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posted: 9/8/2012 5:34 PM

Notable deaths last week

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  • Children touch the Baltimore Ravens' Vince Lombardi Trophy from the team's 2001 Super Bowl championship during a public viewing Saturday of the casket of former Ravens owner Art Modell at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

    Children touch the Baltimore Ravens' Vince Lombardi Trophy from the team's 2001 Super Bowl championship during a public viewing Saturday of the casket of former Ravens owner Art Modell at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
    Associated Press

From Wire Reports

Joe Mooshil, who became a fixture on the Chicago sports scene over the course of four decades covering the city's teams for The Associated Press, has died at age 85.

Few sports writers enjoyed the kind of access accorded Mooshil. He toured the Rush Street taverns with announcer Harry Caray on occasion, became a sounding board for some of the pioneering schemes hatched by late White Sox owner Bill Veeck and came up with the phrase "Million-Dollar Line" to describe the Blackhawks' combination of Bobby Hull, Bill "Red" Hay and Murray Balfour.

The NFL became America's game under a collection of shrewd businessmen that included some of the biggest names in league history: Pete Rozelle, Vince Lombardi, Dan Rooney and arguably the most influential of all -- Art Modell.

Modell's insight thrust the struggling league into the public eye and onto the country's television screens on Sundays and Monday night.

Modell, who helped transform the NFL into America's pre-eminent sport, has died at 87.

Modell spent 43 years as an NFL owner, overseeing the Browns from 1961 until he moved the team to Baltimore in 1996. Modell served as league president from 1967-69, helped finalize the first collective bargaining agreement with the players in 1968 and was the point man for the NFL's lucrative contracts with television networks.

The Rev. Herman D. "Preacher" Dennis, who turned a Mississippi Delta grocery store into a folk-art castle that became a roadside attraction, has died. He was 96.

Margaret's Grocery started as a modest store north of Vicksburg off U.S. 61, nicknamed the "blues highway." Margaret Rogers Dennis had owned the store nearly 40 years when she married "Preacher" in 1984, and he said he'd build a monument to her and their faith in God.

During the 1980s and '90s, the couple used red, white, pink and yellow painted concrete blocks, scrap-iron columns, foam balls, cardboard tubes and other common items to turn the building into a castle. Inside, surfaces were covered with Mardi Gras beads, plastic trinkets and Christmas lights.

Tom Kenville, the former Associated Press and New York Times sports writer who served as a publicist for Muhammad Ali, has died. He was 82.

Singer-songwriter Joe South, who performed hits in the late 1960s and early 1970s such as "Games People Play" and "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" and also penned songs including "Down in the Boondocks" for other artists, has died at age 72.

He also had hits with "Walk A Mile In My Shoes" and "Don't It Make You Want to Go Home," and wrote the Grammy-nominated "(I Never Promised You a) Rose Garden" for country singer Lynn Anderson.

Former U.S. representative Charlie Rose, a North Carolina Democrat who served 12 terms in Congress, became a leading champion of tobacco interests and made an ill-fated bid for House minority leader in 1994 that led to his loss of a powerful committee post, has died at 73.

Michael Clarke Duncan was one big, irresistible jumble of contradictions.

His presence was formidable, even intimidating: The former bodyguard had a muscular, 6-foot-4 frame, but it was topped by the brightest of megawatt smiles.

His gravelly baritone was well-suited to everything from animated films to action spectacles, but no matter the role, a warmth and a sweetness was always evident underneath.

The prolific character actor, whose dozens of movies included an Oscar-nominated performance as a death row inmate in "The Green Mile" and box office hits including "Armageddon," "Planet of the Apes" and "Kung Fu Panda," has died at age 54.

Born in Chicago in 1957, Duncan was raised by a single mother whose resistance to his playing football led to his deciding he wanted to become an actor.

William G. Baffert, the father of Hall of Fame thoroughbred trainer Bob Baffert, has died at 88.

Nicknamed "The Chief," Bill Sr. was the mentor for his son as a trainer.

Mark Abrahamian, the lead guitarist for the rock group Starship, died of a heart attack after a concert in Norfolk, Neb., his road manager said. He was 46.

The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, best known for conducting mass weddings involving thousands of couples, was a self-proclaimed messiah, but he was at least as good at attracting dollars as he was at drawing converts.

His Unification Church claims 3 million followers, though ex-members and critics put the number at no more than 100,000. There is no questioning the vastness of the business empire Moon created through his church: ventures in several countries from hospitals and newspapers to cars and sushi, and even professional sports teams and a ballet troupe.

Moon died at age 92.

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