Art and LiteratureE. R. Braithwaite
(104) Guyanese author, educator, and diplomat whose years teaching in the slums of London's East End inspired the international best-seller To Sir, with Love
(1959) and the popular Sidney Poitier 1967 movie of the same title. Schooled in Guyana, the US, and Britain, Braithwaite wrote several fiction and nonfiction books, often focusing on racism and class and the contrast between first world and colonial cultures. He was regarded as an early and overlooked chronicler of Britain from a nonwhite's perspective. Braithwaite also served in the ‘60s as the newly independent Guyana's first representative at the United Nations and later was ambassador to Venezuela. He died in Rockville, Maryland on December 12, 2016.Shirley Hazzard
(85) award-winning novelist who wrote of love affairs disrupted and intensified by age, distance, and war. Australian-born Hazzard had lived in New York for decades but also had spent time in Hong Kong, Britain, New Zealand, and Italy, an international perspective shared by her characters. She composed on a yellow legal pad and had no interest in computers or even an answering machine. Her novels, too, had a vintage wealth of detail and introspection that led to comparisons to Henry James and some criticism that the sophistication of her prose interfered with the enjoyment of the story. The Transit of Venus,
published in 1980, won the National Book Critics Circle prize. Hazzard also was a three-time National Book Award finalist and won in 2003 for The Great Fire.
She died in New York City on December 12, 2016.
Business and ScienceEdwin Goldwasser
(97) cofounder of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and one of the world's most prominent physicists who spent decades at the University of Illinois and whose research helped to explain nuclear force. Goldwasser started at the university in 1951, realizing eventually that Midwestern universities could graduate more physicists if there were a high-flight research facility in the region. He died in Champaign, Illinois on December 14, 2016.Louis Harris
(95) best-known 20th-century US pollster who refined interpretive polling methods and took the pulse of voters and consumers through 40 years of elections, wars, racial troubles, and cultural revolutions that ran from tailfins to the Internet. From the ‘50s, when he founded Louis Harris & Associates, until he retired in the early ‘90s, Harris with remarkable accuracy forecast the elections of presidents, governors, members of Congress, and scores of other public officials. He used polls to sharpen their images, change their speech patterns, and focus their attention on issues of interest to voters. He told companies how to market products and services and conducted polls for industry groups, religious organizations, colleges, unions, banks, and government agencies. He also documented trends in American life, from the women’s movement and the ups and downs of the economy to evolving attitudes about marriage, religion, the arts, and countless other matters. Harris preferred to be called a public-opinion analyst rather than a pollster, a word he believed trivialized what he did. He died in Key West, Florida on December 17, 2016.Dr. Henry Heimlich
(96) surgeon who created the lifesaving Heimlich maneuver for choking victims. Heimlich was director of surgery at Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati in 1974 when he devised the treatment for choking victims that made his name a household word. Rescuers using the procedure abruptly squeeze a victim's abdomen, pushing in and above the navel with the fist to create a flow of air from the lungs. That flow of air then can push objects out of the windpipe and prevent suffocation. Heimlich died in Cincinnati, Ohio after suffering a heart attack earlier in the week, on December 17, 2016.Bob Krasnow
(82) music executive credited with revitalizing Elektra Records in the ‘80s and ’90s with a varied roster that included Metallica, Anita Baker, and Björk. In a career that began in the late ‘50s, Krasnow worked with a wide array of talent, including James Brown, Captain Beefheart, and George Benson. He developed a reputation as an all-around record man with a keen eye for future stars and an instinctive marketing sense. He died of organ failure in Wellington, Florida on December 11, 2016.Dr. Halfdan T. Mahler
(93) Danish physician who headed the World Health Organization Tuberculosis Unit in Geneva, Switzerland and was its director-general from 1973–88. Mahler began his career with the WHO with the National Tuberculosis Program in India. He later took over the Tuberculosis Unit in Geneva and eventually became deputy director-general. He died in Copenhagen, Denmark on December 14, 2016.Constantin Stroe
(74) leading figure of Romania's automobile manufacturing industry. Stroe began working for Automobile Dacia in 1968 and was the company's general manager from ‘90–2002. Renault SA bought Dacia in 1999, and in 2015 the plant sold 550,000 automobiles. Stroe was also chairman of Romania's Association of Automobile Manufacturers and on the board of the European Automobile Manufacturers' Association. He suffered a stroke in November and died in Bucharest, Romania on December 17, 2016.Dr. Esther M. Wilkins
(100) dentist and author of an influential textbook for dental hygienists that is used worldwide. Until Wilkins laid out a modern curriculum for dental hygienists in 1959, in the first edition of Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist,
there was no uniformity in what was taught. The book is now in its 12th edition. Wilkins died three days after suffering a stroke on the morning of her 100th birthday, in Hudson, New Hampshire on December 12, 2016.
(95) economist who won a Nobel Prize for using game theory to explain nuclear strategy. Schelling was a longtime Harvard University professor who finished his career at the University of Maryland. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 2005, along with Robert Aumann. Schelling died in Bethesda, Maryland on December 13, 2016.
(78) former Arkansas legislator and state Supreme Court justice who wrote rulings striking down a ban on gay foster parents and a law requiring voters to show photo identification. Corbin was first elected to the state Supreme Court in 1990 and served three eight-year terms before retiring at the end of 2014. He had previously served in the state House as a Democrat and on the state appeals court. He participated in some of the high court's most high-profile cases during his tenure, and colleagues remembered him as someone who didn't worry about the political fallout from the stances he and other justices took. He died in Little Rock, Arkansas after battling lung cancer, on December 12, 2016.
News and EntertainmentDavid Berry
(73) playwright and screenwriter best known for the play and film The Whales of August,
about two elderly sisters summering off the coast of Maine. The play was inspired by Berry’s childhood memories of aunts who had a cottage there. Berry wrote the screenplay for the 1987 movie version, directed by Lindsay Anderson and starring Bette Davis, Lillian Gish, Vincent Price, and Ann Sothern. It was Gish's last film. David Berry died of a heart attack in Brooklyn, New York on December 16, 2016.Bob Coburn
(68) Los Angeles radio personality and host of the nationally syndicated show Rockline.
Coburn’s radio home since 1980 was LA station KLOS 95.5. He was well known to rock stars and music fans as host of the weekly Rockline
show, which ran from 1981–2014. He interviewed such superstars as Keith Richards, Robert Plant, and Paul McCartney on the program, where listeners could call in with questions. Coburn was diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year and died in Los Angeles, California on December 17, 2016.Betty Flood
(83) owner of an independent news service who was one of the first female correspondents to cover New York's statehouse. Flood worked out of a small office amid larger media outlets on the state Capitol's third floor. She owned and ran the Cuyler News Service, which provides statehouse stories for financial and trade publications. She bought the business in 1961, a few years after she began covering state government during Gov. Averell Harriman's administration. Flood cofounded the Women's Press Club of New York in 1966. She died at an Albany hospital, where she had undergone surgery after being injured in a fall at her home in Loudonville, New York, on December 14, 2016.Bernard Fox
(89) Welsh-born actor known to US TV viewers as Dr. Bombay on Bewitched
and Col. Crittendon on Hogan's Heroes.
Fox's wide-ranging film and TV credits included The Mummy, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, The Dyke Van Dyke Show, McHale's Navy,
He appeared in both Titanic
(1997), playing Col. Archibald Gracie, and in a 1958 movie about the ship tragedy, A Night to Remember,
in which he had an uncredited role as a sailor who delivers the line, “Iceberg's dead ahead, sir!” Fox died of heart failure in Los Angeles, California on December 14, 2016.Karel Husa
(95) Czech-born American composer who won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1969 and the Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition in ‘93. Husa taught composition and conducting at Cornell University for 38 years. He created works in most of the standard concert-music forms apart from opera, including two symphonies, several concertos, four string quartets, and three ballets. Among his works for concert band are two compositions that have become staples, “Music for Prague 1968” (1969) and “Apotheosis of This Earth” (1970). Those pieces illustrate Husa’s style: a mix of rigor, dramatic vitality, and avant-garde techniques. He died in Apex, North Carolina on December 14, 2016.Fran Jeffries
(79) singer and dancer who performed a show-stopping samba in the 1963 film The Pink Panther
and tantalized Tony Curtis with a seductive performance of the title song in Sex & the Single Girl
a year later. Jeffries was well known on the cabaret and Las Vegas circuit as singing partner of Dick Haymes, her husband, when director Blake Edwards added a scene in The Pink Panther
to showcase her talents. In the late ‘60s and early ’70s she toured Europe with Sammy Davis Jr. and Southeast Asia with Bob Hope. Jeffries performed for decades in supper clubs and cabarets and in 2000 recorded a set of ballads and standards, All the Love.
She died of multiple myeloma in Los Angeles, California on December 15, 2016.Joe Ligon
(80) singer, frontman of the Grammy-winning gospel group Mighty Clouds of Joy. Ligon started the gospel quartet in Los Angeles in the ‘50s. They were influenced by rhythm and blues groups like The Temptations, and Rev. Julius Cheeks, an LA singer known for his baritone voice and onstage antics. The original members of the group included Johnny Martin, Elmo and Ermant Franklin, Leon Polk, and Richard Wallace. They won back-to-back Grammy Awards in 1978–79 for best soul gospel performance, traditional, and again in ‘91 for best traditional soul gospel album. Ligon died in Georgia on December 11, 2016.Jim Lowe
(93) disk jockey who played standards for more than 50 years, most notably at WNEW-AM in New York, and in 1956 had a No. 1 record of his own, “The Green Door.” Lowe brought the American songbook to generations of listeners on radio stations including WCBS, WNBC, and, for more than 20 years, WNEW. Nicknamed Mr. Broadway for his encyclopedic knowledge of 20th-century American music and musical-theater trivia, he was heard on the NBC radio program Monitor
and hosted Jim Lowe’s New York
on WNEW for many years. Lowe died in East Hampton, New York on December 12, 2016.Esma Redzepova
(73) one of the most powerful voices in the world of Gypsy music. Called the Queen of Gypsy music, Redzepova in 2010 was ranked among the 50 greatest voices in the world by National Public Radio. She started singing in the early ‘50s and was active almost to the end. She was the leading voice of her husband Stevo Teodosievski's ensemble, which performed Roma and Macedonian folk music. The couple had fostered 47 children. In 2013 Redzepova represented Macedonia at the Eurovision song contest. She was also known as an advocate for Roma women's rights. She died in Skopje, Macedonia's capital, on December 11, 2016.Alan Thicke
(69) Canadian-born TV host, writer, composer, and actor whose ‘80s TV dad credentials were earned on Growing Pains.
Thicke’s Dr. Jason Seaver was an open-hearted parent and an enlightened husband, working from home to help tend the kids while his wife revived her career. But Thicke's character anchored a sitcom that was also ‘50s-retro, part of TV’s renewed embrace of the traditional nuclear family after a string of single-parent shows. Growing Pains
debuted in 1985, one year after The Cosby Show
showed the old formula could be made new. While Bill Cosby's NBC series touched on social issues, ABC's Growing Pains
was comfort food about a suburban family with a genial, father-knows-best patriarch, cheerful mom (Joanna Kerns), and a brood that included breakout heartthrob Kirk Cameron as teenager Mike and, in the show's final 1991–92 season, Leonardo DiCaprio. Thicke's eldest son is singer Robin Thicke. Alan Thicke died of a ruptured aorta while playing hockey with his youngest son, Carter, in Burbank, California on December 13, 2016. An aortic tear also killed actor John Ritter in 2003.
Politics and MilitaryBenjamin Gilman
(94) former US congressman (R-NY) who chaired the House Committee on International Relations in the ‘90s. Gilman was first elected to Congress in 1972 and served until 2003. He represented a district in the Hudson Valley north of New York City and was known for his work on issues including human rights, fighting hunger, and support for Israel. He was a decorated World War II veteran who served in the US Army Air Corps and flew 35 missions over Japan. Before being elected to Congress, he served in the New York state Assembly from 1967–72. He died in Wappingers Falls, New York on December 17, 2016.Bill Usery
(92) negotiator who helped to avert or settle strikes by railway and postal workers, coal miners and football players as a federal mediator and as secretary of labor under President Gerald R. Ford. A former welder and union official, Usery was a Democrat who served under two Republican presidents, Ford and Richard M. Nixon. As an assistant labor secretary under Nixon, he was instrumental in the government’s decision in 1969 to grant organizing and collective bargaining rights to millions of federal employees. He died of heart failure in Eatonton, Georgia on December 17, 2016.Herb Weatherwax
(99) US Army veteran who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the US into World War II and later volunteered at the historic site. Weatherwax greeted people several times a week at the visitors’ center of the memorial for the USS Arizona,
a battleship that sank in the Japanese attack. He cruised around on a motorized scooter and wore a cap embroidered with “Pearl Harbor Survivor” as he posed for photos and educated visitors. A native Hawaiian, Weatherwax died in Honolulu, Hawaii on December 12, 2016.
Society and ReligionSadiq Jalal al-Azm
(82) Syrian philosopher and intellectual. Al-Azm, who lectured at several universities around the world and held a doctorate from Yale in modern European philosophy, left Syria a year before the country's crisis began in March 2011. His most famous book was The Critique of Religious Thought,
which led to his being sued for denigrating Islam. He was also a critic of the government. Al-Azm died of brain cancer in Germany two months after his health sharply deteriorated, on December 11, 2016.Paulo Evaristo, Cardinal Arns
(95) one of the Roman Catholic Church's most prominent prodemocracy voices in Latin America. Arns was archbishop of São Paulo between 1970–98 and became famous for challenging leaders of the brutal military dictatorship of the ‘70s. The cardinal often talked about democratic values during Mass, protected prodemocracy activists in his churches, and led a national antitorture initiative. He also threatened to excommunicate police investigators who refused to provide information on political prisoners. He died in São Paulo, Brazil after a long struggle with lung and kidney problems, on December 14, 2016.Bishop Javier Echevarria
(84) last of the original generation of clerics to lead Opus Dei, the global Roman Catholic organization. Echevarría had been the prelate of Opus Dei (Latin for “Work of God”) since 1994. A mostly lay organization of faithful Catholics, it was founded on the premise that all people are called to holiness and should aspire to sainthood, and that ordinary life and daily work are paths to sanctity and service to society. But it has been criticized in recent years for its independence from the church hierarchy and its historic association with extreme right-wing causes. Echevarria died of a lung infection in Rome, Italy on December 12, 2016.Rev. Michael Manning
(75) priest who for decades brought Catholic teachings into people's homes via a southern California TV ministry. In 1978 Manning founded Wordnet Productions, a nonprofit media company that produced more than 1,000 TV programs from its San Bernardino studio. Several of his shows, including The Word in the World,
were syndicated nationally by the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Manning was a guest on Larry King Live
and The Montel Williams Show
and appeared with Robert DeNiro in the 1991 film Guilty by Suspicion.
He died of cancer in San Bernardino, California on December 14, 2016.Marion Pritchard
(96) woman credited with saving dozens of Jews in the Netherlands during the Holocaust. Marion Philippina van Binsbergen was a 19-year-old social work student when Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1940. With about 10 friends, she helped to obtain false identity documents and hiding places to help Jews evade arrest. She was said to have aided as many as 150 people, including many children. After the war she became a United Nations social worker in displaced-persons camps and met her future husband, Anton Pritchard, a former US Army officer. In 1981 the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel recognized Marion Pritchard as “righteous among the nations,” a title for gentiles who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. She died in Washington, DC of cerebral arteriosclerosis on December 11, 2016.Gina Quattrochi
(63) lawyer who turned Bailey House into the nation’s largest provider of housing to people with AIDS and a model for similar organizations around the US. Quattrochi became involved in the AIDS crisis in the mid-‘80s while serving as associate general counsel for the New York State Nurses Association, a union with 30,000 members at the time. In 1986 she became a board member of the AIDS Resource Center, founded in ‘83 to provide housing and other support for homeless people with AIDS. She led the negotiations with the city to acquire the former hotel on Christopher Street in the West Village that became Bailey House (later renamed Bailey-Holt House), the first group residence for people with AIDS. In 1988 she left the nurses’ association to become the AIDS Resource Center’s chief executive, a position she held for the next 25 years. Quattrochi died of multiple myeloma in New York City on December 13, 2016.Susan Wolfe-Devol
(61) first woman to become a Lutheran pastor in Orange County (Calif.) and an advocate for inclusion and social justice in the church and its ministry. For years Wolfe-Devol was among those in the Lutheran church who reached out to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and helped to clear the way for the 2009 vote by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America that permitted gay and lesbian clergy to openly marry and continue to serve in the church. She died in Ventura, California on December 16, 2016.
SportsJames ('Jimbo') Elrod
(62) all-American defensive end on Oklahoma’s 1974–75 national championship teams. Known as Jimbo, Elrod played three years in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs as a middle linebacker. He also spent one season with the Houston Oilers. Under coach Barry Switzer, Oklahoma’s 1974 team went undefeated with a record of 11-0; the 1975 squad went 11-1, defeating Michigan in the Orange Bowl. Elrod was also a member of Oklahoma’s 1974 national champion wrestling team. He was killed when his car struck a guardrail at about 3:45 a.m. on Interstate 44 near Chandler, Okla. He was thrown through the sunroof. His wife Diana was hospitalized in serious condition. James Elrod was not wearing a seatbelt, but his wife was, on December 12, 2016.Garrett Gomez
(44) jockey who won nearly 4,000 races in a 25-year career and was among the greatest jockeys of the first 10 years of the 21st century. In 2007 Gomez won a record 76 stakes races and earned his first Eclipse Award, the jockey equivalent of being named a league Most Valuable Player. He won it again in 2008. Gomez won 13 Breeders' Cup races, most memorably the 2010 Breeders' Cup Classic, when he rode Blame and gave legendary mare Zenyatta her only career loss. He struggled with substance abuse several times during his career and had said he was having alcohol and personal problems when he rode his last race in 2013. He was found unconscious on the floor of a hotel room in Tucson, Arizona and pronounced dead at the scene, on December 14, 2016. Foul play was not suspected.Konrad Reuland
(29) former tight end with the Baltimore Ravens. Besides the Ravens, Reuland spent time with the San Francisco 49ers, the Indianapolis Colts, and the New York Jets. He played in 30 games over three seasons, catching 12 passes for 90 yards. He signed with San Francisco as an undrafted free agent out of Stanford in 2011. He was claimed off waivers by the Jets in 2012 and had 12 catches for 90 yards in two seasons while being used as a blocking tight end. Reuland’s 2013 season was cut short when he was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury after playing in 10 games. He died of a brain aneurysm in Foxborough, Massachusetts on December 12, 2016.Craig Sager
(65) sideline reporter for National Basketball Association TV broadcasts who was as well known for his outlandishly garish outfits as for the questions he asked coaches and players. Sager had worked basketball games for TNT for nearly 25 years. He sported suits in every color of the rainbow and plenty of shades not found in nature, from teal to fuchsia to magenta. He would match plaid blazers with paisley ties or striped shirts—all in bold hues. He announced in April 2014 that he had been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, and he missed the playoffs and much of the next season as he underwent bone marrow transplants. He died of leukemia in Atlanta, Georgia on December 15, 2016.Steve Sexton
(57) former Churchill Downs track president who guided the home of the Kentucky Derby through its most ambitious renovation project. Sexton was the 12th president in the track's history, overseeing operations at the country's most famous horse track from 2002–09. He guided Churchill Downs through a more than $120 million project that renovated the venerable track's clubhouse and grandstand. The multiyear construction was completed just before the 2005 Derby. The track has undergone a series of upgrades since then. Sexton died in Texas on December 12, 2016.Previous Week
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