Breaking News Bar
updated: 6/21/2014 5:04 PM

Notable deaths last week

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • San Diego Padres' Tony Gwynn hits a double during first inning action and gets his first 100 RBI season during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh.

      San Diego Padres' Tony Gwynn hits a double during first inning action and gets his first 100 RBI season during a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh.
    Associated Press/1997

  • Avraham Shalom in a scene from the Oscar-nominated documentary, "The Gatekeepers."

      Avraham Shalom in a scene from the Oscar-nominated documentary, "The Gatekeepers."

  • Casey Kasem poses for photographers in 2003 after receiving the Radio Icon award during The 2003 Radio Music Awards at the Aladdin Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

      Casey Kasem poses for photographers in 2003 after receiving the Radio Icon award during The 2003 Radio Music Awards at the Aladdin Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
    Associated Press

  • Gerry Goffin

      Gerry Goffin

 
From Daily Herald news wire services

• There were two certainties about Tony Gwynn: He could hit a baseball like few other major leaguers, and he was going to laugh.

Gwynn was a craftsman at the plate, whose sweet left-handed swing made him one of baseball's greatest hitters.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

The Hall of Famer died Monday of oral cancer, a disease he attributed to years of chewing tobacco. He was 54.

Any knowledgeable fan can recite Gwynn's key stats. He had 3,141 hits -- 18th on the all-time list -- a career .338 average and won eight batting titles to tie Honus Wagner's NL record.

Gwynn never hit below .309 in a full season. He spread his batting titles from 1984, when he batted .351, to 1997, when he hit .372.

Gwynn was hitting .394 when a players' strike ended the 1994 season, denying him a shot at becoming the first player to hit .400 since San Diego native Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941.

• Gerry Conlon, who was imprisoned unjustly for an IRA bombing and inspired an Oscar-nominated film, has died. His family says he died Saturday at his Belfast home following a long battle with cancer.

The 60-year-old Conlon was a central figure in one of Britain's greatest miscarriages of justice. He and three others were convicted and sentenced to life for the 1974 bombing of a pub in Guildford, near London, that killed five people.

Conlon protested his innocence, a position vindicated in 1989 when the so-called Guildford Four were exonerated and freed. By then his father Giuseppe, convicted for an alleged lesser role in the bombing, had already died behind bars.

Conlon's autobiography, "Proved Innocent," was the basis for 1993's "In the Name of the Father" starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Conlon.

• In pop culture, Casey Kasem was as sweet and dependable as a glass of warm milk and a plate of chocolate chip cookies, which only made the ugliness of his last few years of life seem more bizarre and tragic.

The radio host of "American Top 40" and voice of animated television characters like Scooby-Doo's sidekick Shaggy died Sunday morning at a hospital in Gig Harbor, Washington. He was 82. He suffered from a form of dementia, and his three adult children from his first wife fought a bitter legal battle with Kasem's second wife, Jean, over control of his health care in his final months.

"American Top 40," with Kasem's soft, homey voice counting down the hits, was a refuge from shock jocks or the screaming big-city radio voices. It was dependable, broadcast on some 1,000 stations at its peak, so if you were driving in Connecticut or Kansas, California or Kentucky, you could always take a measure of the pop charts with Casey.

On the first "American Top 40" in July 1970, Kasem counted down to Three Dog Night's "Mama Told Me Not to Come" at the No. 1 spot. As the years went on, Kasem progressed through disco and punk, arena rock and rap. All were welcome under Casey's big tent.

That made him the rare personality who could count the stars among his fans. Reaction to his death Sunday was widespread, from tweeted memories to a dedication from the stage by Elton John at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.

John sang "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" and said, "Travel safely, my angel," in front of 80,000 fans in Manchester, Tennessee.

• Police Lt. David Spicer took four .45-caliber slugs to the chest and arms at point-blank range and lived to tell about it. Like thousands of other police officers and soldiers shot in the line of duty, he owes his life to a woman in Delaware by the name of Stephanie Kwolek.

Kwolek, who died at 90, was a DuPont Co. chemist who in 1965 invented Kevlar, the lightweight, stronger-than-steel fiber used in bulletproof vests and other body armor around the world.

A pioneer as a woman in a heavily male field, Kwolek made the breakthrough while working on specialty fibers at a DuPont laboratory in Wilmington. At the time, DuPont was looking for strong, lightweight fibers that could replace steel in automobile tires and improve fuel economy.

"I knew that I had made a discovery," Kwolek said in an interview several years ago that was included in the Chemical Heritage Foundation's "Women in Chemistry" series. "I didn't shout 'Eureka,' but I was very excited, as was the whole laboratory excited, and management was excited because we were looking for something new, something different, and this was it."

• Moise Safra, a Brazilian billionaire with roots in Syria who built with his family an international banking and investment empire, has died. He was 80.

• Gerry Goffin, a prolific and multi-dimensional lyricist who with his then-wife and songwriting partner Carole King wrote such hits as "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Up on the Roof" and "The Loco-Motion," has died at his home in Los Angeles. He was 75.

Goffin, who married King in 1959, penned more than 50 top 40 hits, including "Pleasant Valley Sunday" for the Monkees, "Some Kind of Wonderful" for the Drifters and "Take Good Care of My Baby" by Bobby Vee. Goffin was able to pen jokey lyrics or achingly sad ones, and he did it for solo artists and multiple voices.

Louise Goffin, one of his daughters, said her dad "wore his heart on his sleeve, and I am deeply blessed to have had a father who could so easily make the world laugh and cry with just a spiral notebook and a pen."

King and Goffin divorced in 1968, but Goffin kept writing hits, including "Savin' All My Love for You" for Whitney Houston. Goffin and King were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three years later.

• A Vietnam War veteran and former journalist who produced a film attacking Democrat John Kerry during his failed 2004 presidential campaign has died. Carlton Sherwood was 67.

Sherwood was part of a Gannett News Service reporting team that won a Pulitzer Prize for public service in 1980.

His 2004 film "Stolen Honor: Wounds That Never Heal" alleged that Kerry's actions as an anti-war activist after he returned home from Vietnam harmed American prisoners of war. Attacks on Kerry's own military record were viewed as a factor in his election loss.

• Avraham Shalom, a former director of Israel's Shin Bet security service who led the agency through some of its greatest achievements before resigning in disgrace, has died in Tel Aviv at 86.

Later in life, Shalom became a strong advocate for reaching peace with the Palestinians. He was among six former Shin Bet directors who gave rare, candid interviews about their actions and decisions in the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary "The Gatekeepers" by Israeli filmmaker Dror Moreh.

"Most people think that (a security official) can only be a hawk and not a dove ... no, he was a dove from the beginning," Moreh said. "He spoke very vigorously about the cost of the occupation, especially on Israeli youngsters who pay the prices of the decisions of their leaders."

• Horace Silver, a pianist, composer and band leader with a tireless inventiveness who influenced generations of jazzmen with his distinctive hard bop sound, has died. He was 85.

"Horace Silver was one of the hardest swinging piano players in jazz, both as a section player and a soloist," said Ramsey Lewis, a pianist influenced by Silver. "Moreover, he was one of the finest human beings that walked the earth."

• Author Daniel Keyes, whose novel "Flowers for Algernon" became a classroom staple that explored the treatment of the mentally disabled and the ethics of manipulating human intelligence, has died, his family said. He was 86.

The short story won a Hugo Award for best short fiction and the novel won a Nebula Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The book has sold more than 5 million copies. Actor Cliff Robertson won an Academy Award for best leading actor with his portrayal of the book's main character in "Charly," a 1968 movie based on the story.

• Eccentric Texas businessman-turned-artist Stanley Marsh 3, whose partially buried row of Cadillacs became a road-side tourist attraction in the 1970s, has died at 76.

Marsh, long known in his hometown of Amarillo as a prankster and philanthropist but who faced indictment alleging he molested teenage boys late in life, died in Amarillo, criminal attorney Paul Nugent said.

Although his art and shenanigans were often public, Marsh said he never wanted to be figured out. In 1994, he said he wanted his epitaph to read in part: "Thanks, everybody. I had a good time."

• Charles Barsotti, whose New Yorker cartoons plumbed the human condition featuring characters such as the psychiatrist dog and the pilgrim with the walking stick, has died. He was 80.

Barsotti's cartoons also appeared in other publications, including The Atlantic and The New York Times. Several collections of his work have been published, including most recently the 2007 book "They Moved My Bowl," which featured his dog cartoons.

• C. David Burgin, a longtime editor who gained a reputation as a troubleshooter for fading newspapers, has died at his home in Houston after a lengthy illness. He was 75.

Burgin had served as editor-in-chief of seven U.S. daily newspapers, starting with New Jersey's Paterson News in 1977.

• NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee Ray Fox, a premier engine builder and top mechanic in the 1950s and '60s, has died. He was 98.

Fox, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II, transitioned to a car owner in 1962. He also won two races with NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker, and fielded cars for NASCAR Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough, Fred Lorenzen, Buddy Baker and Charlie Glotzbach.

• Jim Rogers, a philanthropist and education advocate who served as chancellor of Nevada's higher education system from 2005 to 2009 without pay, has died at 75.

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.
    help here