2008 Lesser Known Deaths

Lesser Known Voices of 2008

By Jason Goldtrap 12.10.08

As the year draws to a close, let us remember the lesser known voices of 2008; those who contributed to American culture.   Maudie Hopkins, 93, was America's last Civil War widow.  Harry Richard Landis, 108, American's second to last World War 1 vet. Jacob DeShazer, 95, participated in the Doolittle Raid.  RAF pilot Bertram James, 92, survived "The Great Escape" which was planned by Eric Dowling, 92.   Col. Donald Blakeslee, 89, flew more missions against the Luftwaffe than any other American fighter pilot.  Joseph M. Juran, 103, was a quality control innovator in post-war Japan.

Dirth Pran, 65, Cambodian born American journalist, survivor of the Killing Fields.  Frank Piasecki, 88, invented the tandem rotor placement for Chinook helicopters.  Col. John Ripley, 69, prevented an attack by 20,000 enemy troops by blowing up the Dong Ha Bridge.  Bernie Boston, 74, took a photo in 1967 of a protestor placing a carnation in the barrel of a riffle. Maj. Andrew J. Olmsted, 37, was an Army blogger from Iraq.

David Kahn, 98, wrote the theme to "Leave It to Beaver," Bob LeMond. 94, was the announcer.  Earl Hagen, 88, composed the theme for "The Andy Griffith Show."  Shell Kepler, 49, played Nurse Vining on "General Hospital."  Manuel Padilla Jr., 51, was a Pharaoh in "American Graffiti."  Dick Martin, 86, co-hosted "Laugh-In."  Rob Knox, 18, is in the upcoming "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince."

Richard Wright, 65, co-founded Pink Floyd.  John Stewart, 68, sang with The Kingston Trio which was co-founded with Nick Reynolds, 75.  Larry Norman, 60, Christian rock pioneer.  Dottie Rambo, 74, was a gospel singer.  Paul Davis, 60, confessed "I Go Crazy (You know when I look in your eyes)."  Mike Smith, 64, sang for The Dave Clark Five.  Jerry Wallace, 79, walked down "Primrose Lane." Jim Hagar, 61, sang on "Hee Haw."  Dennis Yost, 65, sang "Spooky" with the Classics IV.  Gloria Shayne Baker, 84, wrote "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

Norman "Hurricane" Smith, 85, "Oh Babe, What Would You Say?"  Rod Allen, 63, of The Fortunes sang "You've Got Your Troubles (I've Got Mine)."  Lita Roza, 82, sang "How Much is that Doggie in the Window?"

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, 91, Beatles guru.  Levi Stubbs, 72, of the Four Tops sang "Baby I Need Your Lovin'." 

Cliff Nobel, 64, had an instrumental hit in 1968, "The Horse."  Al Gallodoro, 95, played a soulful clarinet introduction to "Rhapsody in Blue."  LeRoi Moore, 46, saxophonist, Dave Matthews Band. Mitch Mitchel, 62, played drums on "The Wind Cries Mary."  Don Helms, 81, played steel-guitar in "Your Cheatin' Heart."

Kurt Eberling, Sr., 77, invented SpaghettiOs.  Herb Peterson, 89, invented the Egg McMuffin.  Al Copeland, 64, founded Popeyes Chicken.  Lovie Yancey, 96, founder of Fatburger.  Carl Karcher, 90, founded Carl's Jr..  Irv Robbins, 90, co-founded of Baskin-Robbins.  Fred Baur, 89, invented the Pringles can.  Wilbur Hardee, 89, founded Hardees.

Joan Winston, 77, helped organize the first "Star Trek" convention.  Alexander Courage, 88, wrote the theme for "Star Trek" and even made the "Whoosh" sound as the Enterprises passes.  Ray Ellis, 82, composed the music for the animated series.  Dr. Alvin Marks, 97, gave us 3D glasses. Ben Chapman, 79, The Creature from the Black Lagoon.  Gary Gygax, 69, co-creator of "Dungeons and Dragons"

Harry Lange, 77, designed a future that should have been in "2001: A Space Odyssey."  Roy Scheider, 75, and Natasha Shneider, 52, shared a tender scene as the spaceship Leonov air-braked around Jupiter in "2010".  Maila Nurmi, 86, was Vampira in "Plan 9 from Outer Space", a film partially financed by Reverend Lynn Lemon, 90, Baptist minister in Hollywood.  Roberta Collins, 64, was Matilda the Hun in "Death Race 2000."  John Phillip Law, 70, was the angel Pygar in "Barbarella."  Beverly Gardland, 82, was in "The Alligator People" whose score was composed by Irvng Gertz, 93.  Priscilla Allen, 70, said "Get ready for a surprise" in "Total Recall."

Derek Wadsworth, 69, wrote the theme to "Space: 1999" which starred Barry Morse, 89.  Neal Hefti, 85, composed the "Batman" theme.  Forrest J. Ackerman, 92, published Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.   Don Davis, 65, was Gen. Hammond on "Stargate SG-1."  Stan Winston, 62, amazed Sci-fi fans with his monstrous make-up.

David Groh, 68, Joe Gerard on Rhoda.  Christopher Allport, 60, appeared in Mad Men.  Lois Nettleton, 80, was more than just "A Face in the Crowd."  Allan Melvin, 84, was Sam the Butcher in "The Brady Bunch."  Joy Page, 83, was Annina Brandel in "Casablanca."  Nina Foch, 84 was in "Executive Suite."  Robert J. Anderson, 75, was a young George Bailey in "It's A Wonderful Life."  Mel Ferrer, 90, was Paul Berthalet in "Lili."  Charles H. Gray, 86, was Clay Forrester in "Rawhide."  Julius Carry, 56, was Lord Bowler in "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.".  Larry Haines, 89, was Stu Bergman on "Search for Tomorrow."  Estelle Reiner, 94, said "I'll have what she's having."

Steve Gerber, 60, created Howard the Duck.  The classic arcade game "Paperboy" was developed by Mark Haigh-Hutchinson, 43.  Ollie Johnston, 95, was the last of Walt Disney's "Nine Old Men."  Kermit Scott, 71, was a philosophy professor and namesake of Kermit the Frog, who was designed by Kermit Love, 91.  Dick Sutcliffe, 90, created "Davey and Goliath."     Ted Key, 95, created the cartoon "Hazel."  Michael Silberkleit, 76, published "Archie" comics.  Irving Belcher, 94, helped write the screenplay for "The Wizard of Oz."  Wonderful Smith, 97, gave directions for Spinal Tap to get to the stage.

Margaret Truman, 83, was a novelist and the daughter of President Harry Truman.  Secret Service agent, Floyd Boring, 92, helped foil Truman assassination attempt.  Hamilton Jordan, 63, was Jimmy Carter's Chief of Staff. Ike Pappas, 75, "There's a shot! Oswald has been shot!"  Cecil W. Stoughton, 88, photographed Lyndon Johnson's swearing-in aboard Air Force One in Dallas.  Marty Kenney, 90, was a beloved caller on the Sean Hannity Show.

John Archibald Wheeler, 96, coined the term "black hole."  Michael Golomb, 98, was one of the first mathematicians to apply normed vector spaces in numerical analysis. (I dunno what that is either.)  Richard Knerr, 82, invented the Frisbee.  Philip Saffman, 76, advanced fluid mechanics.  Hugh Butt, 98, treated hemorrhaging with Vitamin K.  Robert Nason Beck, 80, helped give us the CAT Scan. Andrew McKelvey, 74, helped found Monster.com.  Carl D. Keith, 88, co-invented the catalytic converter.

Dick Barrymore, 74, filmed skiing.  Hugh Bradner, 92, invented the wet suit.  Bud Browne, 96, filmed surfers.  Ralph White, 66, filmed the wrecked Titanic.   Mildred Callahan Jones, 64, brought us decorative flags.  John Burnside, 91, gave us the teleidoscope.

Louis Teicher, 83, popularized classical piano.  Larry Harmon, 83, was Bozo the Clown. Don LaFontaine, 68, was "the voice" of innumerable movie trailers. Bill Melendez, 91, was the voice of Snoopy.

Marie Smith Jones, 89, was the last known speaker of the Eyak language.  Sandy Allen, 53, stood 7 ft. 7 inches.  Jorn Utzon, 90, designed the Sydney Opera House.  Christopher Bowman, 40, was an Olympic figure skater.  Brandi Hawbaker, 26, played in the 2007 World Series of Poker.  Frank Rosenthal, 79, was a colorful Vegas sports handicapper and talk show host.

Joyce Carloson, 84, designed the dolls for It's a Small World.  Robin Moore, 82, authored The French Connection.  James L. Sorenson, 86, invented disposable surgical masks. David Watkin, 82, brought soft light to cinematography.  John McWethy, 60, was a fixture for ABC News.  Ruth Peale, 101, was Norman's bride.  Gay Severin, 81, designed space suits for Cosmonauts.  Aeronautics hero Steve Fossett, 63, declared dead Feb. 15. 

By: Jason Goldtrap

About the Author:

Jason Goldtrap is the author of the novel "Sarah Conrad of Eagle Creek" which you can read online at JasonGoldtrap.com