2015 Obits – Those we lost in 2015 – October thru December

© johnny-strange_3461353b

Johnny Strange ©2010 Barry King

October 1: Johnny Strange, 23: American mountain climber and adventurer, who at 18 became the youngest to scale some of the world’s tallest peaks, died in the Swiss Alps while making a wingsuit jump. He died on impact with the ground after jumping from Mount Gitschen in central Switzerland.

October 6: Billy Joe Royal, 73: pop and country singer (Down in the Boondocks, Cherry Hill Park, Burned Like a Rocket) died in his sleep at his North Carolina home.

October 7: Helen Wilkes, 88: businesswoman, politician and first female Mayor of West Palm Beach, Florida (1978-1979) and City Commissioner (1976-1988), was also a hotelier and animal lover. She is survived by her husband.

October 8: Lindy Infante, 75: former football coach of the Green Bay Packers from 1988-91 with a 24-40 regular season died of pneumonia at Community Hospital of Northeast Florida. Infante’s wife said he fell at home in late September and suffered four broken ribs. He was hospitalized and it was then doctors discovered through x-rays and tests the seriousness of the pneumonia. Mike Holmgren succeeded Infante as Coach of Green Bay.

October 9: Dave Meyers, 62: former basketball player for UCLA and then Milwaukee Bucks, died from cancer in Temecula, California.

October 9: Jerry Parr, 85: American Secret Service agent, who saved a wounded Ronald Reagan during the 1981 assassination attempt, died of heart failure, his wife said. Carolyn Parr said her husband died three days short of their 56th wedding anniversary.


Robert Leuci

October 12: Robert Leuci, 75: police detective and writer, who exposed graft among fellow detectives in the ’70s as a so-called Prince of the City, died at his home in Rhode Island from complications after surgery.

October 14: Robert M White, 92: meteorologist, director of the National Weather Service (1963-1965), ESSA (1965-1970), NOAA (1970-1977) complications of dementia.

October 16: Bevo XIV, 13: American longhorn steer collegiate mascot for the Texax Longhorns, bovine leukemia.

October 18: Anita Sarko, 68: DJ, journalist, NY Club culture female DJ with a big personality was known for her bracing mix of music. Sarko took her own life, she is survived by her husband, Erzen Krivca.

October 20: Cory Wells, 74: co-founder and singer from 1970s band Three Dog Night, died from complications from multiple myeloma in Dunkirk, NY. He had stopped performing in September complaining of severe back pain.

October 22: Arnie Klein, 70: Michael Jackson’s Physician, “The Father of Botox” and the man rumored to be the father of MJ’s oldest son and Michael Jackson’s closest friend died of natural causes at the age of 70. He was admitted to a hospital in Palm Springs on Oct. 19 suffering from severe abdominal pains and stayed in treatment until he died on Oct. 22 around 7:50 pm.

Maureen O'Hara Tweet ©October 24: Maureen O’Hara, 95: Legendary Irish-American actress who appeared in The Quiet Man with John Wayne and was best known for her role in Miracle on 34th Street died of natural causes at home in Boise, Idaho, according to her family.


Willis Carto

October 26: Willis Carto, 89: American white supremacist, founder of the American Free Press, and one of a handful of people who denied the Holocaust ever existed, died at his home in Virginia, of heart failure. His death was announced in the newspaper he helped found, the American Free Press (and confirmed by his wife, Elizabeth). The Southern Povertly Law Center, which tracks extremist organizations, described Carto as a “white nationalist” who espoused “pro-Nazi and rabidly anti-Jewish views.”

October 27: Sam Sarpong, 40: Yo Momma Host and Tommy Hilfiger model died after jumping off a bridge. The circumstances surrounding his death are still under investigation but his death has been ruled a suicide.



October 27: Tillman, 10: skateboarding English bulldog, heart disease.

October 30: Al Molinaro, 96: one of Kenosha, Wisconsin’s most recognizable native sons, Al Molinaro, was best known for his TV role as drive-in owner Al Devecchio on “Happy Days.” He played Murray the Cop on “The Odd Couple” and appeared in 42 national commercials.

Fred Thompson

Fred Dalton Thompson

November 1: Fred Dalton Thompson, 73: U.S. Senator from Tennessee (1994-2003), minority counsel to the Senate Watergate Committee) and actor (Die Hard 2, Law & Order, In the Line of Fire, 90 Minutes in Heaven) died after a recurrence of lymphoma. He passed away peacefully in Nashville, surrounded by his family.

November 7: Gunnar Hansen, 68: Icelandic-born American actor (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre), who played Leatherface, died from pancreatic cancer at his home in Maine. His agent, Mike Eisenstadt said Leatherface was “one of the most iconic evil figures in the history of cinema.”

November 7: Eddie Hoh, 71: rock drummer (The Mamas & The Papas, The Monkees, Donovan) died in Westmont, Illinois.

November 8: Joseph Cure, 31: ice hockey player and actor (Miracle) who was a Minnesota native died in a car crash in Montana. The vehicle spun off the left side of US Highway 284 and rolled over. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Road conditions were reported icy at the time of the crash.

November 9: Tommy Hanson, 29: MLB pitcher (Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) died at Piedmont Hospital after being found not breathing at a friend’s home. He had fallen into a coma with catastrophic organ failure. An autopsy revealed he died from delayed complications of cocaine and alcohol toxicity. The death was ruled an accident caused by cocaine use.

November 10: Vernon Ashley, 99: American Crow Creek chief, Tribal Elder and tribal chairman in mid 1900s who is credited with helping author the tribe’s constitution and bylaws. He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II and also worked for three South Dakota governors during his lifetime.

November 11: Nathaniel Marston, 40: known for his six-year run as Michael McBain on One Life to Live died of injuries sustained in a late-October car accident. He also appeared in episodes of Blue Bloods, Law & Order: SUV, Castle and White Collar.

November 14: Nick Bockwinkel 80: former CAC (Cauliflower Alley Club) President, WWE Hall of Famer, and “The Greatest AWA World Champion of All Time” died due to health issues.

November 15: P.F. Sloan, 70: singer/songwriter (Secret Agent Man, Eve of Destruction, A Must to Avoid) died after a short bout with pancreatic cancer.

November 18: Abdelhamid Abaaoud: Ringleader of the Paris terrorist attacks, was killed in a French police raid. It is reported he went to Syria and joined ISIS in 2013. His name is connected with the foiled terror attack on a train in Northern France where a gunman was overpowered by passengers, among other attacks.

November 23: Austin Kiplinger, 97: co-founder (with his father) of a personal finance magazine (Kiplinger’s Personal Finance). He also expanded the family’s financial publishing company into a $100 million enterprise into the late 1990s. He died in Rockville, Maryland of brain cancer.

November 27: Garrett Swasey, 44: co-pastor of his church, ice-skating champion and police officer, Swasey was killed during a shooting standoff at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs. He was married and had two young children and had been with the University of Colorado at COW police department for six years and had responded to the initial reports of an active shooter. The suspect was taken into police custody after an hours-long standoff at the clinic where Swasey and two civilians were killed.

December 3: Melvin Williams, 73: drug trafficker and actor (The Wire). Known as ‘Little” Melvin Williams, was an authentic Baltimore drug kingpin whose life in the 1960s and post-prison redemption earned him a place in HBO’s “The Wire.” Williams died at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Friends said Williams had cancer.


Robert Loggia Credit: Photo by ITV/REX Shutterstock

December 4: Robert Loggia, 85: Oscar-Nominated actor Robert Loggia had been battling Alzheimer’s Disease for the past 5 years, said his wife of 33 years. A durable and versatile actor, I remember seeing him in Scarface, Jagged Edge and Big. His TV credits span 1966 to 2015. He has two movies listed for release in 2016. He was working up until his death. He was one of my favorite actors. In addition to being survived by his wife, Mr. Loggia has four children.

December 5: Hack Meyers (Donald Haviland) , 41: professional wrestler (ECW) was in a coma after recent brain surgery and passed away without regaining consciousness.

December 5: Chuck Williams, 100: business executive and author, founder of Williams-Sonoma died of natural causes. His cookware retailer, Williams-Sonoma, Inc. helped spur a gourmet revolution in American kitchens. He helped introduce kitchen equipment including garlic presses, food processors and pasta machines and was the first to import balsamic vinegar from Italy.

December 6: Marque Lynche Jr., 34: former co-star of Justin Timerberlake, former Mickey Mouse Club star and American Idol finalist was found dead by his room mate in their New York City apartment.

December 8: Douglas Tompkins, 72: conservationist and businessman, co-founder of The North Face and Esprit died from hypothermia after a kayaking accident in Patagonia. A group including Mexicans and Americans capsized on Chile’s General Carrera Lake. Three members of the group made it to an island. Tompkins and two others remained in the water until personnel from the Chilean Navy arrived to rescue them. Thompkins was transported by helicopter to the Coyhaique Regional Hospital, where doctors attempted to revive him.


Ron Bouchard

December 10: Ron Bouchard, 67: Former Modified great, New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame member and NASCAR Spring Cup Series, a native of Fitchburg, Mass, Ron Bouchard passed away after battling cancer for many years. Bouchard’s wife Paula is the daughter of legendary Modified driver Ed Flemke, Sr.

December 12: Rose Siggins, 43: American Horror Story: Freak Show‘s Legless Suzi died from an infection she contracted that eventually spread through her body. She died in a Denver hospital.

December 13: Don Leaver, 86: award-winning TV director and producer of such likable shows as The Avengers,Police Surgeon (1960), Prime Suspect and A Touch of Frost. He is survived by his second wife, Tania Scott and by their son and daughter and by four children from his first marriage to Caroline Swinton (which ended in divorce).

December 19: Louis DiGiaimo, 77: a casting director who worked on such blockbuster movies as The Godfather, The Excorcist, Rain Man and Sleepers also recommended a relatively unknown Brad Pitt for a role in Thelma & Louise died from complications from a stroke, said his wife, Lee.

December 19: Samir Kuntar, 53: Lebanese convicted murderer, member of Hezbollah, longest-held Lebanese prisoner in Israel, died during a successful missile strike.


CHICAGO, IL – SEPTEMBER 21: DJ Timbuck2 performs on stage during AAHH!! Fest 2014 at Union Park on September 21, 2014 in Chicago, United States. Credit: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images

December 19: Timbuck2 (Timothy Jones), 34: Chicago DJ, who started performing as a DJ at age 12, according to NBC Chicago, died of cancer. He was 34. Derrick D. Brown, program director at WGCI wrote, “Timbuck2 was a premier turntable technician. His creativity and ear for music was unparalleled. He leaves a huge void that will be extremely difficult to fill.” His hip-hop mixes became a radio station staple.

Hamzah Alijahmi

Hamzah Aljahmi

December 22: Hamzah Aljahmi, 19: American bantamweight boxer from Dearborn, Michigan died after collapsing during his first pro fight. He died at a Youngstown, Ohio hospital after undergoing brain surgery.

December 22: Billy Glaze, 72: convicted Minnesota serial killer who was attempting to clear his name, died of lung cancer in prison.

Brooke McCarter, 52: The Lost Boys star (vampire Paul) died from a genetic liver condition alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AAT). It was reported on McCarter’s official Facebook page by his family.

December 23: Michael Earl, 56: Muppeteer, puppeteer and puppetry instructor, Earl took over the Sesame Street role of Mr. Snuffleupagus, originated by Jerry Nelson. Earl said in an interview with Tough Pigs (the Muppets fan site), that when he was 19 years old, Jim Henson gave him his big break, when he hired him for The Muppet Movie. Earl died after a 3-year battle with colon cancer.

Guest on Left

William Guest (on left)

December 24: William Guest, 74: member of the legendary Gladys Knight and the Pips  died of congestive heart failure in Detroit. He performed with GK&the Pips from 1953 to 1989 when they released such hits as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” and “Midnight Train to Georgia.”

December 25: George Clayton Johnson, 86: the legendary sci-fi writer who authored the first Star Trek TV episode and co-wrote the dark futuristic Logan’s Run passed away from prostate and bladder cancer in Los Angeles.


Dave Henderson ©Betty Udesen/The Seattle Times

December 27: Dave Henderson, 57: former Mariners outfielder and broadcaster died from a massive heart attack at Harborview Hospital . He will be remembered for his postseason heroics and his gregarious, outgoing personality.

December 27: Meadowlark Lemon, 83: Hall of Fame basketball player (Harlem Globetrotters) who had a halfcourt hook shot that dazzled anyone who saw it, died in Scottsdale, Ariz. His death was confirmed by his wife, Cynthia. A cause was not specified. Lemon was a gifted athlete who dreamed of playing for the Globetrotters as a boy in North Carolina. He joined the team in 1954, shortly after leaving the Army. I see the Globetrotters play in Milwaukee every New Year’s Eve, I will miss not seeing Meadowlark Lemon.

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