Time to remember those lost in 2011

Published 9:04am Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The last week of each year always ushers in sadness to our columns. That’s the week we review the passing of notables and famous people.

Before we look at some of the more famous individuals who passed on in 2011 I want to tell you about some former Crimson Tide players and coaches who died this year.

Ray Abruzzese, Joe Namath’s college roommate died in August. He played for the Tide in 1962-66.  Harry Gilmer, popular quarterback for the Tide in the late 1940s and early 1950s died this past spring. Aaron Douglas, a prominent transfer player from Tennessee was found dead in Florida in May and Dude Hennessey, a popular Paul Bryant assistant coach died in March.

And, now let’s take a look at other notables:

Anne Francis, the pretty blonde who played the role of “Honey West” died in January.  Margaret Whiting died that month. I remember her duo songs with Jimmy Wakely. One of their popular songs was “Beautiful Brown Eyes”. David Nelson, the son of Ozzie and Harriett Nelson died in January. Others include actress Susannah York and Jack LaLanne, the 100-year-old fitness expert who had a TV exercise show up until the time of his death.

February deaths include Jane Russell and Peggy Rea, known as Grace’s mother in law in “Grace Under fire”.
Elizabeth Taylor, as famous for her many husbands as her hit movies, died in March. Others who passed during that month include Geraldine Ferraro, Farley Granger and Warren Christopher.

Trevor Bannister, one of my favorite actors, died in April. You may remember him as “Mr. Lucas,” the junior clerk on the popular British sitcom “Are You being Served?” Only two members of that cast are alive today. They are “Captain Peacock” and “Cuthbert Rumbold.” All the other members of that cast have passed on.

Jackie Cooper, the child actor of the 1940s, died in May. Others who died that month include golfer Steve Ballesteros, and Clarice Taylor who played Cliff Huxtable’s mother on “The Cosby Show”.

Two likeable old-time TV stars passed away in June. James Arness, Gunsmoke’s Matt Dillan and bumbling detective Peter Faulk as detective” Columbo.”

Former First lady Betty Ford died in July along with “Gilligan’s Island” director Sherwood Schwartz.
Nickolas Ashford, known for many songs he wrote for singer/pianist Ray Charles, died in August.

Actor Cliff Robertson passed away in September along with Delores Hope, 102-year-old widow of Bob Hope.

In October a leader of the Civil Rights movement, Fred Shuttlesworth, died. That month also saw the demise of Steve Jobs, the Apple Industry entrepreneur, as well as longtime CBS White House reporter Robert Pierpoint.

In November Sid Melton passed away. You will remember him as Alf, one of the carpenters on the “Green Acres” TV show, and as Charlie on the “Danny Thomas” show. Other November deaths include Andy Rooney(Sixty Minutes), Lee Pockriss who co-wrote “Itsy Bitsy Tenny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” and boxer Joe Frazier.

Harry Morgan,”Colonel Potter” of “Mash” died in December and controversal author and writer Christopher Hitchens passed away. Hitchens was often grilled by Fox’s Bill O’Reilly.

And now a quick look at the college football bowl season.

You know I think I have never seen so many “miss matches’ as there are this year. I suppose it is due to the fact there are so many bowls.

We should all get a good dose of these bowl games for the next two weeks or so. Anyway, here’s hoping your favorite wins.

I have many interesting columns coming your way in 2012. They will include hundreds of names from the past. Names you once knew here in Atmore. Hope some of your friends and relatives will be among those I write about.

Happy New Year!!!.

“….yes…it always whispers to me…those days of long ago…”

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