2016

It seems that 2016 barely got started when we lost our first batch of famous people. At the bottom of this post are the popular ones that I knew.  But I also wanted to make mention of others…not so famous but they made a difference none-the-less.  The first group that I wanted to highlight who were important in The Wesleyan Church circles.

Probably the most significant – at least in terms of out local church was Ed O’Brien.  Our first Sunday was July 24 and Ed passed away on the next.  It came as quite a shock to our community – both church and local.  At the funeral, we had a packed house.  We probably had close to 90 packed into our little chapel.  Ed was our go-to person – he did quite a bit around here in the area of maintenance.  I told the congregation at his funeral that I’m a little jealous – they knew Ed well and I barely got a chance to know him.  Ed was one of those who helped us get the truck unloaded and he was a workhorse on that very hot day.

In the Wesleyan Church at large we lost:

Ken Heer

Dr. Heer was pastor in seven Wesleyan churches in Indiana, including College Wesleyan Church in Marion and Fall Creek Wesleyan Church in Fishers, adding up to 28 years in pastoral ministry. He also served 23 years in several leadership roles at The Wesleyan Church Headquarters, including General Director of Education and the Ministry from 1988-1997. He was chief of staff for the Board of General Superintendents at the time of his retirement from headquarters in 2012. After moving to Florida, he served as president of Wesleyan Village in Brooksville and teaching pastor at Brooksville Wesleyan Church.

Crystal Blake

Crystal and her husband, Matt, have been serving in Brno, Czech Republic, for 13 years as missionaries with Global Partners, the missions arm of The Wesleyan Church.

Crystal was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 at age 35. After intense chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, she was declared cancer-free. But the cancer had metastasized and returned, first in her hip and then the liver. Crystal was a classmate of mine at Indiana Wesleyan.

Lee Haines

He served as General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church from 1988-2000. Prior to that he was General Secretary of Education and the Ministry from 1980-1988. A native of Fairmount, Indiana, his ministry as a pastor in Indiana churches, college professor at Marion College (Indiana Wesleyan University), and in several leadership roles at Wesleyan World Headquarters impacted the church and left a legacy which will go on into eternity. Dr. Haines was a great supporter of women in the ministry.

Wesley Duewel

Dr. Duewel gave himself to world missions for 75 years. After ministry in India for nearly 25 years, he was president of One Mission Society (1969-1982). He was a member of the Wabash Conference of the Free Methodist Church for 48 years.

Dr. Duewel preached at a camp meeting where I led worship one summer.  He was a great man of prayer.

Dr. Daniel Finch

Dr. Finch was born on June 1, 1936 in Manitou Springs, Colo. He held three undergrad degrees, a masters and a doctorate. He married Carol, his college sweetheart in 1958. In the mid-1960s the couple welcomed two children into their home. His children remember him as a father with unconditional love.

Daniel was accomplished at building churches, playing musical instruments, leading people to Jesus, and training leaders worldwide. He was a published author, successful pastor, tireless leader, and church pioneer who loved God and was passionate about changing the world for Christ. His influence for Christ spans the globe including Ireland, Africa, Jamaica, and beyond. He was a pastor at 12Stone Church, a leader in The Wesleyan Church, and an avid model railroader. His family has produced generations of pastors, teachers, missionaries, and leaders. He was a man with a strong heart, who loved God, his family, and people around the world.

I had the opportunity to meet this man of God late in his life.  What a testimony!

While not a Wesleyan, we also lost Cliff Barrows, former music directory for Billy Graham.


Other notable yet not celebrities are:

Edwin Goldwasser – December 14 – Co-founder of Fermi National Accelerator Lab

Dr. Henry Heimlich – December 17 – invented the Heimlich Maneuver

Robert Hulseman – December 21 – inventor of the Red Solo Cup

Vera Rubin – December 25 – discovered evidence of Dark Matter.

And as promised the rest of the list:

Gone But Not Forgotten – 2016

JANUARY

  • 06     Pat Harrington Jr., Actor – Schneider on “One Day at a Time” – age 86
  • 10     David Bowie, Musician – (2) time Grammy winner influenced music and culture for four generations – age 69
  • 15     Dan Haggerty, Actor – The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams – age 74
  • 18     Glen Frey, Singer / Songwriter – founded The Eagles “Take It Easy”, “Peaceful Easy Feeling” – age 67
  • 28     Mike Minor, Actor – Steve Eliot on “Petticoat Junction” – age 75

FEBRUARY

  • 03     Maurice White, Musician / songwriter – founding member of Earth, Wind & Fire – age 74
  • 03     Joe Alaskey, Voice Actor – Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Sylvester, Tweety – age 63
  • 13     Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court Justice – appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1986 – age 79
  • 19     Harper Lee, Novelist – Pulitzer Prize for fiction (1961) for novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” – age 89
  • 22     Sonny James, Country Music Singer/Songwriter – the first teenage country crossover #1 single “Young Love” – age 87
  • 24     Lennie Baker, Musician – 1950s music tribute group and TV show Sha-Na-Na (1969-2000) – age 69

MARCH

  • 04     Joey Martin Feek, C&W Musician – husband and wife country duo “Joey + Rory” – age 40
  • 06     Nancy Reagan, First Lady of the U.S.(1981-1989) Husband, 40th President Ronald Reagan – age 94
  • 08     Sir George Martin, Producer for the “Beatles” albums, known as “The Fifth Beatle” – age 90
  • 10     Keith Emerson, Musician / keyboardist – created Emerson, Lake & Palmer rock group – age 71
  • 18     Joe Santos, Actor – Lieutenant Dennis Becker on The Rockford Files (1974-1980) – age 84
  • 22     Rob Ford, Politician – crack smoking Mayor of Toronto, Canada – age 46
  • 23     Joe Garagiola, Baseball Player – MLB catcher and announcer and television host – age 90
  • 24     Earl Hamner, Jr., Writer/Producer – created “The Waltons” TV show – age 92
  • 27     Mother Angelica, Franciscan Nun – founder of Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) – age 92
  • 28     James Noble, Actor – Governor Gatling on “Benson” (1979-1986) – age 94
  • 29     Patty Duke, Actress – played identical cousins in “The Patty Duke Show” (1963-1966) – age 69

APRIL

  • 06     Merle Haggard, C&W singer/songwriter – “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive”, “Okie From Muskogee” – age 79
  • 17     Doris Roberts, Actress – Marie Barone on “Everybody Loves Raymond” (1996–2005) – age 90
  • 21     Prince, Musician – flamboyant on stage, seven Grammy Awards, “Purple Rain” – age 57
  • 23     Madeleine Sherwood, Actress – Reverend Mother Placido in “The Flying Nun” (1967-70) – age 94

MAY

  • 19     Morley Safer, Journalist – CBS News for 52 years (1964-2016), 60 Minutes for 46 years (1970-2016) won 12 Emmy Awards – age 84

JUNE

  • 03     Muhammad Ali, Professional Boxer – (formerly Cassius Clay) three time heavyweight champion (1964, 1974, and 1978), proclaimed “The Greatest” – age 74
  • 10     Gordie Howe, Hockey player – Detroit Red Wings for 25 seasons, 23-time NHL All-Star – age 88
  • 13     Michu Meszaros, Actor / Circus Performer – was the man in the ALF costume (ALF TV Show 1986-1990) – age 76
  • 14     Ann Guilbert, Actress – Millie Helper in The Dick Van Dyke Show and Yetta Rosenberg in The Nanny – age 87
  • 14     Ronnie Claire Edwards, Actress – Corabeth Walton Godsey on The Waltons (1972-81) – age 83
  • 28     Buddy Ryan, NFL Football Coach – while defensive coordinator for Chicago Bears invented the 46 defense – age 85
  • 28     Pat Summitt, NCAA Basketball Coach – University of Tennessee Woman’s team (1974 – 2012) the winningest NCAA coach ever – age 64

JULY

  • 03     Noel Neill, Actress – Lois Lane in “Adventures of Superman” (1952-58) – age 95
  • 16     Bonnie Brown, C&W Musician – family musical group The Browns “The Three Bells” – age 77
  • 19     Garry Marshall, Writer/Producer/Actor – created “Happy Days”, “Mork & Mindy”, “Laverne & Shirley” – age 81

AUGUST

  • 13     Kenny Baker, Actor – played R2-D2 in the Star Wars franchise also played Paploo, the Ewok – age 81
  • 29     Gene Wilder, Actor – Blazing Saddles (1974), Young Frankenstein, Willy Wonka – age 83

SEPTEMBER

  • 17     Charmian Carr, Actress – Liesl Von Trapp (eldest daughter) in The Sound of Music – age 73
  • 25     Jean Shepard, C&W Singer/Songwriter – Pioneered C&W for women, “A Dear John Letter” – 82
  • 25     José Fernández, Baseball player – starting pitcher for the Miami Marlins and Cuban refugee – age 24
  • 25     Arnold Palmer, Golfer – One of the greatest golfers ever, did more to popularize the sport than any other golfer – age 87

NOVEMBER

  • 07     Janet Reno, Attorney General of the United States 1993-2001 nominated by President Bill Clinton – age 78
  • 07     Leonard Cohen, Poet / Songwriter – “Suzanne”, “Hallelujah” and “Bird on the Wire” – age 82
  • 14     Gwen Ifill, Journalist – “Washington Week” and “PBS NewsHour” on PBS – age 61
  • 24     Florence Henderson, Actress / Singer – Carol Brady on “The Brady Bunch” (1969 to 1974) – age 82
  • 25     Fidel Castro, Dictator – Prime Minister then President of Cuba from 1959-2008 then gave same powers to his brother – age 90
  • 28     Jim Delligatti, McDonald’s franchisee – created The Big Mac – age 98
  • 30     Grant Tinker, Television executive – Chairman and CEO of NBC (1981-’86) married to Mary Tyler Moore (1962-’81) – age 90

DECEMBER

  • 07     Greg Lake, Musician – founding member of Emerson, Lake & Palmer “Lucky Man” – age 69
  • 08     John Glenn, WWII & Korean War Fighter Pilot. Marine Colonel. NASA Astronaut. Senator from Ohio (1974-99). Married for 73 yrs – first American to orbit the Earth (1962) – age 95
  • 13     Alan Thicke, Actor – Jason Seaver, the father on “Growing Pains” (1985-’92) – age 69
  • 14     Bernard Fox, Actor – Dr. Bombay in “Bewitched” and Colonel Crittendon in “Hogan’s Heroes” – age 89
  • 18     Zsa Zsa Gabor, Hungarian Actress and Socialite – Moulin Rouge (1952), married nine times to mostly wealthy men – age 99
  • 18     Gordie Tapp, Entertainer – wrote and acted on “Hee Haw” – age 94
  • 24     Richard Adams, Author – Watership Down, The Plague Dogs – age 96
  • 25     George Michael, Singer/Songwriter – #1 hits; “Faith”, “Careless Whisper” – age 53
  • 26     George S. Irving, Stage Actor – Oklahoma! (1943), Me and Juliet (1953) – age 94 – the voice of “Heat Miser.”
  • 27     Carrie Fisher, Actress – Princess Leia in “Star Wars” (1977) and four sequels – age 60
  • 28     Debbie Reynolds, Actress – Kathy Selden in “Singin’ in the Rain”, Mother of Carrie Fisher – age 84
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