Sheila Ballantyne (70) critically praised novelist whose work ranged over death, deception, and family life. Ballantyne was known in particular for her second novel, Imaginary Crimes (1982), a semi-autobiographical account of a young woman raised by a father who is a confidence man. It was made into a 1994 movie starring Harvey Keitel. Ballantyne died of multisystem atrophy, a degenerative neurological disease, in Berkeley, California on May 2, 2007.
James Abegglen (81) management consultant and author who helped US companies to break into the Japanese market and warned in the '60s and '70s that corporate America should take Japanese industry more seriously. Abegglen died in Tokyo, Japan on May 2, 2007.
Dr. Ronald P. Bangasser (57) former president of the California Medical Association, a wound-care specialist who founded a nationally recognized wound-care center at Redlands Community Hospital. Bangasser died of cancer in Redlands, California on May 2, 2007.
Edward F. Boyd (92) one of the first black managers in corporate America. In September 1947, Pepsi-Cola President Walter S. Mack hired Boyd from the National Urban League to lead an all-black sales force selling Pepsi to the black community nationwide. Boyd helped to integrate the professional ranks of a large American corporation while changing the image of blacks in advertising from caricatures to attractive, everyday, middle-class Americans. He died of complications from a stroke suffered in March, in Los Angeles, California on April 30, 2007.
Leonard D. Eron (87) psychologist whose pioneering studies of youth violence led him to conclude that TV had a significant role in prompting destructive behavior in later life. Eron died of congestive heart failure in Lindenhurst, Illinois, near Chicago, on May 3, 2007.
Annie Gardner (63) first person to receive a heart transplant in an Indiana hospital. The Crawfordsville woman received two heart transplants—one in 1982 and another in ’97—at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Both were performed by Dr. Harold Halbrook (d. 2004). Gardner had been hospitalized all but four days since December 23, 2006. She died in Indianapolis, Indiana on May 5, 2007.
Dr. Albert Henn (70) former Harvard School of Public Health instructor and official of the US Agency for International Development who dedicated his life to Africa, most recently leading an AIDS treatment and testing center on a continent where the disease has ravaged the population. Henn had led Liverpool VCT, a nongovernmental organization dedicated to HIV prevention, care, and treatment, since 2005. He was the only American passenger on board when Kenya Airways Flight 507 crashed into a mangrove swamp in Cameroon, killing all 114 people on board, on May 5, 2007.
Russell W. Kruse (85) founder of Kruse International whose company had grown into one of the world’s leading collector car auction firms. In 1952, Kruse established an Auburn, Indiana real estate and auction business. Over the past 55 years, it had grown into a premier collector car auction company, selling more than 13,000 cars each year at events that drew crowds eager to see and bid on classic cars and everyday vehicles owned by celebrities. Kruse died of a massive stroke in Fort Wayne, Indiana on May 4, 2007.
Stanley McDonald Jr. (62) father of Broadway star Audra McDonald, a four-time Tony winner currently appearing on Broadway in a revival of 110 in the Shade, a musical version of N. Richard Nash’s original teleplay The Rainmaker. Stanley McDonald retired in 2005 as assistant superintendent of human resources for the Fresno (Calif.) Unified School District, where he worked for 33 years. He was killed when an experimental aircraft he was flying crashed north of Sacramento, California on April 29, 2007.
Vickie Dunagan (68) adopted daughter of the late Hollywood character actor Clem Bevans and his wife, Earl Carroll’s Vanities dancer Loupee Lupen. Dunagan died of sepsis and pneumonia in Medford, Oregon on April 29, 2007.
Octavio Frias de Oliveira (94) publisher of Brazil’s biggest newspaper and Web site who helped to modernize the country’s media. Frias de Oliveira led an opening of the media during Brazil’s military dictatorship, allowing critical opinions of the regime to appear in his flagship Folha de S. Paulo newspaper. He died of kidney failure in São Paulo, Brazil on April 29, 2007.
Gregory Lemarchal (23) French singer and winner of Star Academy Season 4, broadcast on the TF1 TV network, whose recent debut album Je deviens moi won the most prestigious music award in France, selling more than a million copies, with his hit single “Ecris l’histoire’’ peaked at No. 2 on the French singles chart. Lemarchal died of cystic fibrosis in Paris, France on April 30, 2007.
Anthony Mitchell (39) dogged Associated Press correspondent from Britain with a passion for Africa and for uncovering challenging stories. Mitchell made global headlines in April 2007 with his in-depth investigation into the illegal detention and transfer of terror suspects from Kenya to Somalia and eventually into Ethiopian prisons. He was among 114 people killed in a plane crash in Cameroon on May 5, 2007.
Tom Poston (85) tall, pasty-faced comic who found fame and fortune playing a clueless everyman on such hit TV shows as Newhart and Mork & Mindy. Poston’s run as a comic bumbler began in the ’50s with The Steve Allen Show after Allen plucked the character actor from the Broadway stage to join an ensemble of eccentrics with whom he conducted “man in the street’’ interviews. Don Knotts was the shaky Mr. Morrison, Louis Nye was the suave, overconfident Gordon Hathaway, and Poston’s character was so unnerved by the TV cameras that he couldn’t remember his own name. Married to actress Suzanne Pleshette since 2001, Poston died in Los Angeles, California on April 30, 2007.
Gordon Scott (80) actor known for his portrayal of jungle superman Tarzan in six films and later roles in westerns and sword-and-sandals gladiator movies. An unknown hotel lifeguard in the ’50s, Scott managed to beat out 200 other would-be Tarzans from across the world who had auditioned for the part by climbing trees, jumping into pools, and swinging from ersatz vines for six hours. He died of complications from several heart surgeries, in Baltimore, Maryland on April 30, 2007.
Zola Taylor (69) singer who broke gender barriers in the ’50s as a member of The Platters, harmonizing with her male colleagues on hits like “The Great Pretender.’’ Taylor later gained attention of a different sort as one of three women who claimed to be pop idol Frankie Lymon’s widow. She had been bedridden after several strokes and died of pneumonia in Riverside County, California on April 30, 2007.
Roberto Valenzuela (35) trapeze artist performing with Circo Hermanos Vazques (Vazquez Brothers Circus). The troupe had recently traveled from Mexico for a show at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area. Valenzuela was killed after falling 40 feet while working without a net during a performance in Whittier, California on April 30, 2007.
Prince Abdul-Majid bin Abdul-Aziz (65) governor of Islam’s holy city of Mecca. Abdul-Majid was a half-brother of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and the 33rd son of the kingdom’s founder, the late King Abdul-Aziz, who had 36 sons. The prince had undergone surgery earlier in the US and had traveled back to Saudi Arabia, but was flown back to the US when his condition worsened. He died after sudden health deterioration at an undisclosed US location on May 5, 2007.
Charles ("C. J.") Liegel (28) son of Belvidere (Va.) mayor Charles J. Liegel Sr., an Army Reserve staff sergeant serving in the security detail of USAF Gen. Lance L. Smith, commander of the Norfolk-based US Joint Forces Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Transformation. The younger Liegel was killed when a windswept fire spread through several townhouses, one of which he shared with his sister, a naval lieutenant currently on the Isle of Crete, in Norfolk, Virginia on May 1, 2007. Authorities said arson caused the fire and were investigating Liegel's death as a homicide.
Ivica Racan (63) Croatia’s former prime minister, a Communist leader who led the country’s first staunchly pro-Western government (2000, ’03). Racan died of kidney cancer in Zagreb, Croatia on April 29, 2007.
Walter M. ("Wally") Schirra Jr. (84) one of the original Mercury Seven astronauts who combined the Right Stuff—textbook-perfect flying ability and steely nerves—with a pronounced rebellious streak. Schirra was the only astronaut to fly in all three of NASA’s original manned spaceflight programs: Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. Although he never walked on the moon, he laid some of the groundwork that made the lunar landings possible and won the space race for the US. He died of a heart attack in La Jolla, California on May 3, 2007.
Nicos Symeonides (68) Cypriot defense minister appointed in October 2006, after the resignation of Fivos Klokaris a month earlier. Symeonides died after being hospitalized for a month with lung problems, in Nicosia, Cyprus on May 3, 2007.
J. Robert Bradley (87) singer whose deep, swooping, octave-leaping voice and charismatic presence made him one of the most important figures in gospel music. Bradley’s bass-baritone voice could be richly operatic or earthy, raspy, and improvisational. He died of diabetes in Nashville, Tennessee on May 3, 2007.
Michael Dyke (20) student at New Hampshire’s Keene State University who shot and critically wounded his roommate, Jason Lillibridge (20), at their dormitory during an apparent confrontation. Witnesses described Dyke as “intoxicated.’’ He later died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound (suicide) in Keene, New Hampshire on May 4, 2007.
Aaron Lee Jones (55) Alabama man convicted in the 1978 slayings of a couple during a home robbery that followed a night of drinking. Jones told authorities that he and Arthur Lee Giles (47; still on death row) drank rum and beer and went to the home of Willene and Carl Nelson on November 10, 1978 in a farming area northeast of Birmingham. Jones said they went to rob the house but never found any money. They also shot and stabbed the Nelsons’ three children and their grandmother, all of whom survived. Jones was executed by lethal injection in Atmore, Alabama on May 3, 2007.
Donald P. Lay (80) former chief judge (1980-82) of the US Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit (which includes Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota) who rigorously defended the rights of women, Native Americans, and convicts during his 40 years on the bench. Lay died in North Oaks, Minnesota on April 29, 2007.
David W. Logsdon (51) former Target security guard who fatally shot two shoppers in the Ward Parkway Center parking lot and critically wounded two police officers inside the shopping mall during an apparent rampage that shocked many employees and shoppers. Logsdon was suspected of killing his neighbor, Patricia Reed (67), at her home before the shootings. He was shot and killed by police during the rampage in the Kansas City, Missouri mall on April 29, 2007.
Ernest McBride (97) civil rights pioneer who cofounded the Long Beach chapter of the NAACP and whose home was declared a landmark for its place in the city’s history. McBride died in Long Beach, California on May 5, 2007.
Rev. Lee Roberson (97) Baptist pastor and evangelist who founded Tennessee Temple University in 1946. The school started as a junior college and Bible school and grew into a four-year university, graduate school, and seminary with almost 600 students. Roberson died in Chattanooga, Tennessee on April 29, 2007.
Jim Tatreau (58) former Los Angeles Police Department commander, the driving force behind the creation in 2001 of the LAPD cold case homicide unit, which uses DNA and fingerprint database technology to reexamine thousands of forgotten murder cases. Since its inception, the unit has solved nearly 50 homicide cases dating back half a century. Tatreau died two years after being diagnosed with brain cancer, in Los Angeles County, California on April 29, 2007.
David Leon Woods (42) Indiana man convicted of killing a 77-year-old neighbor while burglarizing his home in 1984. Woods was convicted of breaking into Juan Placencia’s house and stabbing him to death. The first person put to death in Indiana since January 2006, Woods was executed by lethal injection in Michigan City, Indiana on May 4, 2007.
Alex Agase (85) three-time All-American and College Football Hall of Fame member who coached at Northwestern and Purdue. A guard and linebacker, Agase had a six-year pro career that included three championships in four seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He spent 17 years on the Northwestern sideline as an assistant to Ara Parseghian (1956~63), then became head coach when Parseghian left for Notre Dame, going 32-58-1 in nine seasons. Agase was head coach at Purdue (1973~76). He died in Tarpon Springs, Florida on May 3, 2007.
Milton F. Bocek (94) believed to have been the oldest living former player for the Chicago White Sox. Team manager Lew Fonseca signed “Beltin’ Bo from Cicero’’ for the final weeks of the 1933 season, in which the White Sox finished 31 games out of first place. Bocek also played the first few weeks of the 1934 season, compiling a career mark of 30 games, 60 at-bats, and one home run—against the Indians at Cleveland. He was paid only $250 a month. Bocek died in the Chicago suburb of Brookfield, Illinois on April 29, 2007.
Emma Culpepper (92) adoptive mother of Miami Dolphins quarterback Daunte Culpepper who had raised as many as 15 children, none of them biologically hers. Her husband, John Culpepper, died in 1977, the year Daunte Culpepper was born. Emma adopted Daunte when he was one day old. She died of Alzheimer’s disease in Ocala, Florida on May 5, 2007.
Josh Hancock (29) St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher who rode from the unemployment line in February 2006 into a World Series championship parade in October. Hancock was killed on impact when his 2007 Ford Explorer hit a tow truck parked in the far left westbound lane of Highway 40 in St. Louis, Missouri on April 29, 2007. (A postmortem investigation revealed that Hancock was drunk and talking on his cell phone at the time of the accident, and marijuana was found in the SUV he was driving.)
Tom Hutchinson (65) former wide receiver who played on the 1964 Cleveland Browns team that won the NFL championship. Hutchinson was the Browns’ first-round draft pick in 1963. He played three seasons for Cleveland and finished in 1966 with Atlanta. At the University of Kentucky (1960-62), he set school records with 94 catches for 1,483 yards, marks that stood for 35 years. He died in Campbellsville, Kentucky on May 5, 2007.
Tiny L. Laster Jr. (61) longtime Hampton University women’s coach who led the softball team to a regular-season championship on May 1. Laster, who took over as the Lady Pirates softball coach in 1989, compiled a career record of 535-300-1 in the sport. He also had a 215-250 record in 13 years as volleyball coach and a 139-67 record as Hampton’s women’s basketball coach. He died of kidney failure in Hampton, Virginia on May 3, 2007.
Kevin Mitchell (36) former NFL linebacker. Mitchell was drafted in the second round out of Syracuse in 1994 by the San Francisco ’49ers, who moved the undersized college defensive lineman to linebacker. He played with San Francisco until 1997, then signed with New Orleans (1998-99). He played his final four seasons (2000-03) with the Washington Redskins. He died in his sleep in Ashburn, Virginia, near the Redskins’ training facility, on April 29, 2007.