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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

George Rene Francis died he was 112

After a life that touched three centuries, the oldest man in the United States has died in California at the age of 112, the Sacramento Bee newspaper reports.
George Rene Francis, who was listed as America's oldest man by the Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles, died of congestive heart failure at a nursing home in Sacramento, the newspaper said in a story on its website.
The Bee reported that Francis, a black man who was born in New Orleans on June 6, 1896 and grew up in the South, told the newspaper in a recent interview that he had voted with pride for Barack Obama in the November presidential election. Obama will be the first black US president when he takes office on January 20.
"I think he's great because he's black," Francis told the Bee. "Because the white people thought the Negro would never be promoted. I think it's beautiful."
Francis, who left school after sixth grade and briefly had a career as a boxer, moved to California in 1949 and found work as a chauffeur, auto mechanic and barber.
His wife, Josephine, died in 1963 after 46 years of marriage.
The Bee reported that Francis was survived by four children, 19 grandchildren and more than 30 great-grandchildren.

With the death of Francis, Montana resident Walter Breuning becomes the country's oldest man at 112 years and 98 days old. America's oldest woman is 114-year-old Gertrude Baines of Los Angeles.
The oldest living person is 115-year-old Maria de Jesus of Portugal, who was born on September 10, 1893, according to the Gerontology Research Group.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Freddie Hubbard (Jazz Great) Died he was 70

Freddie Hubbard (Jazz Great) Died he was 70. Hubbard was an American jazz trumpeter. He was known primarily for playing in the bebop, hard bop and post bop styles from the early 60s and on. His unmistakable and influential tone contributed to new perspectives for modern jazz and bebop.

(7 April 1938 – 29 December 2008)

Hubbard started playing the mellophone and trumpet in his school band, studying at the Jordan Conservatory with the principal trumpeter of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. In his teens Hubbard worked locally with brothers Wes and Monk Montgomery and worked with bassist Larry Ridley and saxophonist James Spaulding. In 1958, at the age of 20, he moved to New York, and began playing with some of the best jazz players of the era, including Philly Joe Jones, Sonny Rollins, Slide Hampton, Eric Dolphy , J. J. Johnson, and Quincy Jones. In June 1960 Hubbard made his first record as a leader, Open Sesame, with saxophonist Tina Brooks, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Clifford Jarvis.

Then in May 1961, Hubbard played on Ole Coltrane, John Coltrane's final recording session with Atlantic Records. Together with Eric Dolphy, Hubbard was the only 'session' musician who appeared on both Ole and Africa Brass, Coltrane's first album with ABC/Impulse! Later, in August 1961, Hubbard made one of his most famous records, Ready for Freddie, which was also his first collaboration with saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Hubbard would join Shorter later in 1961 when he replaced Lee Morgan in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. He played on several Blakey recordings, including Caravan, Ugetsu, Mosaic, and Free For All. Hubbard remained with Blakey until 1966, leaving to form the first of several small groups of his own, which featured, among others, pianist Kenny Barron and drummer Louis Hayes.
It was during this time that he began to develop his own sound, distancing himself from the early influences of Clifford Brown and Morgan, and won the Downbeat jazz magazine "New Star" award on trumpet.
Throughout the 1960s Hubbard played as a sideman on some of the most important albums from that era, including, Oliver Nelson's The Blues and the Abstract Truth, Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage, and Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil. He recorded extensively for Blue Note Records in the 1960s: eight albums as a bandleader, and twenty-eight as a sideman. Though Hubbard never fully embraced the free jazz of the '60s, he appeared on several landmark albums in the genre: Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz, Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch, and John Coltrane's Ascension.
Hubbard achieved his greatest popular success in the 1970s with a series of albums for Creed Taylor and his record label CTI Records. Although his early 1970s jazz albums Red Clay, First Light, Straight Life, and Sky Dive were particularly well received and considered among his best work, the albums he recorded later in the decade were attacked by critics for their commercialism. First Light won a 1972 Grammy Award and included pianists Herbie Hancock and Richard Wyands, guitarists Eric Gale and George Benson, bassist Ron Carter, drummer Jack DeJohnette, and percussionist Airto Moreira. In 1994, Freddie, collaborating with Chicago jazz vocalist/co-writer Catherine Whitney, had lyrics set to the music of First Light.

During 1970-1974 Hubbard was the biggest star of the CTI label, overshadowing Stanley Turrentine, Hubert Laws, and George Benson.[8] Columbia's VSOP: The Quintet, album was recorded from two live performances, one at the Hearst Greek Theatre, University of California, Berkeley, on July 16, 1977, the other at the San Diego Civic Theatre, July 18, 1977. Musicians joining the trumpeter for this landmark performance were the members of the mid-sixties line-up of the Miles Davis Quintet (except the leader): Herbie Hancock on keyboards, Tony Williams on drums, Ron Carter on bass, and Wayne Shorter on tenor and soprano saxophones.
In the 1980s Hubbard was again leading his own jazz group, attracting very favorable notices for his playing at concerts and festivals in the USA and Europe, often in the company of Joe Henderson, playing a repertory of hard-bop and modal-jazz pieces. Hubbard played at the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival in 1980 and in 1989 (with Bobby Hutcherson). He played with Woody Shaw, recording with him in 1985, and two years later recorded Stardust with Benny Golson. In 1988 he teamed up once more with Blakey at an engagement in Holland, from which came Feel the Wind. In 1990 he appeared in Japan headlining an American-Japanese concert package which also featured Elvin Jones, Sonny Fortune, pianists George Duke and Benny Green, bass players Ron Carter, and Rufus Reid, with jazz and popular music singer Salena Jones. He also performed at the Warsaw Jazz Festival at which Live at the Warsaw Jazz Festival (Jazzmen 1992) was recorded.
Following a long setback of health problems and a serious lip injury in 1992 where he ruptured his upper lip and subsequently developed an infection, Hubbard was again playing and recording occasionally, even if not at the high level that he set for himself during his earlier career. His best records ranked with the finest in his field.
In 2006, The National Endowment for the Arts honored Hubbard with its highest honor in jazz, the NEA Jazz Masters Award.
On December 29, 2008, Hubbard's hometown newspaper, The Indianapolis Star reported that Hubbard died from complications from a heart attack suffered on November 26 of the same year. Billboard magazine reported that Hubbard died in Sherman Oaks, California. more

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sir Edmund Hillary died he was 88

Sir Edmund Percival Hillary died he was 88. He was a New Zealand mountaineer and explorer. On 29 May 1953 at the age of 33, he and Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers known to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. They were part of the ninth British expedition to Everest, led by John Hunt.

(20 July 1919 – 11 January 2008)

Hillary became interested in mountaineering while in high school, making his first major climb in 1939, reaching the summit of Mount Ollivier. He served in the RNZAF as a navigator during World War II. Before the successful expedition in 1953 to Everest, he had been part of a reconnaissance expedition to the mountain in 1951 and an unsuccessful attempt to climb Cho Oyu in 1952. As part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition he reached the South Pole overland in 1958. He would later also travel to the North Pole.

Following his ascent of Everest he devoted much of his life to helping the Sherpa people of Nepal through the Himalayan Trust, which he founded. Through his efforts many schools and hospitals were built in this remote region of the Himalayas.

Hillary was born to Percival Augustus Hillary and Gertrude Hillary, née Clark, in Auckland, New Zealand, on 20 July 1919. His family moved to Tuakau (south of Auckland) in 1920, after his father (who served at Gallipoli) was allocated land there. His grandparents were early settlers in northern Wairoa in the mid 19th century after emigrating from Yorkshire, England.

Hillary was educated at Tuakau Primary School and then Auckland Grammar School.He finished primary school two years early, but struggled at high school, achieving only average marks. He was initially smaller than his peers there and very shy so he took refuge in his books and daydreams of a life filled with adventure. His daily train journey to and from high school was over two hours each way, during which he regularly used the time to read. He gained confidence after he learnt to box. At 16 his interest in climbing was sparked during a school trip to Mount Ruapehu. Though gangly at 6 ft 5 in (195cm) and uncoordinated, he found that he was physically strong and had greater endurance than many of his tramping companions. He studied mathematics and science at The University of Auckland, and in 1939 completed his first major climb, reaching the summit of Mount Ollivier, near Mt. Cook in the Southern Alps. With his brother Rex, Hillary became a beekeeper, a summer occupation that allowed him to pursue climbing in the winter. His interest in beekeeping later led Hillary to commission Michael Ayrton to cast a golden sculpture in the shape of honeycomb in imitation of Daedalus's lost-wax process. This was placed in his New Zealand garden, where his bees took it over as a hive and "filled it with honey and their young".

Hillary married Louise Mary Rose on 3 September 1953, soon after the ascent of Everest. A shy man, he relied on his future mother-in-law to propose on his behalf. They had three children: Peter (1954), Sarah (1955) and Belinda (1959-1975).[ In 1975 while en route to join Hillary in the village of Phaphlu, where he was helping to build a hospital, Louise and Belinda were killed in a plane crash near Kathmandu airport shortly after take-off. Hillary married June Mulgrew, the widow of his close friend Peter Mulgrew, on 21 December 1989. His son Peter Hillary has also become a climber, conquering Everest in 1990. In April 2003 Peter and Jamling Tenzing Norgay (son of Tenzing; Tenzing himself had died in 1986) climbed Everest as part of a 50th anniversary celebration. Hillary had six grandchildren, altogether.

People draped in the Flag of New Zealand at the Auckland Domain as the hearse drives past at Sir Edmund Hillary's state funeral.
On 11 January 2008, Hillary died of heart failure at the Auckland City Hospital at around 9 am NZDT (10 January at 20:00 UTC) at the age of 88. Hillary's death was announced by New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark at around 11:20 am. She stated that his passing was a "profound loss to New Zealand". His death was recognised by the lowering of flags to half-mast on all Government and public buildings and at Scott Base in Antarctica. Actor and adventurer Brian Blessed, who attempted to climb Everest three times, described Sir Edmund as a "kind of titan". He was in hospital at the time of his death but was expected to come home that day according to his family. The local press emphasized Hillary's humble and congenial personality and his life of hard work.
In tribute Claire Harvey wrote in the 12 January 2008 New Zealand Herald "And for New Zealanders, Sir Ed was everything a good bastard [sic] ought to be - modest and humorous, brave and compassionate, and just grouchy enough to remind us he never sought, nor particularly enjoyed, adulation."
After Hillary's death the Green Party proposed a new public holiday for 20 July or the Monday nearest to it. Renaming mountains after Hillary was also proposed. The Mt Cook Village's Hermitage Hotel, the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre and Alpine Guides, proposed a renaming of Mount Ollivier, the first mountain climbed by Hillary. The family of Arthur Ollivier, for whom the mountain is named, are against such a renaming. more

James Stephen Fossett died he was 63

James Stephen Fossett died he was 63. Fosset was an American businessman, aviator, sailor, and adventurer and the first person to fly solo nonstop around the world in a balloon. He made his fortune in the financial services industry, and was best known for many world records, including five nonstop circumnavigations of the Earth: as a long-distance solo balloonist, as a sailor, and as a solo flight fixed-wing aircraft pilot.
A fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club, Fossett set 116 records in five different sports, 60 of which still stand, as of June 2007[update].
On September 3, 2007, Fossett was reported missing after the plane he was flying over the Nevada desert failed to return. Despite a month of searches by the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and others, Fossett could not be found, and the search by CAP was called off on October 2, 2007. Privately funded and privately directed search efforts continued, but after a request from Fossett's wife, he was declared legally dead on February 15, 2008. On September 29, 2008, a hiker found Fossett's identification cards in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, and the crash site was discovered a few days later. On November 3, 2008, DNA test results conducted on bones recovered near the site of the crash confirmed his death, which officials indicated would have happened immediately upon impact of the plane.

(April 22, 1944 – c. September 3, 2007)

Fossett was born in Jackson, Tennessee but he grew up in Garden Grove, California.
Fossett's interest in adventure began early. As a Boy Scout, he grew up climbing the mountains of California, beginning with the San Jacinto Mountains. "When I was 12 years old I climbed my first mountain, and I just kept going, taking on more diverse and grander projects."Fossett said that he did not have a natural gift for athletics or team sports, so he focused on activities that required persistence and endurance. His father, an Eagle Scout, encouraged Fossett to pursue these types of adventures and encouraged him to become involved with the Boy Scouts early. At age 13, Fossett earned the Boy Scouts' highest rank of Eagle Scout and was a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, the Boy Scouts' honor society, where he served as lodge chief. He also worked as a Ranger at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico during the summer of 1961. Fossett said in 2006 that Scouting was the most important activity of his youth.
In college at Stanford University, Fossett was already known as an adventurer; his Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity brothers convinced him to swim to Alcatraz and raise a banner that read "Beat Cal" on the wall of the prison, closed two years previously. (He made the swim, but was thwarted by a security guard when he arrived.) Fossett held various leadership positions at Stanford, including serving in student government and serving as President of a few clubs. In 1966, Fossett graduated from Stanford with a degree in economics. Fossett spent the following summer in Europe climbing mountains and swimming the Dardanelles.

In 1968, Fossett received an MBA from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was later a longtime member of the Board of Trustees. Fossett's first job out of business school was with IBM; he then served as a consultant for Deloitte and Touche, and later accepted a job with Marshall Field's. Fossett later said, "For the first five years of my business career, I was distracted by being in computer systems, and then I became interested in financial markets. That's where I thrived."
Fossett then became a successful commodities salesman in Chicago, first for Merrill Lynch in 1973, where he proved a highly successful producer of commission revenue for himself and that firm. He began working in 1976 for Drexel Burnham, which assigned him one of its memberships on the Chicago Board of Trade and permitted him to market the services of the firm from a phone on the floor of that exchange. In 1980, Fossett began the process that eventually produced his enduring prosperity: renting exchange memberships to would-be floor traders, first on the Chicago Board Options Exchange.
After 15 years of working for other companies, Fossett founded his own firms, Marathon Securities and Lakota Trading, from which he made millions renting exchange memberships. He founded Lakota Trading for that purpose in 1980. In the early 1980s, he founded Marathon Securities and extended that successful formula to memberships on the New York stock exchanges. He earned millions renting floor trading privileges (exchange memberships) to hopeful new floor traders, who would also pay clearing fees to Fossett's clearing firms in proportion to the trading activity of those renting the memberships. In 1997, the trading volume of its rented memberships was larger than any other clearing firm on the Chicago exchange. Lakota Trading replicated that same business plan on many exchanges in the United States and also in London. Fossett would later use those revenues to finance his adventures. Fossett said, "As a floor trader, I was very aggressive and worked hard. Those same traits help me in adventure sports."
Fossett said he did not participate in any of the "interesting things" he had done in college during his time in exchange-related activities: "There was a period of time where I wasn't doing anything except working for a living. I became very frustrated with that and finally made up my mind to start getting back into things." He began to take six weeks a year off to spend time on sports and eventually moved to Beaver Creek, Colorado in 1990, where for a time he ran his business from a distance. Fossett later sold most of his business interests, although he maintained an office in Chicago until 2006.

Fossett was married to Peggy Fossett (Viehland), originally from Richmond Heights, Missouri, in 1968. They had no children. The Fossetts had homes in Beaver Creek, Colorado and Chicago and a vacation home in Carmel, California.
Fossett became well-known in the United Kingdom for his friendship with billionaire Richard Branson, who financed some of Fossett's adventures.

At 8:45 am, on Monday, September 3, 2007 (Labor Day), Fossett took off in a single-engine Bellanca Super Decathlon airplane from a private airstrip known as Flying-M Ranch (38°36′13″N 119°00′11″W / 38.60361, -119.00306 (Flying-M Ranch)), near Smith Valley, Nevada, 30 miles (48 km) south of Yerington, near Carson City and the California border.
The search for Fossett began about six hours later. The aircraft had tail number N240R registered to the "Flying M Hunting Club, Inc." There was no signal from the plane's emergency locator transmitter (ELT) designed to be automatically activated in the event of a crash, but it was of an older type notorious for failing to operate after a crash.[44] It was first thought that Fossett may have also been wearing a Swiss-made Breitling Emergency watch with a manually operated ELT that had a range of up to 90 miles (140 km), but no signal was received from it, and on September 13, Fossett's wife, Peggy, issued a statement clarifying that he owns such a watch, but was not wearing it when he took off for the Labor Day flight.
Fossett took off with enough fuel for four to five hours of flight, according to Civil Air Patrol spokesperson Maj. Cynthia S. Ryan. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesperson noted that Fossett apparently did not file a flight plan, and was not required to do so. On the second day, teams of ten aircraft searched but found no trace of wreckage after scouring a large area of rugged terrain. By the fourth day, the Civil Air Patrol was using fourteen aircraft in the search effort, including one equipped with the ARCHER system that could automatically scan detailed imaging for a given signature of the missing aircraft. By September 10, search crews had found eight previously uncharted crash sites, some of which are decades old, but none related to Fossett's disappearance. All told, about two dozen aircraft were involved in the search.
On September 7, Google Inc. helped the search for the aviator through its connections to contractors that provide satellite imagery for its Google Earth software. Richard Branson, a British billionaire and friend of Fossett, said he and others were coordinating efforts with Google to see if any of the high-resolution images might include Fossett's aircraft.
On September 8, the first of a series of new high-resolution imagery from DigitalGlobe was made available via the Amazon Mechanical Turk beta website so that users could flag potential areas of interest for searching, in what is known as crowdsourcing. By September 11, up to 50,000 people had joined the effort, scrutinizing more than 300,000 278-foot-square squares of the imagery. Peter Cohen of Amazon believed that by September 11, the entire search area had been covered at least once. Amazon's search effort was shut down the week of October 29, without any measurable success.
On September 12, survival experts opined that Fossett was likely to be dead.
On September 17, the Nevada Wing of the Civil Air Patrol reported that they were suspending all flights in connection with their search operations, but National Guard search flights, private search flights and ground searches continued.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) began a preliminary investigation into the likely crash of the plane that Fossett was flying. The preliminary report originally stated that Fossett was "presumed fatally injured and the aircraft substantially damaged", but was subsequently revised to remove that assumption. Fossett's friend and fellow explorer, Sir Richard Branson, made similar public statements.
On September 19, 2007, authorities confirmed they would stop actively looking for Fossett in the Nevada Desert, but would keep air crews on standby to fly to possible crash sites. "Nobody is giving up on this man", said department spokesman. "The search is going to continue. It's just going to be scaled back", he said. On September 30, however, it was announced that after further analysis of radar data from the day of his disappearance, ground teams and two aircraft had resumed the search.
On October 2, 2007, the Civil Air Patrol announced it had called off its search operation
On August 23, 2008, almost a year after Fossett went missing, twenty-eight friends and admirers conducted a foot search based on new clues gathered by the team. That search concluded on September 10.

On May 1, 2008, the Las Vegas Review-Journal attributed to Nevada State Governor Jim Gibbons's spokesman, Ben Kieckhefer, the Governor's decision to direct the state to charge the family of the late Steve Fossett for the $687,000 expense of the search for Fossett.Kieckhefer later played that early report down, when he told the Tahoe Daily Tribune that Nevada did not intend to demand an involuntary payment from Fossett's widow, but that such a payment would be voluntary: "We are going to request that they help offset some of these expenses, considering the scope of the search, the overall cost as well as our ongoing budget difficulties." Hotelier Barron Hilton, from whose ranch Fossett had departed on the day he went missing, had previously volunteered $200,000 to help pay for the search costs.
In his later comments to the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Kieckhefer denied outright that a bill for the family was being prepared, and he said, "It will probably be in the form of a letter," which Kieckhefer indicated would include a financial outline of the steps taken by the state, the associated costs, and a mention of the state's ongoing budget difficulties.
Days prior to this announcement, state Emergency Management Director Frank Siracusa noted that "there is no precedent where government will go after people for costs just because they have money to pay for it. You get lost, and we look for you. It is a service your taxpayer dollars pay for," although he conceded that legally any decision would rest with Gibbons. At an April 10, 2008 Legislature's Interim Finance Committee hearing, Siracusa indicated that he had hired an independent auditor to review costs incurred by the state in searching for Fossett, but added, "We are doing an audit but not because we are critical of anybody or suspect something was done wrong". Chairman Morse Arberry queried Siracusa as to why, since they lacked funds, had the state not billed the Fossett family for its search costs, to which Siracusa did not directly respond. In his later interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, he stated that his comments to the Committee may have given the false impression that he had hired an auditor for the purpose of later challenging the state's financial burden incurred on its behalf by the National Guard during the search operation. Upon interview regarding reports that the state would seek payment, Arberry was recorded as stating that he was glad to hear steps were being taken to try to recoup some of the costs.
The Nevada search cost $1.6 million, for Silver State, "the largest search and rescue effort ever conducted for a person within the U.S." Jim Gibbons asked Fossett's estate to shoulder $487,000 but it declined, saying Fossett's wife had already spent $1 million on private searching.

On September 29, 2008, a hiker found three crumpled identification cards in the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range in California about 80 miles (130 km) south-southeast of Fossett's take-off site. The items were confirmed as belonging to Fossett and included an FAA-issued card and about ten $100 bills.
On October 1, late in the day, air search teams spotted wreckage on the ground at coordinates 37°40′2.8″N 119°08′0″W / 37.667444, -119.13333 (Steve Fossett Aircraft Crash Site)Coordinates: 37°40′2.8″N 119°08′0″W / 37.667444, -119.13333 (Steve Fossett Aircraft Crash Site) at a height of 10,100 feet (3,100 m) and within about 500 yards (460 m) of where the personal items were initially found. Later that evening the teams confirmed identification of the tail number of Fossett's plane. The crash site is on a slope beneath the southwest side of a ridge line (600 feet (183 m) lower than the top of the ridge) in the Ansel Adams Wilderness and in Madera County, California. Other named places near the crash site include Emily Lake (0.7 miles (1.1 km) northeast), Minaret Lake (1.8 miles (2.9 km) west-southwest), the Minaret peaks (3 miles (5 km) west), Devils Postpile National Monument (4.5 miles (7.2 km) southeast) and the town of Mammoth Lakes (the nearest populated place, 9 miles (14 km) east-southeast). The site is 10 miles (16 km) east of Yosemite National Park.
Over the next two days, ground searchers found four bone fragments that were about 2 inches (5 cm) by 1.5 inches (4 cm) in size. However, DNA tests subsequently showed that these fragments were not human.
On October 29, search teams recovered two large human bones that they suspected might belong to Fossett. Tennis shoes with animal bite marks on them were also recovered. On November 3, California police coroners said that DNA testing of the two bones by a California Department of Justice forensics laboratory confirmed them to be those of Fossett. Madera County Sheriff John Anderson said Fossett would have died on impact, adding that it was not unusual for animals to drag away remains. more

Myron Cope died he was 79

Myron Cope born Myron Sidney Kopelman has died he was 79. Cope was an American sports journalist, radio personality, and sportscaster who is best known for being "the voice of the Pittsburgh Steelers."

(January 23, 1929 - February 27, 2008),

Cope was a color commentator for the Steelers' radio broadcasts for 35 years. He was known for his distinctive, nasally voice with an identifiable Pittsburgh accent, idiosyncratic speech pattern, and a level of excitement rarely exhibited in the broadcast booth. Cope's most notable catch phrase was "yoi" . Cope was the first football announcer inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Cope's autobiography, Double Yoi!, was published in 2002. Legislation honoring Cope is currently pending before the United States House of Representatives, having already passed in the United States Senate.

Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Cope graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School and the University of Pittsburgh. He was originally a journalist before becoming a broadcaster. His first job was in Erie, Pennsylvania, with the Daily Times, and by the summer of 1951, he was working for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Cope then became a freelance journalist, most notably for Sports Illustrated, the Saturday Evening Post, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In 1963, Cope received the E.P. Dutton Prize for "Best Magazine Sportswriting in the Nation," for a portrayal of Cassius Clay. Cope spent the 1983 college football season as a color analyst for the Pittsburgh Panthers. In 1987, he was named by the Hearst Corporation as a noted literary achiever, along with Mark Twain, Jack London, Frederick Remington, Walter Winchell, and Sidney Sheldon. At its 50th Anniversary, Sports Illustrated selected Cope’s profile of Howard Cosell as one of the 50 best written works ever published in the magazine.

Cope married Mildred Lindberg of Charleston in 1965, and the couple moved to Mt. Lebanon. In 1972, the Copes moved to nearby Upper St. Clair. Mildred died on September 20, 1994. In 1999, Cope moved back to Mt. Lebanon, to a condo in the Woodridge neighborhood. He remained there until his final days, when he entered a Mt. Lebanon nursing home, and is claimed by Mt. Lebanon as a "native."

Cope had three children, Elizabeth, Martha Ann, and Daniel. Martha Ann died shortly after her birth. His son, Daniel, was born with severe autism; he has lived most of his life at the Allegheny Valley School, an institution specializing in intellectual developmental disabilities. Cope devoted much of his time and energy to Pittsburgh causes addressing autism, and spoke candidly about his experiences as the parent of an autistic child and his efforts to better educate the public at large about autism.

Cope played a large role in the invention of the Terrible Towel. Needing a way to excite the fans during a 1975 playoff game against the Baltimore Colts, Cope urged fans to take yellow dish towels to the game and wave them throughout.Originally, Cope wanted to sell rubber Jack Lambert masks, but realizing the high costs for the masks, opted for the inexpensive option for the Terrible Towel. The Terrible Towel has gained much popularity since its invention and "is arguably the best-known fan symbol of any major pro sports team".

In 1996, Cope gave the rights to The Terrible Towel to the Allegheny Valley School in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. The school provides care for more than 900 peoplewith mental retardation and physical disabilities, including Cope's autistic son. Proceeds from the Terrible Towel have helped raise more than $2.2 million for the school.

Cope announced his retirement from broadcasting on June 20, 2005, citing health concerns. Eight days later, it was announced that Cope was the recipient of the Pete Rozelle Award for "long-time exceptional contributions to radio and television in professional football." Upon his retirement, the Steelers did not replace Cope, opting instead to downsize to a two-man broadcast team.
On October 31, 2005, Cope was honored for his lifetime accomplishments at halftime of the contest between the Steelers and the Ravens. In addition, the Steelers produced a special commemorative edition Terrible Towel with his familiar expressions printed on it. As seen on the towel, production was limited to 35,000 towels, representing 35 years of service to the Steelers. Later that season when the team advanced to Super Bowl XL, many Steeler fans wanted Cope to come out of retirement just to call "The one for the thumb." Cope declined partially for health reasons and partially to enjoy retirement.
Cope died of respiratory failure at a Mt. Lebanon nursing home on the morning of February 27, 2008, at the age of 79. In the days following his death, many ceremonies were held in his honor, including the local sporting events of the Pittsburgh Panthers college basketball team. Two days after his death, hundreds of people gathered in heavy snow in front of City Hall in Pittsburgh to honor Cope; included in the ceremony was one minute of silent Terrible Towel waving. His funeral, which was held on February 29, 2008, was private. Due to Cope's large impact on the Pittsburgh area, Bob Smizik, a local sportswriter wrote,

"Had the secret of the service and its site not been kept,...tens of thousands would have descended on the...funeral home... Such was the affection for Cope,...that the parkway in both directions would have been clogged. Greentree and Cochran roads, the two main arteries leading to the funeral home, would have been parking lots."


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ted Rogers, died he was 75;

Edward Samuel "Ted" Rogers, Jr., OC, BA, LL.B, D.Sc was the President and CEO of Rogers Communications Inc., and the fourth richest person in Canada in terms of net worth. His father Edward S. Rogers, Sr. is regarded as the founder of the company, although the radio station that he founded, CFRB, is now owned by another Canadian company competitor Astral Media.

(May 27, 1933 – December 2, 2008)

Rogers, Jr was born in Toronto, Ontario, Rogers was educated at Upper Canada College, where he was a member of Seaton's House. Rogers graduated from Trinity College, at the University of Toronto, in 1956 with a Bachelor of Arts degree. While an undergrad, Rogers joined the Sigma Chi Fraternity. In 1979 he was named a Significant Sig—the 21st Canadian to be inducted. In 1960, while still a student at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, he bought all the shares in local radio station (CHFI) that pioneered the use of FM (frequency modulation) at a time when only 5% of the Toronto households had FM receivers. By 1965, he was in the cable TV business; Rogers Communications was established in 1967 and has grown into one of Canada's largest media conglomerates.

Rogers had been the owner of the Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball team since September 1, 2000, when Rogers Communications Inc. purchased 80% of the baseball club with the Labatt Brewing Company Ltd. maintaining 20% interest and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce relinquishing its 10% share. Since the 2003 season, he owned 100% of the team. Moreover, the Blue Jays' home ballpark, SkyDome, was renamed Rogers Centre after Rogers' firm purchased the stadium (including naming rights).
In 2006, Rogers was inducted into Canada's Telecommunications Hall of Fame, along with his father Edward S. Rogers Sr.

On May 29, 2007, Ted Rogers and Loretta Rogers made a gift of $15 million to Ryerson University. The donation was directed towards the Faculty of Business, which was renamed the Ted Rogers School of Management at the donors' request. The majority of the gift will be used to establish 52 new undergraduate and graduate student awards and scholarships. The gift also aims to establish a new research chair to seed academic initiatives in management research.
Rogers suffered from congestive heart failure and died overnight on December 2, 2008, at his home in Toronto. more

Justin Mark Eilers ( formerly with the UFC and WEC) died he was 30

Justin Mark Eilers was an American professional mixed martial arts fighter, formerly with the UFC and WEC. Eilers trained with Miletich Fighting Systems in Bettendorf, Iowa.[3]

(June 28, 1978 - December 26, 2008)

Justin Eilers was born and raised in Boise, Idaho, and developed an early love of football. He began wrestling in the sixth grade and through high school, but he missed a football scholarship out of high school due to his low SAT scores, and soon took up karate at a local school. He began competing in small full contact shows around Idaho, where he met up and coming fighter Jens Pulver, who was fighting with the same promotion.
After being accepted to Butte Junior College near Chico, California, Eilers left mixed martial arts behind for football, and was recruited by Iowa State University as a linebacker. He would go on to play for Iowa State for the next four years, but between college and the NFL, Eilers took time off to fully heal a shoulder injury. It was during this time that he had another chance meeting with Jens Pulver, who was now a popular fighter in the UFC. Pulver urged Eilers to try fighting again, and after a few months of training, Eilers made his MMA debut in 2002 facing classic UFC fighter Dan Severn at Victory Fighting Championships 3 (a local Iowa MMA organization). Eilers would lose the fight via decision, but the experience pushed Eilers to focus full time on the sport of mixed martial arts. Just one month later Eilers would return to MMA competition, taking a quick KO victory over Jeff Gerlick at an Extreme Challenge event.
Eilers went undefeated in his next 4 fights, before losing a close split decision victory to Cabbage Correira at SuperBrawl 30. Coming off the loss to Cabbage, Eilers won his next five fights, all by KO, and was signed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2004. His first fight in the octagon was against an old friend from high school, Mike Kyle at UFC 49. Eilers knocked Kyle out in just 1:14 of the first round, but was suspended after the fight by the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to injury sustained to his hand in the fight. He returned in February 2005 at UFC 51 to face top heavyweight contender Paul Buentello. Three minutes into the first round, Eilers was caught by a right hook from Buentello, which ended the fight. Four months later at UFC 53, Eilers would get a title shot, facing Andrei Arlovski. Unfortunately he would suffer another KO loss at the hands of the heavyweight champion Arlovski. Eilers suffered extensive injuries in this match, breaking both hands, his jaw, and tearing his ACL.
Following his loss to Arlovski, Eilers took 8 months off, and returned to the octagon at UFC 57 to face Brandon Vera. In yet another brutal knock out, Eilers was dazed by a high kick to the top right side of the head and then dropped by a vicious knee to the same area.
Eilers was released from the UFC in 2006, and returned to MMA competition at Combat in the Cage 2, finally scoring a KO victory (his first victory in almost 2 years) over Sherman Pendergarst.
In June 2006, Eilers faced Jimmy Ambriz at World Extreme Cagefighting 21, taking a TKO victory due to doctor stoppage. In his next five fights Eilers proceeded to beat Rocky Batastini (by submission due to strikes), Wade Hamilton (by submission due to strikes), Josh Diekman (by TKO due to strikes), John Dixon (by submission due to strikes) and Jihoon Kim (by submission due to strikes).
Eilers' winning streak came to an end when, on March 9, 2007, he lost to Pedro Rizzo by unanimous decision. The fight took place at the début show of the Undisputed Arena Fighting Championships, and was held in Dallas, Texas.

On December 26, 2008, Eilers was fatally shot in the chest at an acquaintance’s home in Nampa, Idaho, during an apparent domestic dispute. James Robert Malec, who owned the house, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Evan Tanner died at 37 - Former UFC champion Mixed Martial Arts ...

Evan Loyd Tanner was an American professional mixed martial arts fighter. He was a former UFC Middleweight and USWF Heavyweight champion with a professional record of 32 wins and 8 losses. He was also the first American to win the Pancrase Neo-Blood tournament in Tokyo, Japan.

Tanner won his first championship when he defeated Heath Herring at USWF 7, and went on to successfully defend that title five times. Tanner then won the UFC Middleweight title at UFC 51, stopping David Terrell with strikes in the first round.

Tanner died of hyperthermia (heat exposure) in a desert near Brawley, CA, in early September, 2008.

(February 11, 1971 – c. September 5, 2008)

Tanner was born in Amarillo, Texas and graduated from Caprock High School in 1989 where he won the Texas State Championships in wrestling as a junior and senior despite only entering the sport in his sophomore year of high school. Tanner attended college but dropped out because he felt that he was not receiving a "real world" education that he was searching for. After dropping out, he traveled the country and eventually returned to Amarillo where he entered a local mixed martial arts tournament. What he thought would be an isolated event served as a springboard to his professional career. In 2008, he relocated to Oceanside, California.

Tanner, with a wrestling background, began fighting in 1997 when he was convinced by friends to enter a local MMA tournament, hosted by the now defunct Unified Shoot Wrestling Federation. Tanner won the tournament, defeating three fighters including future UFC Heavyweight contender Paul Buentello, in one night.

After his initial success, Tanner taught himself submission and grappling techniques using instructional videos created by the famous Gracie family. He continued to fight in local shows and tournaments in Texas and Iowa before traveling across the world to Japan to compete in the Pancrase organization. Tanner won five fights overseas and competed in the USWF once more before being asked to join the UFC.

Tanner made his UFC debut in 1999 at UFC 18, submitting fellow Amarillo native Darrell Gholar by rear naked choke in the first round. Tanner's next fight in the UFC was against Valerie Ignatov at UFC 19. Ignatov was widely known for his leg submissions and because of this, Tanner decided to fight barefoot for the first time in his career, citing that shoes sometimes make it easier for an opponent to gain a submission.

Tanner fought once more in Pancrase and defended his title two more times in the USWF before deciding to take the first of multiple breaks from fighting in his career. He returned to action in July of 2000 and remained undefeated in the USWF, successfully keeping his Heavyweight belt in victories over Raoul Romero and Vinny Nixon. Tanner made his next appearance in the UFC at UFC 29, beating Lance Gibson by TKO.

With three victories in the UFC, Tanner received a title shot against UFC Light Heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz at UFC 30. Unfortunately, Tanner suffered his first UFC loss in just 32 seconds, being knocked unconscious due to a high level slam by Ortiz. It was after this defeat that Tanner began to become a more disciplined fighter.

Also during that time, Tanner began training with Oregon-based Team Quest. He returned to the Octagon at UFC 34, taking on Homer Moore, who he stopped in the second round with an armbar. At UFC 36 he defeated Elvis Sinosic by TKO(cut), and at UFC 38 won a unanimous decision over Chris Haseman in an unaired undercard bout. In his next fight, at UFC 42, he faced Rich Franklin. He was defeated by TKO(strikes) in the first round.

After his loss to Franklin, Tanner decided that his frame was not large enough for Light Heavyweight, and decided to drop to Middleweight, where he would be more physically imposing than many of the opponents in that division.

Upon becoming a Middleweight, Tanner faced Phil Baroni in consecutive fights at UFC 45 and UFC 48 respectively. Both of the bouts between the two had their share of controversy. In the early minutes of their fight at UFC 45, Baroni was in control as he stunned and bloodied Tanner. However, Tanner was able to regain his composure and take Baroni to the ground where he threw a series of unanswered punches and elbows. After a brief verbal exchange between Baroni and referee Larry Landless the fight was stopped and Tanner was awarded the victory.

Immediately after the fight, Baroni contended that he did not submit and in the confusion struck Landless in the face twice. Baroni maintained that it was a verbal miscommunication and he never asked for the fight to be stopped. To quell the controversy, the UFC agreed to give Baroni a rematch at UFC 48.

Their matchup at UFC 48 showed Tanner to be the clearcut victor. It was noted many times during the broadcast that Baroni did not look like himself. After the fight, Baroni stated that his gameplan was to prevent fatigue in the earlier rounds by pacing himself. Tanner credited his ability to stand with Baroni to training with his newly hired boxing coach, Curtis Crawford.

After winning these fights, Tanner was victorious for a third time in the Middleweight division against Robbie Lawler at UFC 50, submitting him with a triangle choke. Shortly after the Lawler fight, Tanner left Team Quest and began training on his own.

Because of his success, Tanner was given a shot at the vacant UFC Middleweight championship against David Terrell at UFC 51. Despite being the underdog, Tanner overcame losing his mouthpiece early on and a guillotine choke that almost ended the fight. He went on to control Terrell on the ground against the cage, delivering punches and elbows until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight in the final seconds of the first round. Tanner became the first UFC Middleweight champion since Murilo Bustamante held the title before leaving for PRIDE Fighting Championships in 2002.

Tanner was next given the opportunity to avenge his loss to Rich Franklin at UFC 53, who had also decided to drop down to the Middleweight division after fighting as a Light Heavyweight for years. Tanner was able to knock Franklin down with a right hand in the first round of the bout but Franklin took control from there, dominating Tanner until the fight was stopped by the ringside doctor.

Tanner's fight against Franklin at UFC 53 was for more than just the Middleweight title, as the winner of the fight would also become one of the coaches for the The Ultimate Fighter 2 reality show. Tanner had expressed a great deal of interest in being one of the coaches, stating that the opportunity would give him tremendous exposure. Franklin subsequently became a coach on the show along with then UFC Welterweight champion Matt Hughes.

After losing the title, Tanner began training with American Top Team, but lost his next fight to David Loiseau at Ultimate fight Night 2. Tanner was ahead on points until the fight was stopped in the second round due to a cut Tanner received from a Loiseau elbow. After this defeat, Tanner took time away to deal with some personal issues but stated that he would become an official member of the Chute Boxe team.

Tanner returned to the UFC in April of 2006 at UFC 59, defeating Justin Levens by way of triangle choke. Levens was a late replacement for Jeremy Horn who was originally scheduled to fight Tanner but was forced to withdraw after a training injury.

On December 29, 2006, Tanner unveiled plans to set up a mixed martial arts training camp that would reside in his house in Gresham, Oregon. The focus would be setting up a home for disadvantaged athletes and young men at risk. Tanner traveled from Las Vegas to Gresham in the following weeks and began to set up the project. Tanner remodeled and refurnished the house so it would be fit for the athletes to live in.

In February 2007, Tanner announced further details about the foundation. Twelve athletes would reside in the house from six different weight classes. (Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight, Middleweight, Welterweight, Lightweight, and Featherweight).

In a March 2007 interview with MMA Weekly, Tanner was asked about the possibility of fighting again but indicated that he wanted to focus on developing his foundation. However, he did hint that he would be training year-round with the athletes he would be coaching and that it might only be a matter of time before he returned. UFC president Dana White was interviewed by CBS Sportsline one week later and stated that Tanner would be welcomed back whenever he was ready.

On May 11, 2007, further foundation development was put on hold by Tanner, citing his own training and a bad experience with the first fighter that was invited to the house. Tanner announced through his official website that he would return to active competition and continue his quest to regain the UFC Middleweight title.

On November 8, 2007, Tanner announced the signing of a new 4 fight deal with the UFC. In addition to his signing with the UFC Tanner revealed that he intended to accept no corporate sponsorships in favor of starting "Team Tanner" intended as an exclusive fan club to be represented in his upcoming fights.

His first fight back in the UFC was at UFC 82, where he lost to Japanese fighter Yushin Okami by KO in the second round.

In what would be his final fight, Tanner lost to Kendall Grove in a split decision at The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale on June 21, 2008. In a post-match interview, Tanner stated that he felt "flat" throughout the fight, and that he had begun wondering if his two years of serious alcohol abuse had damaged his body past the point where he could compete at the level he once had.
In the second-to-last entry posted on his Spike-TV blog on August 16, Tanner wrote,

"I'm hoping that very soon I'll be sitting out in the quiet of the desert beneath a deep blue midnight sky, listening to the calm desert breeze. The idea going into the desert came to me soon after I moved to Oceanside. It was motivated by my friend Sara's talk of treasure hunting and lost gold, and my own insatiable appetite for adventure and exploration. I began to imagine what might be found in the deep reaches of the untracked desert. It became an obsession of sorts.

"Treasure" doesn't necessarily refer to something material.

Today, I ran to the store to pick up a few things, and with the lonesome, quiet desert thoughts on my mind, I couldn't help but be struck with their brutally stark contrast to my current surroundings, the amazing congestion in which we exist day to day. The landscape as far as I could see, crowded, choked, with me and the rest of the species, an almost writhing mass of organisms, fighting over space and resources,....on the highways, in the parking lots, on the sidewalks, and in the ailse of the stores. And to think, there are still places in the world where man has not been, where he has left no footprints, where the mysteries stand secure, untouched by human eyes. I want to go to these places, the quiet, timeless, ageless places, and sit, letting silence and solitude be my teachers.

Tanner had recently purchased a dirt bike, and on September 3 he rode into the desert region north of Brawley, California to go camping. According to Tanner's manager John Hayner, Tanner called that afternoon to say that his bike had run out of gas, and that he would accordingly walk back to his camp. Temperatures that day reached 118 degrees Fahrenheit (48C), and friends became concerned and reported Tanner missing after he failed to contact them. His body was discovered by a Marine helicopter on September 8. The Imperial County coroner determined Tanner's time of death to be sometime between late September 4 and early September 5, but the legal date of death was recorded as September 8. Tanner's body was found near Clapp Springs with empty water bottles. Tanner had reportedly intended to refill his bottles at the springs before heading back to the provisions at his campsite, but the springs were unexpectedly dry, and Tanner text messaged a friend informing him of this. However, Evan felt he could make it back to camp if he traveled during the later hours of the evening, refusing offers at that time to send help. Friends were told that if they had not heard from Evan by the next morning and could not reach him by 8am, they then needed to contact Search and Rescue. Rescuers found Evan at a spot where he stopped to rest. During that rest, he succumbed to the excessive heat, slipping over onto his side into the position that rescuers found him in. An empty pouch of water was nearby. According to the military article that was posted, Evan's motorcycle was at his camp, and within his provisions were ample supplies of water. The Imperial County sheriff's office official cause of death was cited as heat exposure.


Georgia Frontiere died she was 80 she was the First Female N.F.L. Owner

Georgia Frontiere (born Violet Frances Irwin) sometimes referred to as Madame Ram, was the co-owner and chairwoman of the St. Louis Rams from 1979 to 2008. She was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and grew up in a middle-class home, the daughter of an insurance salesman and entertainer Lucia Pamela. When she was 15 years old, her parents divorced and a shaken Frontiere eloped with her boyfriend, a U.S. Marine who died in World War II. After going to college at Pepperdine University for business and working for several years as a secretary, Frontiere decided that she wanted to enter show business. She moved to Los Angeles and later Miami, where she worked as a dancer, a singer, a weather forecaster, and in various other jobs.
(November 21, 1927 – January 18, 2008),

In 1957 Frontiere, a well-known Miami dancer, began running with an elite crowd. It was Joseph P. Kennedy, father of future president John F. Kennedy, who introduced Frontiere to Carroll Rosenbloom, NFL owner and millionaire uniforms manufacturer. Their marriage was her sixth.

Frontiere inherited ownership of the team, then based in Anaheim, California, in 1979 after the death of her husband. Rosenbloom, an avid ocean swimmer, died mysteriously in the Atlantic. Although no evidence of foul play was uncovered it is rumored that Rosenbloom, a high-stakes gambler, was killed over failure to repay debts. The PBS series Frontline investigated the story and reported mafia involvement. Two months after Rosenbloom's death, Georgia married the musician and Hollywood composer Dominic Frontiere and became Georgia Frontiere. They divorced in 1988.

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Frontiere moved the Rams to St. Louis. The city of St. Louis provided a publicly funded stadium for $260 million, and more than $22 million was guaranteed in annual luxury-suite and ticket revenues. In the 1999 season, under head coach Dick Vermeil and MVP quarterback Kurt Warner, the Rams beat the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV.

In 2004 Frontiere was diagnosed with breast cancer. She died, aged 80, on January 18, 2008 at UCLA Medical Center.

Pete Newell, coach and innovator, died he was 93

Peter Francis Newell was an American college men's basketball coach and basketball instructional coach. He coached for 15 years at the University of San Francisco, Michigan State University and the University of California, Berkeley, compiling an overall record of 234 wins and 123 losses. He led the University of California to the 1959 NCAA men's basketball championship, and a year later coached the gold medal-winning U.S. team at the 1960 Summer Olympics. After his coaching career ended he ran a world-famous instructional basketball camp and served as a consultant and scout for several National Basketball Association (NBA) teams. He is often considered to be one of the most influential figures in the history of basketball.

(August 3, 1915 – November 17, 2008)

He was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and grew up in Los Angeles, California. Encouraged by his mother, he had small roles in several movies before he turned ten. Newell attended both high school and college in Los Angeles, California, and was a classmate of Phil Woolpert at Loyola Marymount University (then called Loyola University). He played on the basketball team.

After serving in the United States Navy from 1942 to 1946, Newell was appointed head men's basketball coach at the University of San Francisco in 1946. During his four-year tenure at USF, Newell compiled a 70-37 record and coached the Dons to the 1949 National Invitation Tournament championship, beating his alma mater, Loyola.In 1950 he accepted an appointment as head coach at Michigan State University, where he stayed until 1954.

Newell returned to the West Coast in 1954 when he was hired as head coach at the University of California, Berkeley. Newell was very successful at Cal, compiling a 119-44 record, winning four consecutive Pac-8 titles from 1957 to 1960, and leading the Golden Bears to two straight appearances in the NCAA tournament championship game—which they won in 1959. Newell himself earned national Coach of the Year honors in 1960. At Berkeley, he became a faculty initiate of the Nu Chapter of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity where player Darrall Imhoff was a member.

Newell also coached the U.S. men's Olympic basketball team to a gold medal in the 1960 Summer Olympics, leading a talented squad that featured future National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, and Jerry Lucas. His win in the Olympics made him one of only three coaches to win the "Triple Crown" of NCAA, NIT and Olympic championships. Newell is also known to have introduced the reverse-action offense in the late nineteen fifties.

After being advised by doctors to give up coaching because of stress, he served as the Athletic Director at Cal from 1960 to 1968.

Newell's wife Florence died in 1984. His four sons have all been involved with basketball. His grandson, Pete Newell Jr., led the Santa Cruz High School boys' basketball team to the California state championship in 2005.

In 1979, Newell was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. An annual college basketball tournament is held in his honor in Oakland, California, and frequent participants in the Pete Newell Challenge include USF and Cal—the very schools where Newell coached. In addition in 1987 Cal dedicated the court in Harmon Gym as "Pete Newell Court".

Since 2000, the National Association of Basketball Coaches has annually presented the Pete Newell Big Man Award to the top frontcourt player in the nation.

In an interview with Mike Greenberg on ESPN's Mike and Mike in the Morning on January 2, 2007, Bob Knight singled Newell out as one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history. Knight stated that although he had not won as many championships as some other coaches he felt "he was as good as anybody who's ever coached this game." Newell's influence on basketball is often stated in what would seem to be almost exaggerated terms by many Hall of Fame coaches and players. However, his contributions to the game of basketball have been so great that according to many Newell has perhaps had as much or more influence on the game of basketball as any person in the modern era.

In 1999, author Bruce Jenkins published a biography of Newell entitled A Good Man.

Newell died at Rancho Santa Fe, California on November 17, 2008, at age 93.

Dick Enderle was found dead at his home he was 60

Richard Allyn Enderle was an American guard who played eight seasons in the National Football League. Enderle attended the University of Minnesota.

(November 6, 1947 in Breckenridge, Minnesota-September 4, 2008)

Enderle was found dead at his home in Manhattan, New York on September 4, 2008.

Harry Skip Caray Jr died he was 69

Harry Christopher "Skip" Caray, Jr. died he was 69. Caray was an American sportscaster, best known for his long career as a radio and television play-by-play announcer for the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball. He was the son of baseball announcer Harry Caray, and the father of fellow Braves broadcaster Chip Caray; another son, Josh Caray, is an announcer for the Rome Braves.
(August 12, 1939 - August 3, 2008)

Skip Caray grew up in baseball as the son of Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Caray, who would routinely refer to his son at 8:30pm during every broadcast by saying, "Good night, Skippy," a phrase for which Skip was teased throughout his adolescence.

He studied television and radio at the University of Missouri where he received a degree in journalism. He began his career in St. Louis calling Saint Louis University and St. Louis Hawks basketball. In 1968, Caray moved with the Hawks to Atlanta, where he also called Atlanta Flames hockey games.

Skip Caray's broadcasts were characterized by his witty and sarcastic sense of humor, a personality trait that endeared him to most fans, but alienated him from some.For example, during a particularly long losing streak in the 1980s, Skip declared at the start of a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, "And, like lambs to the slaughter, the Braves take the field". More recently, in a game against the Florida Marlins, the Braves had loaded the bases, to which Caray quipped, "The bases are loaded, just like (Marlins manager) Jack McKeon probably wishes he was." During the 2004 season, Caray frequently made fun of Braves relief pitcher, Jung Bong, declaring every time the opposing team got a hit against him, "that's another hit off of Bong". In 2008, a player popped a fly ball so high that Skip said "That wouldnt've been a home run in a phone booth." Other frequent targets of Skip's jokes included the Montreal Expos' mascot Youppi, New York Mets fans, professional wrestling, TBS baseball broadcast producer Glenn Diamond, and the post game B-movie frequently shown on TBS during the 1980s. In one celebrated instance, in order to get back at Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Ron Hudspeth for a critical column, Caray paid to have an airplane tow a banner above Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium during a Braves game which read, "For a good time, call Rona Hudspeth," and included Ron's actual phone number.

Among other memorable lines, Caray said of Braves pitcher Charlie Kerfeld, who was 6'4" and 245 lbs., "Boy, he is big enough to go to work." And during a losing streak, after talking about a promotion in which Braves fans could come on the field and meet the players, Caray commented, "The way things are going, we may make the fans go through a metal detector on the way to the field."

Skip was also known for his tendency to identify the hometowns of fans who catch foul balls during Braves games in jest. Fans who reside in the metro Atlanta area were identified by a random suburb, though there was no legitimacy behind these references. Similarly, when daytime home games went long, Caray would routinely give a "traffic report" at exactly 5 o'clock on radio broadcasts. It consisted of him rattling off a random list of major Atlanta arteries, and describing each one as hopelessly backed up.

In addition to his play-by-play duties, Caray also hosted a pre-game call in show, until 2004, during which he was notorious for insulting on-air fans with curt and sarcastic responses, particularly when asked baseball questions of the simplest order, such as "how do you calculate E.R.A.?" or "could you please explain the infield fly rule?"

Judging from his words over the air, Caray had a distaste for the sports entertainment empires ESPN and FOX.

Skip Caray's rather distinctive nasal voice has been parodied by former SportsCenter anchor Rich Eisen during highlights for Atlanta Braves games.

On August 3, 2008, the Atlanta Braves announced that Caray had died. His wife, Paula, reported to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that on Sunday afternoon when she thought her husband was napping, she looked out the window and saw a bird feeder not hanging where it should be and thought it had been blown down by the wind. When she stood up, she noticed her husband lying on the ground next to the bird feeder. He had been suffering from failing health for nearly a year prior, but returned to work for the 2008 season, calling a game on radio as recently as 3 days before his death. Tributes to Caray were given on all of the Atlanta television stations that evening and on WGST-AM the next morning.

Shortly after Caray's death, the Atlanta Braves began wearing a memorial patch on their uniforms that read "SKIP", which appeared on the sleeve opposite the "BEACH" patch honoring Jim Beauchamp that they had been wearing since the beginning of the 2008 season.

Chris “Flash” Richardson of the famous Harlem Globetrotters died he was 28

Chris “Flash” Richardson, a member of the famous Harlem Globetrotters has died in his sleep while on tour in Japan.
The cause of death was not yet confirmed, although a Harlem Globetrotters spokesman said he likely died of natural causes, which is interesting given he was 28 at the time of his death.
The Harlem Globetrotters were at a U.S. military base in Sasebo, Japan, as part of an annual tour.
Chris “Flash” Richardson previously played for University of Nevada Las Vegas and joined the Globetrotters shortly after his college career ended. He was best known for his dunking skills.

Carlos Manuel Santiago died he was 82

Carlos was born March 2, 1926 in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

(March 2, 1926 - December 21, 2008)

Santiago was selected in 1944 to play for the Puerto Rico All-Star team in the Caribbean World Series, played that season in Caracas, Venezuela. When he returned from Caracas, he signed a professional contract with the Mayaguez Indians for the 1944-45 season. Following the 1945 season, Santiago traveled to New York on a barnstorming trip with other Puerto Rican All-Stars. He was scouted by Negro League veteran John Beckwith who signed him to play for the Atlanta Black Crackers. Midway through the 1945 season, Santiago left the Black Crackers and signed with the New York Cubans of the Negro National League. He played second base and shortstop for the Cubans in 1945 and 1946.

In 1947, Santiago signed with the Stamford Bombers of the Class B Colonial League. This was the same season that Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers; Santiago was the first Afro-Caribbean Puerto Rican to break the color line in "organized" baseball. The Colonial League started in 1947 and folded on July 16, 1950. Santiago hit .341 during the abbreviated 1950 season.

In 1951 Bill Veeck and Lou Boudreau invited Santiago to Cleveland's spring training camp. However, Santiago was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Korea. Santiago served for 25 months and was honorably discharged as a sergeant. Santiago returned from Korea and continued playing professionally until 1960.

After his retirement as a player, Santiago held many positions in professional baseball. He was general manager of Mayaguez for three years. He served as National Instructor of Baseball in Columbia for four years. He scouted for the California Angels for three years.

Santiago was elected to the Puerto Rican Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993. Until his passing, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Negro League Baseball Players Association.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

John Costelloe's (Johnny Cakes ) died he was 47

The Brooklyn actor who played Johnny Cakes - the gay-fireman lover of a mob capo on "The Sopranos" - killed himself in a holiday tragedy that has stunned family and friends.
The front door to John Costelloe's Sunset Park home was still sealed with police stickers yesterday, more than a week after the rugged 47-year-old actor committed suicide.
Costelloe, a former FDNY firefighter, shot himself in the head in his basement bedroom on Dec. 16, cops and pals said.
"It's beyond me. This is too much for me to handle right now," the actor's dad, Michael Costelloe, 77, said yesterday.
Firefighter and former colleague Matt Dwyer couldn't believe his friend was gone. more

Harold Pinter ( playwright/director)died he was 78

Harold Pinter died he was 78. Pinter was a world-renowned English playwright, screenwriter, actor, director, poet, political activist, and president of the Central School of Speech and Drama. After publishing poetry as a teenager and acting in school plays, Pinter began his theatrical career in the mid-1950s as a rep actor using the stage name David Baron. During a writing career spanning over half a century, beginning with his first play, The Room (1957), Pinter wrote 29 stage plays; 26 screenplays; many dramatic sketches, radio and TV plays; poetry; some short fiction; a novel; and essays, speeches, and letters.

(10 October 1930 – 24 December 2008),

He is best known as a playwright and screenwriter, especially for The Birthday Party (1957), The Caretaker (1959), The Homecoming (1964), and Betrayal (1978), all of which he adapted to film, and for his screenplay adaptations of others' works, such as The Servant (1963), The Go-Between (1970), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), The Trial (1993), and Sleuth (2007). He also directed almost 50 stage, TV, and film productions of his own and others' works. Despite frail health since 2001, he continued to act on stage and screen, the last being the critically-acclaimed October 2006 production of Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, during the 50th anniversary season of the Royal Court. In addition to continuing to write (mostly poetry), give interviews, speak about political issues, and attend theatrical and cinematic premieres of his own and others' works, he accepted the presidency of the Central School of Speech and Drama in October 2008.

Pinter's dramas often involve strong conflicts among ambivalent characters fighting for verbal and territorial dominance and for their own remembered versions of the past; stylistically, they are marked by theatrical pauses and silences, comedic timing, provocative imagery, witty dialogue, ambiguity, irony, and menace ("Biobibliographical Notes"). Thematically ambiguous, they raise complex issues of individual human identity oppressed by social forces, the power of language, and vicissitudes of memory. Like his work, Pinter has been considered complex and contradictory (Billington, Harold Pinter 388). Although Pinter publicly eschewed applying the term "political theatre" to his own work in 1981, he began writing overtly political plays in the mid-1980s, reflecting his own heightening political interests and changes in his personal life. This "new direction" in his work and his "Leftist" political activism stimulated additional critical debate about Pinter's politics. Pinter, his work, and his politics have been the subject of voluminous critical commentary .

Pinter was the recipient of nineteen honorary degrees and numerous other honors and awards, including the Nobel Prize in Literature and the French Légion d'honneur. Academic institutions and performing arts organizations have devoted symposia, festivals, and celebrations to honouring him and his work, in recognition of his cultural influence and achievements across genres and media. In awarding Pinter the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2005, instigating some public controversy and criticism, the Swedish Academy cited him for being "generally regarded as the foremost representative of British drama in the second half of the 20th century." He received his nineteenth honorary degree from the Central School of Speech and Drama in absentia due to illness on 10 December 2008. On 25 December, his wife, Lady Antonia Fraser, announced that he had died, from cancer, on 24 December 2008.

Pinter was born on 10 October 1930, in the London Borough of Hackney, to "very respectable, Jewish, lower middle class," native English parents of Eastern-European ancestry; his father, Jack Pinter (1902–1997), was a "ladies' tailor" and his mother, Frances (née Moskowitz; 1904–1992), "kept what is called an immaculate house" and was "a wonderful cook".

Although he was a "solitary" only child, he "discovered his true potential" as a student at Hackney Downs School, the London grammar school "where Pinter spent the formative years from 1944 to 1948. … Partly through the school and partly through the social life of Hackney Boys' Club … he formed an almost sacerdotal belief in the power of male friendship. The friends he made in those days—most particularly Henry Woolf, Michael (Mick) Goldstein and Morris (Moishe) Wernick—have always been a vital part of the emotional texture of his life" (Billington, Harold Pinter 11; cf. Woolf). Significantly "inspired" by his English teacher, mentor, and friend Joseph Brearley, "Pinter shone at English, wrote for the school magazine and discovered a gift for acting" (Billington, Harold Pinter 10–11). He wrote poetry frequently and published some of it as a teenager, as he has continued to do throughout his career. He played Romeo and Macbeth in 1947 and 1948, in productions directed by Brearley (Billington, Harold Pinter 13–14). He especially enjoyed running and broke the Hackney Downs School sprinting record.

From 1956 until 1980, Pinter was married to Vivien Merchant, a rep actress whom he met on tour, probably best known for her performance in the original film Alfie (1966); their son, Daniel, was born in 1958 (Billington, Harold Pinter 54, 75). Through the early '70s, Merchant appeared in many of Pinter's works, most notably The Homecoming on stage (1965) and screen (1973), but the marriage was turbulent and began disintegrating in the mid-1960s (252–56). For seven years, from 1962 to 1969, Pinter was engaged in a clandestine affair with Joan Bakewell, which informed his play Betrayal (1978) (264–66). Between 1975 and 1980, he lived with historian Lady Antonia Fraser, wife of Sir Hugh Fraser (272–76), and, in 1975, Merchant filed for divorce ("People").

After the Frasers' divorce became final in 1977 and the Pinters' in 1980, in the third week of October 1980, Pinter married Antonia Fraser. Due to a two-week delay in Merchant's signing the divorce papers, however, the reception had to precede the actual ceremony, originally scheduled "to coincide with Pinter's fiftieth birthday" on 10 October 1980 (271–72).

Unable to overcome her bitterness and grief at the loss of her husband, Vivien Merchant died of acute alcoholism in the first week of October 1982 at the age of 53 (Billington, Harold Pinter 276). According to Billington, who cites Merchant's close friends and Pinter's associates, Pinter "did everything possible to support" her until her death and regrets that he became estranged from their son, Daniel, after their separation and Pinter's remarriage (276, 345). A reclusive gifted musician and writer (345), Daniel no longer uses the surname Pinter, having adopted instead "his maternal grandmother's maiden name,"

Pinter stated publicly in interviews that he was "very happy" in his second marriage and enjoyed family life with his six adult stepchildren and 17 step-grandchildren (Billington, Harold Pinter 388, 429–30; Dougary), and, after battling cancer for a long period, considered himself "a very lucky man in every respect" . According to Lyall, who interviewed him in London for her Sunday New York Times preview of Sleuth, Pinter's "latest work, a slim pamphlet called 'Six Poems for A.,' comprises poems written over 32 years, with 'A' being Lady Antonia. The first of the poems was written in Paris, where she and Mr. Pinter traveled soon after they met. More than three decades later the two are rarely apart, and Mr. Pinter turns soft, even cozy, when he talks about his wife" ("Still Pinteresque" 16). In his interview with Lyall, Pinter "acknowledged that his plays––full of infidelity, cruelty, inhumanity, the lot––seem at odds with his domestic contentment. 'How can you write a happy play?' he said. 'Drama is about conflict and degrees of perturbation, disarray. I've never been able to write a happy play, but I've been able to enjoy a happy life' ".

Pinter died, from cancer, on 24 December 2008.more

Eartha Kitt (Singer, actress) died she was 81

Eartha Kitt (Singer, actress) died, she was 81. Eartha Mae Kitt was an American actress, singer, and cabaret star. She was perhaps best known for her role as Catwoman in the 1960s TV series Batman, and for her 1953 Christmas song "Santa Baby". Orson Welles once called her the "most exciting woman in the world".
(January 17, 1927 – December 25, 2008)

Kitt was born Eartha Mae Keith on a cotton plantation in the tiny town of North, South Carolina. She had stated that her mother was of Cherokee and African-American descent, and her father, German and Dutch descent. She claimed she was conceived of rape. Kitt was raised by Anna Mae Riley, a black woman whom she believed to be her mother, but after Riley's death, she was sent to live in New York City with Mamie Kitt, reportedly Riley's sister. Eartha Kitt believed that Mamie Kitt was her biological mother; she had no knowledge of her father's identity, except that his surname was Kitt and that he was the son of the owner of the plantation on which she had been born. Kitt suffered terrible abuse and neglect at the hands of a family to whom Anna Mae Riley entrusted her, or "given away for slavery" as Kitt described in many interviews.

Kitt started her career as a member of the Katherine Dunham Company and made her film debut with them in Casbah (1948). A talented singer with a distinctive voice, her hits include "Let's Do It", "C'est si bon", "Just an Old Fashioned Girl", "Monotonous", "Je cherche un homme", "Love for Sale", "I'd Rather Be Burned as a Witch", "Uska Dara", "Mink, Schmink", "Under the Bridges of Paris", and her most recognizable hit, "Santa Baby". Kitt's unique style was enhanced as she became fluent in the French language during her years performing in Europe. She had some skill in other languages too, which she demonstrates with finesse in many of the live recordings of her cabaret performances.

In 1950, Orson Welles gave her her first starring role, as Helen of Troy in his staging of Dr. Faustus. A few years later, she was cast in the revue New Faces of 1952 introducing "Monotonous" and "Bal, Petit Bal," two songs with which she continues to be identified. In 1954, 20th Century Fox filmed a version of the revue simply titled New Faces. Welles and Kitt allegedly had a torrid affair during her run in Shinbone Alley, which earned her the nickname by Welles as "the most exciting woman in the world." In 1958, Kitt made her feature film debut opposite Sidney Poitier in The Mark of the Hawk. Throughout the rest of the 1950s and early 1960s, Kitt would work on and off in film, television and on nightclub stages. In 1964, Kitt helped open the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos, California. Also in the 1960s, the television series Batman, featured her as Catwoman after Julie Newmar left the role.

In 1968, however, Kitt encountered a substantial professional setback after she made anti-war statements during a White House luncheon. It was reported that she made First Lady Lady Bird Johnson cry. The public reaction to Kitt's statements was much more extreme, both for and against her statements. Professionally exiled from the U.S., she devoted her energies to overseas performances.

In the late 1990s she appeared as the Wicked Witch of the West in the North American national touring company of The Wizard of Oz. Kitt had a supporting role as Lady Eloise in the hit movie Boomerang co-starring Eddie Murphy. In 2000, Kitt again returned to Broadway in the short-lived run of Michael John LaChiusa's The Wild Party opposite Mandy Patinkin and Toni Collette. Beginning in late 2000, she starred as the Fairy Godmother in the National tour of Cinderella alongside Deborah Gibson and then Jamie-Lynn Sigler. In 2003, she replaced Chita Rivera in Nine. She reprised her role of the Fairy Godmother at a special engagement of Cinderella which took place at Lincoln Center during the holiday season of 2004.

One of her more unusual roles was as Kaa the python in a 1994 BBC Radio adaptation of The Jungle Book. Kitt lent her distinctive voice to the role of Yzma in Disney's The Emperor's New Groove and returned to the role in the straight to video sequel Kronk's New Groove and the spin-off TV series The Emperor's New School, for which she has won an Emmy Award and two Annie Awards for Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production. She had a voiceover as the voice of Queen Vexus on the animated TV series My Life as a Teenage Robot.

In recent years, Kitt's annual appearances in New York made her a fixture on the Manhattan cabaret scene. She would take the stage at venues such as The Ballroom and the Café Carlyle to explore and define her highly stylized image, alternating between signature songs (such as Old Fashioned Millionaire), which emphasized a witty, mercenary world-weariness, and less familiar repertoire, much of which she performed with an unexpected ferocity and bite that presented her as a survivor with a seemingly bottomless reservoir of resilience her version of "Here's to Life", frequently used as a closing number, was a sterling example of the latter. This side of her later performances was reflected in at least one of her recordings, Thinking Jazz, which preserved a series of performances with a small jazz combo that took place in the early 1990s in Germany and which included both standards ("Smoke Gets in Your Eyes") and numbers (such as "Something May Go Wrong") that seemed more specifically tailored to her talents; one version of the CD includes as bonus performances a fierce, angry Yesterdays and a live rendering "C'est Si Bon" that good-humoredly satirized her sex-kitten persona.

From October to early December, 2006, Kitt co-starred in the Off-Broadway musical Mimi le duck. She also appeared in the 2007 independent film And Then Came Love opposite Vanessa L. Williams.

After romances with the cosmetics magnate Charles Revson and banking heir John Barry Ryan III, she was married to Bill McDonald from June 6, 1960, to 1965. They had one child, a daughter, Kitt Shapiro (b. 1962). Eartha had two grandchildren, Jason and Rachel. Kitt lived in the Merryall section of New Milford, Connecticut for many years as well as Pound Ridge, New York, but had recently moved to Weston, Connecticut to be near her daughter's family. In 2007, she performed at the Hotel Carlyle in New York.

Kitt wrote three autobiographies – Thursday's Child (1956), Alone with Me (1976), and I'm Still Here: Confessions of a Sex Kitten (1989).

Kitt was the spokesperson for MAC Cosmetics Smoke Signals collection in August 2007. She re-recorded "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" for the occasion, was showcased on the MAC website and the song was played at all MAC locations carrying the collection for the month.

Eartha Kitt died of asthma on December 25, 2008. more

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