Sandringham estate for Christmas. Queen Elizabeth is said to be devastated at the incident. Princess Anne was convicted under the Dangerous Dogs Act last year after Dotty attacked two children. Dotty's future is "under review".
Sidney Rand - Lutheran minister who was president of St. Olaf College for 16 years, who then served as U.S. ambassador to Norway under President Jimmy Carter, died Dec. 16 in Northfield, MN at age 87.
David Ryan - New York man who had become something of a hero since his life was chronicled in a Dec. 21 article in The New York Times focusing on his historic basement apartment in the 176-year-old Greenwich Village building that was once the home of writer Ruth McKenney and documented in several of her works, who had lived in the apartment for 28 years and who had concluded the interview for the article with the statement "I would die if I had to leave", was killed in an electrical fire on Dec. 25 in his historic apartment. He was 55 years old.
Virginia Steen - Art historian who in 1987 was teaching at the University College in Beirut, Lebanon, when her husband, journalist Alann Steen, was kidnapped by Lebanese and Iranian terrorists, who became an advocate working for the release of the hostages (they were finally released after 4 years in Dec. 1991), and who was recognized by President George H. W Bush for her work on the hostage's behalf, died Dec. 19 in Evansville, WY of the flu at age 47.
Julia Tavalaro - Woman who nearly completely paralyzed from a series of strokes in 1966 at the age of 31, who remained completely cognizant but was unable to communicate this to anyone for 6 years (everyone including doctors felt her mind was not present), who was institutionalized, alone with her thoughts and fears and unable even to commit suicide, but who eventually was able to communicate to speech therapist Arlene Kratt through eye movements, and whose story came to media attention in 1995 through newspaper and magazine articles and the 1997 book about her life and ordeal "Look Up For Yes", died Dec. 19 of pneumonia in New York at age 68.
Allen Wemes - Head custodian at Pittsford Sutherland High School in Pittsford, New York, who was under investigation for secretly filming female students and faculty members in a school restroom, and who had been suspended in November without pay during the investigation, committed suicide on Dec. 22 by shooting himself in the head outside his home in Ontario County, NY at age 52.
Business and Science
Harold von Braunhut - Inventor and innovator of novelty items sold through ads in comic books, who created and marketed items such as X-Ray Specs, Crazy Crabs, Invisible Goldfish and Amazing Hair-Raising Monsters, but who is best known for his Amazing Sea Monkeys, tiny brine shrimp that pop to life when water is added, which became a huge fad in the 1970's, selling billions and spurning the "Sea Monkeys" Saturday morning TV series, died Nov. 28 after a fall at his home in Indian Head, MD at age 77.
Peter Carter-Ruck - Notorious and feared British attorney, who was one of England's best-known libel lawyers, who specialized in suing periodicals for slander on behalf of clients like Randolph Churchill (son of Winston) and Princess Elizabeth of Toro, and who wrote 2 books "Libel and Slander" and "Memoirs of a Libel Lawyer", died Dec. 19 in Great Hallingbury, England at age 89 (Photo courtesy of Sylvan Mason).
Harry Combs - Aviation pioneer who founded Mountain States Aviation, an airport operation business and flight school that later became Combs Aircraft and trained more than 9,000 pilots to fly freight planes and fighters, gliders and bombers during World War II, who later headed up Gates Learjet and founded AMR Combs, and who just a week before his death was named as one of the 100 top leaders in aviation history, died Dec. 23 in Phoenix of heart failure at age 90.
Russell Franklin - Founding partner in the mid-1940's along with W.S. Stuckey, Sr., of the Stuckey's chain of restaurants and gift shops, which were located along the side of interstate highways throughout the U.S. and were famous for their "pecan log rolls", died Dec. 18 in Eastman, GA at age 93.
Aram Kevorkian - American lawyer in Paris who published the witty and opinionated "The Kevorkian Newsletter", often critical of the French justice system, who was considered by many of his readers to be a sort of modern-day Montesquieu, died Dec. 20 in Neuilly, France of a heart attack at age 74.
Myron "Mike" Muckerheide - Pioneer in laser technology, in both the medical and defense fields, who worked for the NASA space program and was responsible for both SEM and GAS payload experiments, who has exhibits in the Smithsonian Institution and Mitchell Field Museum, as well as holding seven U.S. patents, and who co-developed a device known as "The UFO Attractor" that uses strobe lights, colored lights, laser range finder, spectrometer, and other various equipment to attempt to attract and record a UFO on film, died Dec. 22 in Port Washington, WI of cancer at age 73.
Robert Ross - Advertising executive who while at the Leo Burnett Company of Chicago, thought up the concept of Poppin' Fresh aka the Pillsbury Doughboy, and who after retirement became a spy novelist penning such books as "The Medici Guns" and "The French Finnish", died Dec. 23 in Hendersonville, NC at age 85.
Henry Saglio - Poultry breeder known as the 'father of the modern poultry industry', who founded Arbor Acres where in the 1940's he used genetic engineering to breed chickens that were meatier, matured faster and laid more eggs, setting off a poultry boom that sharply increased the meat's popularity and made it one of the least expensive meats, and who in 1977 was inducted into the Poultry Hall of Fame (on the first ballot one would hope), died Dec. 13 in Glastonbury, CT of cardiac arrest at age 92.
George "Boom Boom" Zambelli - Patriarch of the family-run Zambelli Fireworks Internationale corporation, who took the small pyrotechnical company founded by his father in Italy, and made it into the world's most prominent fireworks company, averaging 3,500 fireworks shows per year and responsible for the fireworks displays at every U.S. presidential inauguration since John F. Kennedy, died Dec. 25 in New Castle, PA of cancer complications at age 79.