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Departures

2011 News of the Year | A list of notable deaths from the past year

Issue: "2011 News of the Year," Dec. 31, 2011

Tom Aldredge

83, July 22 | Emmy-winning stage, film, and TV character actor, seen often in roles as a cantankerous old man (Carmela's father on The Sopranos, Ozzie in Sticks and Bones).

John R. Allison

98, June 6 | WWII fighter ace who co-led a 1944 secret Allied nighttime mission by glider from India into enemy-held Burma, taking only six days to bring in over 9,000 troops, supplies, pack animals, and heavy equipment to build an airbase in the jungle from which the British launched devastating ground attacks against the advancing Japanese.

William Aramony

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84, Nov. 11 | President of the United Way of America for two decades, with annual donations increasing to more than $3 billion, but jailed in 1995 for defrauding the UWA of over $1 million.

James Arness

88, June 3 | Six-foot-seven actor who played morally principled U.S. Marshall Matt Dillon in two decades and 635 episodes of TV's Gunsmoke, keeping compassionate law and order in the Kansas frontier cow town of Dodge City in the late 1800s.

Hermann J. Austel

83, May 29 | Hebrew scholar, seminary professor, Bible translator, and editor of the Old Testament translation of the New American Standard Bible.

George Ballas

85, June 25 | Inventor in 1971 of the Weed Eater, better known as the Weed Whacker, an essential tool for lawn care and landscape work-an idea he got from watching his auto go through a car wash.

Seve Ballesteros

54, May 7 | Spanish golfing great with more than 90 international tournament wins, including a record 50 European titles, who, Tiger Woods said, was "probably the most creative player who's ever played the game."

Paul Baran

84, March 26 | Rand company engineer who in the late 1950s discovered the U.S. Defense Department could build a more secure communication system by using a computer network that would break messages into units, then route each unit along any open path, and reassemble them at the destination-a process known as "packet switching." The government used the method to build its ARPA network, the precursor to the internet.

Charles Kingsley Barrett

94, Aug. 26 | British New Testament scholar, author of Bible commentaries, teacher, and Methodist minister whose opposition to a proposed Anglican-Methodist union in the 1960s gained him recognition.

David Barrett

83, Aug. 4 | Anglican-priest-turned-Baptist and missions researcher who focused on "unreached people groups," and founding editor of the monumental World Christian Encyclopedia.

John Barry

83, May 29 | Composer of the music scores for James Bond films and winner of five Academy Awards as composer for Born Free, Dances with Wolves, and other films.

Doris Belack

85, Oct. 4 | Veteran stage, film, and television actress best known as no-nonsense Judge Margaret Barry on Law & Order.

Derrick Bell

80, Oct. 5 | First tenured black professor at Harvard Law School who resigned his post to protest the school's hiring practices, noted mainly for his controversial promotion of a body of legal scholarship known as "critical race theory," claiming that racism is ingrained in laws and legal institutions.

Pauline Betz (Addie)

91, May 31 | Tennis champion of the 1940s, winning four U.S. Open titles and the 1946 women's singles trophy at Wimbledon.

Shahbaz Bhatti

42, March 2 | Pakistani legislator, government Minister for Minorities, human-rights advocate opposed to the country's anti-Christian blasphemy law, and a Catholic who defended fellow Christians from the law's abuses; gunned down in the streets by an Islamic group claiming he was a "known blasphemer."

Osama Bin Laden

54, May 2 | Saudi founder of al-Qaeda who planned the Sept. 11, 2001, airliner attacks on New York and Washington; shot by U.S. forces in a firefight at his comfortable hideout near Pakistan's capital.

Roberts Blossom

87, July 8 | Veteran character actor remembered best as "old man Marley," the white-bearded next-door neighbor who befriends Macaulay Culkin in the hit movie Home Alone.

John Morton Blum

90, Oct. 17 | Prominent Yale historian who specialized in scholarly studies of U.S. presidents, including a surprising revamp of Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt's typically dismissed importance.

Baruch Samuel Blumberg

85, April 5 | Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who in the late 1960s discovered the liver-deadly hepatitis B virus and later co-developed a vaccine against it that saved untold millions of lives across the world.

Wally Boag

90, June 3 | Disneyland's legendary "Pecos Bill," a hilarious cornball jokester and trickster billed as an Old West traveling salesman in the amusement park's Golden Horseshoe Revue multiple times a day for nearly 30 years and 40,000 performances. At his side most of that time was Betty Taylor as his sweetheart Slue Foot Sue, saloon hostess; she died at age 91 the day following Boag's death.

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