Alexander Beresch - Ukraine's leading gymnast, who was the European men's champion in 2002 and bronze medal winner at the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney, was killed in a car accident on Feb. 29 near Kiev, Ukraine while returning from the Ukraine national gymnastics competition. He was 26 years old. The accident left teammate and Olympian Serhiy Vyaltsev on life support.
Jacques Georges - Head of the European and French football (soccer) association (UEFA) from 1984 to 1990, who lead the efforts to ban English clubs from European competitions after the 1985 Heysel tragedy, when 39 fans died at a Juventus Turin-Liverpool Champions' Cup final, and who later served as vice president of FIFA, the international football governing body, died Feb. 25 at his home in Saint-Maurice-sur-Moselle, France at the age of 87.
Fitzroy Guisseppi - Trinidadian boxer and one of the Caribbean's leading boxers during the 1960's and 70's, who was the lightweight champion of Trinidad and junior welterweight champion of Belize, who fought for the World Boxing Council's junior welterweight title in 1979, but lost a split decision to Sang Hyun Kim of South Korea, and who in recent years worked as a coach in Jamaica and Haiti, collapsed and died of a heart attack on Feb. 28 while cheering on one of his boxers from ringside in Kingston, Jamaica. He was 55 years old.
Josh Malay - Up-and-coming world-class snowboarder, who during the fall of 2003 was featured on the cover of Snowboarder magazine doing a backside boardslide down a fire escape in the abandoned mining town of Gilman, who had traveled to Spain as part of a group sponsored by Transworld Snowboarding Magazine for an upcoming story, died on Feb. 28 at a hospital in Barcelona, Spain from head injuries suffered in a snowboarding accident on Feb. 27. He was 23 years old.
Richard O'Connell - Three time horse trainer of the year who trained the 1992 Travers Stakes winner Thunder Rumble, a million dollar winner with 8 wins in 19 career starts, who also trained Capades, a six-time graded stakes winner, died Feb. 29 in New York of lupus at age 54.
Danny Ortiz - Goalkeeper for the Guatemalan international football (soccer) team, who had played professionally since 1998, was killed on Feb. 29 after colliding with an opponent during a Guatemalan league soccer match. He was 27 years old.
John Russell - Noted horse trainer of several top thoroughbreds including three-time Eclipse Award winner Susan's Girl who dominated the filly division in the early 1970's, who trained 55 stakes winners in a career that began in the mid-1960s and served legendary owners such as Fred Hooper and Ogden Mills Phipps, and who wrote numerous freelance articles for such racing magazines as Blood-Horse Magazine and Backstretch Magazine, died Feb. 25 of cancer at his Del Mar, California home at the age of 67.
Marge Schott - Tough-talking, chain-smoking owner of the Cincinnati Reds, whose outspokenness as owner became her legacy and her downfall, who was repeatedly suspended for making offensive remarks, including disparaging remarks about ethnic groups and other comments in praise of Hitler, who while controversial, was a shrewd baseball executive who became involved in nearly every aspect of the Reds' operations, bringing Cincinnati a World Series championship in 1990, but who was finally forced out by a coalition of other baseball owners in 1999, died March 2 of lung problems at a Cincinnati hospital at the age of 75.
Roy Smith - Four time NASCAR Winston Series champion who competed in the Daytona 500 three times, finishing 10th in 1982, who was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2002, died Feb. 26 when the commercial fishing trawler on which he was a crew member, sank off northern Vancouver Island. He was 59 years old.
Art and Literature
Daniel Boorstin - Pulitzer Prize-winning author and social historian, who wrote about history in a down-to-earth style which focused on the lives of people, their daily concerns, the implements they used and the way they solved everyday problems, who was best known for a pair of trilogies including "The Americans", the third volume of which won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for history, and who served as the librarian of Congress from 1975 to 1987, died Feb. 28 of pneumonia at a hospital in Washington, DC at the age of 89.
Sandra Burton - Veteran journalist for Time magazine and one of the first women to become a correspondent for the weekly, who was the southeast Asia bureau chief who had just interviewed Philippine opposition leader Benigno Aquino moments before he was assassinated in 1983, and who later wrote the book "Impossible Dream: The Marcoses, the Aquinos, and the Unfinished Revolution" about her experiences, died Feb. 27 while vacationing in Denpassar, Bali after an apparent accidental fall. She was 62 years old.
Fernando Lazaro Carreter - Linguist, journalist and literary critic who worked to improve the way the Spanish language is spoken and written, who served as president of the prestigious Royal Spanish Academy, and who penned the hugely popular 1997 book "El Dardo en la Palabra" (The Dart in the Word), a collection of articles he wrote on linguistic gaffes in the media, died March 4 of respiratory problems at a hospital in Madrid, Spain at the age of 80.
Carmen Laforet - Catalan author best known for her best-selling novel "Nada" which was awarded the Nadal Prize in 1944, who wrote numerous other notable works such as the trilogy titled "Tres pasos fuera del tiempo", died Feb. 28 in Madrid, Spain of Alzheimer's disease at the age of 82.
Toni Onley - Highly-regarded and prolific Canadian watercolorist known for his moody, expressionist landscapes of the West Coast of Canada, whose works are on display at major art galleries throughout Canada, and who in 1999 received the Order of Canada for his body of work, was killed when the floatplane he was piloting crashed into the Fraser River near Vancouver on Feb. 29. He was 75 years old.
Grover Sales - Oft-quoted jazz historian and author who wrote about jazz for many publications, who is best known for his book "Jazz: America's Classical Music" where he claimed that jazz is to the U.S. what classical music is to Europe, died Feb. 14 of kidney failure at a hospital in Tiburon, California at the age of 84.
Amy Spindler - Style editor of the New York Times Magazine since 1998, and former fashion critic for the newspaper from 1993 to 98, died Feb. 27 of a brain tumor at her home in New York City at the age of 40.
Paul M. Sweezy - Economist and leading Marxist intellectual during the cold war and the McCarthy era, who was co-founder and co-editor of The Monthly Review, an independent Marxist journal that he continued to edit and contribute to until well into the 1990's, who authored or edited more than 20 books including "Monopoly Capital: An Essay on the American Economic and Social Order" where he argued that unregulated market economies have a tendency to stagnate and to develop oligopolies in which a few companies dominate each industry and keep pushing up prices, died Feb. 28 at his home in Larchmont, New York of congestive heart failure at age 93.
Paul Webster - British journalist and author who covered France for The Guardian newspaper for over 30 years, who used that opportunity to write biographies about leading French figures like Marshall Philippe Petain, Antoine de Saint-Exupery and President Francois Mitterrand, died Feb. 27 of a heart attack at his home in Paris at the age of 65.
Linda K. West - Romance novelist under her own name and under the pen name Dixie Kane, who wrote 10 novels, including "Dreaming of You", "Chasing Lily" and "Making Merry", and who was a finalist for the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award and the National Readers Choice Award, died March 1 of cancer at a hospital in Covington, Louisiana at the age of 66.
Politics and Military
Commodore Leroy Alexanderson - Fleet commodore for the United States Lines, who was best known as the last master of the S.S. United States, the famed Atlantic liner that in 1952 set the record for fastest crossing of that ocean: 3 days, 10 hours and 42 minutes, and which was outfitted as a naval auxiliary that could be converted into a military transport in times of war, died Feb. 28 at a hospital in Hampton, Virginia at the age of 93.
Waggoner Carr - Longtime figure in Texas government who served as a state representative from 1951 to 1961 and state attorney general from 1963 to 1967, who later ran unsuccessful campaigns for Texas governor and U.S. Senate, but who may be best remembered for having breakfast with President John F. Kennedy the day Mr. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, and his subsequent testimony before the Warren Commission, died Feb. 25 of cancer in Austin, Texas at the age of 85.
Sir Harold St. John - Prime minister of Barbados in 1985 and 86, who took office upon the death of his predecessor, Tom Adams, but lost a year later in general elections, who had held elective office of some capacity in the island nation from 1964 to 2002, died Feb. 29 of cancer at a hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados at the age of 72.
Social and Religion
Marcus Cotton - Career criminal convicted in the 1996 shooting death of prosecutor Gil Epstein during a robbery in the parking lot of a Houston community center, who initially didn't intend to kill his victim but decided to after he looked into the his wallet and found a badge identifying him as an assistant district attorney, was executed by lethal injection on March 3 at the state prison in Huntsville, Texas at the age of 29.
Fitsum Gebreegziabher - Canadian man whose car had a flat tire on a Virginia freeway on Feb. 28, and who had pulled into a travel lane to change the tire, was killed when his car was struck from behind by vehicle driven by Josuel Galdino, which dragged him 8 miles to Galdino's home as Galdino fled the scene of the accident (apparently unaware someone was trapped beneath his vehicle). Mr. Gebreegziabher was 27 years old. Galdino has been charged with manslaughter, driving while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run.
Gerald W. Getty - Public defender who was assigned to represent mass murderer Richard Speck during his 1966 trial for killing eight student nurses (Speck was sentenced life in prison and died of a heart attack in 1991 at age 49), and who authored a 1974 book "Public Defender" that chronicled his nearly 30 years of work, died Feb. 29 of heart failure in Pompano Beach, Florida at the age of 92.
Michael, Rebecca and James Hargon - Mississippi family that vanished on Feb. 14 from their Yazoo City home, prompting a two week search, were found buried in a wooded area on March 1 about 100 miles away from their house. The victims were Michael Hargon, 27, his wife Rebecca, 29, and son James Patrick, 4. Hargon's cousin, Earnest Lee Hargon, 43, has been arrested in the slayings. He was apparently upset after not being included in his father's will which left some property to Michael Hargon.
Tony Lambrianou - Notorious henchman for the Kray Twins, a feared gang that ruled London's underworld in the 1960's, who spent 15 years in prison for his part in the 1969 murder of Jack 'The Hat' McVitie, and who later became a celebrity with books and TV appearances, died Feb. 28 at the age of 62.
Laura Schmidt Pizzarello - Thanatologist and medical writer who specialized in end-of-life issues, who herself was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in the summer of 2003, and whose appearance on ABC's "Nightline" TV show in December 2003 with the story of how she was dealing with her own terminal illness was one of the "Nightline"'s highest rated shows, succumbed to the disease on Feb. 25 at her home in Germantown, Pennsylvania at the age of 51.
Peggy Scott - Wichita, Kansas woman and sales manager for KRZZ and KKRD radio stations, who on Feb. 25 with co-workers attended a morning screening of the controversial Mel Gibson film "The Passion Of The Christ", collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack during the film's bloody crucifixion scene, in an incident that made headlines around the world. She was 57 years old.
Business and Science
M. Lamont Bean - Founder of the Pay'n Save drugstore chain in 11 western U.S. states, which at its peak in the early 1980's had 20,000 employees and 350 stores, who became a founding owner of the Seattle Seahawks franchise when they entered the NFL in 1976, died Feb. 25 in Bellevue, Washington at the age of 79.
Fred Benninger - Business executive best known for building casino hotels such as the Las Vegas Hilton and the MGM Grand (now Bally's), one of the largest hotels in the world, and who served as chairman of MGM Studios, International Leisure and Western Airlines, died Feb. 29 at his Las Vegas home after a brief illness at age 86.
Meyer Blinder - Larger-than-life Denver business executive who founded the penny-stock investment firm Blinder, Robinson & Co. (aka Blind'em and Rob'em), who amassed a fortune of more than $100 million with the firm where investors would invest small amounts in many different companies in hopes that one would soar, but who was sentenced to 46 months in prison for racketeering and securities fraud in 1992 and left prison a pauper, died Feb. 26 in Scottsdale, Arizona of Alzheimer's disease at age 82.
William A. Conway - Co-founder, with his brother James Conway, of the Mister Softee ice cream company, which has sold soft ice cream from blue and white trucks since 1956 and at its height in the 1960s operated 2,000 trucks in 38 states, Puerto Rico, Canada and England, died Feb. 25 of cancer in Atlantis, Florida at the age of 81.
Lady Fiennes (Virginia Fiennes) - Wife of the noted British explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes who in 1972 gave her husband the idea of circumnavigating the earth vertically (from pole to pole) and accompanied him on the 35,000 mile trip in 1979 when they became the first to reach both poles by surface routes, and who in 1987 became the first woman to be awarded the Polar Medal, died Feb. 20 in Exeter, England of unspecified causes at age 56.
Howard Klehm - Inventor who specialized in products that could be delivered by aerosol or pump spray, who in 1949 invented the waterproof coating for fabrics and shoes known as Scotchgard, whose breakthroughs led to such products as aerosol rustproofing, deodorants and shaving cream, died Feb. 21 at his South Barrington home of congestive heart failure at the age of 79.
Dr. Walter Riker - Pharmacologist and an expert on the effects of drugs on the muscular and neuromuscular systems, who in 1973 became the first drug adviser to the National Football League, who set up many of the practices still in effect today to prevent widespread use of illegal prescription drugs, amphetamines and other stimulants, and who influenced the NFL's ban and random testing of steroids in 1990, died Feb. 20 in a New York hospital at the age of 87.
Dr. Labe Scheinberg - Neurologist, author and educator who was an early advocate of bringing neurologists, psychologists, physical therapists and other medical staff members together to address the problems of patients with multiple sclerosis, who helped found the Albert Einstein College of Medicine's multiple sclerosis center, which became a prototype for similar centers across the nation, died Feb. 22 of congestive heart failure at a New York City hospital at age 78.
Roger Stangeland - Chairman and CEO of the Vons supermarket chain, who led a leveraged buyout to acquire the chain from its parent company, which at the time was one of the largest deals in the grocery business and helped Vons to become the largest chain in Southern California, and who later led the acquisitions of other grocery chains including Pavillion and Safeway stores, died Feb. 27 of heart failure at a hospital in Arcadia, California at the age of 74.