Saturday, January 5, 2019

Those We Lost in 2018, continued


Presidents George Bush, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter assembled with First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Barbara Bush, Betty Ford, and Rosalynn Carter to rededicate the Gerald Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Just before their formal portrait was taken, President Bush gave the old "rabbits ears" to his wife Barbara. 

Barbara Bush (June 8, 1925 – April 17, 2018) – 

First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993 as the wife of George H. W. Bush, who served as the 41st President of the United States, and founder of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. 

As Barbara Pierce, she met George Bush at the age of sixteen, and the two married in Rye, New York in 1945, while he was on leave during his deployment as a Naval officer in World War II. They moved to Texas in 1948, where George later began his political career. 

During her husband’s time as President and beyond, she was a passionate advocate for literacy, believing that true equality required everyone to be able to read and write. 

She died of complications from congestive heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 

Barbara Bush is one of only two women in American history who can be called First Lady and First Mother. The only other woman to have been the wife and mother of presidents was Abigail Adams, whose husband, John, was the second president, and her son John Quincy Adams was the sixth. 

George and Barbara Bush wedding, New York, Jan. 6, 1945. 

Harry Anderson (October 14, 1952 – April 16, 2018) – 

American actor, comedian, and magician. 

Anderson is best known for the lead role of Judge Harry Stone on the 1984–1992 television series Night Court, and later starred in the sitcom Dave's World from 1993 to 1997. 

In addition to eight appearances on Saturday Night Live between 1981 and 1985, Anderson had a recurring guest role as con man Harry "The Hat" Gittes on Cheers, toured extensively as a magician, and did several magic/comedy shows for broadcast, including Harry Anderson's Sideshow (1987). He played Richie Tozier in the 1990 miniseries It, based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. 

In late January 2018, Anderson had a bout of influenza, and subsequently suffered several strokes. On April 16, 2018, Anderson died in his sleep aged 65 of a stroke due to influenza and heart disease. 

Anderson was drawn to magic when young. After moving to Los Angeles at age 16, he practised his skills often. He joined the Dante Magic Club in his teens and reportedly made money as a street magician in San Francisco when he was 17. He attended Buena Park High School before graduating from North Hollywood High School in 1970 as class valedictorian. From 1971 to 1976 he lived in Ashland, Oregon, performing magic and working with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. 

Ronald Lee Ermey (March 24, 1944 – April 15, 2018) – 

American actor, voice actor and Marine corps drill instructor. 

Ermey achieved fame when he played Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket, which earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Ermey was also a United States Marine Corps staff sergeant and an honorary gunnery sergeant. 

Ermey was often typecast in authority figure roles, and hosted two programs on the History Channel: Mail Call, in which he answered viewers' questions about various military issues both modern and historic; and Lock n' Load with R. Lee Ermey, which concerned the development of different types of weapons. He also hosted GunnyTime on the Outdoor Channel. 

Ermey died from complications related to pneumonia on April 15, 2018 aged 74. 

R. Lee Ermey went to director Stanley Kubrick and asked for the role of Gunnery Sgt. Hartmann. In his opinion, the actors on the set were not up to snuff. When Kubrick declined, Ermey barked an order for Kubrick to stand up when he was spoken to, and the director instinctively obeyed. Ermey got the role.

Ermey was initially hired as a consultant for the Marine Corps boot camp portion of the film, having been a Drill instructor and boot camp sergeant in the Marines. Whilst working on the film, he performed a demonstration on videotape in which he yelled obscene insults and abuse for 15 minutes without stopping, repeating himself or even flinching - despite being continuously pelted with tennis balls and oranges. Stanley Kubrick was so impressed that he cast Ermey as Hartman. 


May 8, 1964: Linda Brown Smith standing in front of the Sumner School in Topeka, Kansas, the school which refuised her admission.

Linda Carol Brown (February 20, 1943 – March 25, 2018) – 

Campaigner for equality in education. 

As a schoolgirl in 1954, Brown became the center of the landmark United States civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education. Brown was in third grade at the time, and sought to enroll at Sumner School in Topeka, Kansas. Her admission was denied based on her skin color. Her lawsuit against segregation in elementary schools was ultimately successful and the resulting Supreme Court precedent overturned the 'separate but equal' doctrine which had been previously established in Plessy v. Ferguson. 

Brown became an educator and civil rights advocate. 

She died on March 25 2018 aged 75. The cause of death has not been disclosed. 


Brown’s was one of a number of families involved in the landmark case but her name was first alphabetically, hence the name Brown v Board of Education. Although Brown was refused admission to an all-white school in her neighbourhood in 1950, by the time the case was decided in 1954 she was already in junior school and too old to attend the school that had refused her. That year, in a unanimous decision, the court ruled that segregated schools were inherently unequal. The decision upended decades’ worth of educational practice, in the South and elsewhere, and its ramifications are still being felt. 

Stephen Hawking (8 January 1942 – 14 March 2018) – 

English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author. 

Hawking was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. 

Hawking achieved commercial success with several works of popular science in which he discusses his own theories and cosmology in general. His book A Brief History of Time appeared on the British Sunday Times best-seller list for a record-breaking 237 weeks. 

A recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, in 2002, Hawking was ranked number 25 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. 

In 1963, Hawking was diagnosed with an early-onset slow-progressing form of motor neurone disease (MND; also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis "ALS" or Lou Gehrig's disease) that gradually paralysed him over the decades. Even after the loss of his speech, he was still able to communicate through a speech-generating device, initially through use of a hand-held switch, and eventually by using a single cheek muscle. 

He died on 14 March 2018 at the age of 76, after battling the disease for more than 50 years. 

In addition to his many books for adults, Hawking wrote several children’s books with his daughter, Lucy, that combine science and adventure.

These books all focus on a young boy named George, who learns about the universe by traveling around it. In the most recent one, George and the Blue Moon, George enters a Mars training program, “fighting for survival in what feels like the Hunger Games set on the red planet,” according to Hawking’s own description.

Yes, Hawking knew about the Hunger Games, as well as a few other things the kids are into these days. When asked about the significance of Zayn Malik leaving the band One Direction, he replied: “One day there may well be proof of multiple universes … and in that universe Zayn is still in One Direction.”

Freddie Oversteegen, at right in 1945 

Freddie Nanda Dekker-Oversteegen (6 September 1925 – 5 September 2018) – 

Dutch communist resistance member during the occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. 

Oversteegen experienced a series of heart attacks towards the end of her life. She died on 5 September 2018 in a nursing home in Driehuis, one day before her ninety-third birthday. 


Growing up in Holland during Germany's invasion and occupation of the country proved inconvenient for teenager Freddie Oversteegen, so she joined the Dutch resistance. She helped sabotage bridges with explosives, smuggle Jewish children out of camps and the country while disguised, and even just straight up shot and killed Nazis as they roared through on their bikes.

But Freddie didn't think these Nazis were suffering enough. She and fellow female resistance fighters would head to the taverns that Nazis would frequent, flirt and ask the soldiers if they wanted to "go for a stroll in the forest," then shoot them dead once they got somewhere isolated. Or as Freddie would say in her own words, she "liquidated" them.

Did we mention that she was 14 at the time?

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