For quite a few years, I have written the memorial for noteworthy passages that occur over the course of the past year for WBOB. Unfortunately there are losses that can put a damper on any holiday spirit when reflected upon, so I will proceed, but with one condition: We all suffer a loss close to us during the course of any given year and the healing process takes years. So read on with this request; give yourself the gift of silent reflection for just a few moments and think of the people you’ve loved that have moved on.
For the staff at 990WBOB that loss hit home this year when we lost a beloved friend and colleague, David Clyde (Kaplan).
Here’s hoping the universe has open arms for all of those we lost.
As the year began we lost Jerry Van Dyke (younger brother of Dick), and a regular on the TV series Coach. We also saw the passing of Ray Thomas, a founding member of The Moody Blues. While those gentlemen died of natural causes from old age, a shocker accidental overdose occurred that first month when Dolores O’Riordan, of the Irish modern rock band 'Cranberries,' succumbed to the rigors of a hard lifestyle and the ever popular street drug Fentanyl that we hear so many stories of tragedy.
John Mahoney, a fantastic character actor that almost went unnoticed until he was cast as the father of Frazier Crane in the hit spin-off from Cheers died. Mickey Jones, drummer for Trini Lopez, and tapped to replace Levon Helm from The Hawks (later to be coined “The Band”) on Dylan’s first electric tour of Europe. He eventually co-founded 'First Edition' with Kenny Rogers and later did TV acting- usually as biker type- on TV commercials and various sitcoms. Billy Graham an original television evangelist and spiritual advisor to Presidents over decades found his way back to God as well.
David Ogden Stiers who played Boston surgeon Charles Winchester the third in the hit comedy MASH left us. So did the infamous theorist physicist Stephen Hawking. But for me, it was Boston broadcast staple Frank Avruch who started his career as Bozo the clown that brought a tear to these eyes.
Barbara Bush the former First Lady and mother of our 43rd president went to her great reward. Harry Anderson who started as a recurring con-man on Cheers eventually donned the robe as the star of Night Court. And the great professional wrestling heavyweight champion Bruno Sammartino finally hit the canvas.
Margot Kidder who was such a huge starlet back in her day that she was cast as Lois Lane in the blockbuster Superman movies from the late 70’s and early eighties left us. Contemporary authors Tom Wolfe and Philip Roth also died that month.
This one hurt a lot of us, as famed chef and world traveler Anthony Bourdain (a personal hero of mine) committed suicide. Elvis’s first drummer DJ Fontana made the list, as well as Jackson 5 patriarch Joe Jackson.
Tab Hunter a 60’s teen heartthrob was the biggest passing of note.
The loveable heartthrob Burt Reynolds drove off into the sunset, as did character actor Bill Daily from The Bob Newhart Show and Major Healy from I Dream of Jeannie. Marty Balin lead singer for Jefferson Airplane/Starship and Charles Manson rockstar role model took his final encore.
Scott Wilson of The Walking Dead went to zombie land.
Stan Lee the driving force of Marvel Comics and creator of the Fantastic Four and Spiderman lived to 96 years young. And President George HW Bush left to join his wife of 73 years Barbara. Roy Clark famed country picker extraordinaire passed as well.
Ken Berry a song and dance man who starred in F Troop, Mayberry RFD and played the husband on Mama’s Family buckwinged his way out of this lifetime. And famed jazz singer and multi Grammy winner Nancy Wilson sang her last note. Penny Marshall passed away December 18th. We all call her Laverne, but I remember her as Myrna on The Odd Couple. Of course she would eventually become one of the finest directors of films ever.
This of course is always a fluid piece and as we go to press we may have to update the dead pool before December 31st. Rest In Peace.
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