Astronaut Scott Carpenter, 88, the second American to orbit the earth, died on Oct. 10 from complications after a stroke. Carpenter, the backup pilot for John Glenn, circled the globe three times during a five-hour flight in May 1962, three months after Glenn’s flight. Glenn is now the last surviving member of the Mercury 7 team. Carpenter, a Korean War veteran, never flew another mission.
A federal judge sentenced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, 43, to 28 years in prison seven months after he pleaded guilty to racketeering, fraud, extortion, and tax crimes. Kilpatrick, once a rising star in the Democratic Party, told the judge he accepted responsibility for his actions, which sent an already struggling city further into debt. Kilpatrick, who became mayor in 2002, quit in 2008 amid revelations that he had lied under oath to cover up an affair with his top aide.
Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap died Oct. 4 at age 102. Giap commanded the Vietnamese People’s Army in the Vietnam War and also served as commander in the First Indochina War against France. Giap, wrote Sen. John McCain in The Wall Street Journal, was willing to suffer enormous casualties as he waited for his enemies to tire of war: “The U.S. never lost a battle against North Vietnam, but it lost the war. Countries, not just their armies, win wars. Giap understood that. We didn’t.”
Doctors at a Tulsa hospital released senior Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, 79, on Oct. 8 after he underwent successful quadruple bypass surgery. Inhofe, a Republican running for a fourth term next year, said he was shocked to learn of the problem, because he felt no effects from massive blockages discovered during a routine checkup. Expected to make a full recovery, Inhofe missed two weeks of the Washington budget battle.
Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, 50, announced her candidacy for governor on Oct. 3, just over three months after she filibustered a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks—and became a champion for pro-abortion activists. Davis narrowly won her 2012 Senate seat in a swing district against a weak Republican candidate and could have lost her 2014 reelection bid. Davis is sure to draw pro-abortion financing, but so far she’s raised $1 million for the race, while presumptive Republican nominee Greg Abbott has hauled in $25 million.
Veteran Major League Baseball umpire Wally Bell, 48, died of a heart attack on Oct. 14, five days after he worked the National League Division Series in St. Louis. Bell, who had quintuple bypass surgery in 1999, complained of not feeling well and was scheduled to see a doctor later in the day. He became the first active MLB umpire to die since John McSherry collapsed on the field in Cincinnati in 1996. Bell spent 21 years as a big league umpire and worked three All-Star Games and the 2006 World Series.