As we sail through the 52nd week of 2011 and prepare ourselves for the arrival of 2012, many folks give thought as to ways in which they might become “better”. Some folks actually take those thoughts and turn them into actions. However, there are people who will not need to do any of that thinking or acting to prepare for 2012 because those folks passed from the scene in 2011. Here is a review of some people who will not join us on the Earth’s next orbit of the sun.
Gerry Rafferty went winding down Baker Street and wound up in Heaven.
Ryne Duren struck out the side for the last time.
Cookie Gilchrist took a handoff from Jack Kemp in the Cosmic Football League.
Anne Francis watched her credits roll.
Bennie Briscoe took a ten count.
David Nelson joined Ozzie, Harriet and Ricky in Heaven.
Margaret Whiting opened her first set at The Celestial Club with That Old Black Magic.
Sargent Shriver opened the first Peace Corps office in Heaven.
Gus Zernial took a called strike three from the Grim Reaper.
Jack LaLanne began selling juicers on the Heavenly Shopping Network.
[Aside: George Carlin once observed that so many people were focused on eating healthy and exercising that at some point nursing homes would overflow with people who were dying of nothing.]
Charlie Callas did his final stand-up routine.
Tim McCaskey hung in just long enough to see his Chicago Bears eliminated from the NFL Playoffs.
Woody Fryman hung his final curve ball.
John Getty III cashed his final royalty check.
Emory Bellard – - “inventor” of the wishbone offense – - took a knee.
Chuck Tanner sent his final pitcher to the showers.
Gino Cimoli stopped shagging flies.
Dave Duerson took his game to the Celestial Football League.
Ollie Matson ran his final “power sweep right”.
Duke Snider joined the other “Boys of Summer” in Heaven.
Jane Russell made the Pearly Gatekeeper smile.
David Broder filed his last column.
Rick Martin – - the Buffalo Sabre and not the “singer” – - did lunch with the Grim Reaper.
Owsley Stanley brewed his final batch of LSD.
Marty Marion started his final double play.
Ferlin Husky rode to the Pearly Gates On the Wings of a Snow White Dove.
Drew Hill ran his final post pattern.
Warren Christopher (former Secretary of State) got a Celestial Transfer.
Elizabeth Taylor reprised her role as Michael Jackson’s confidant.
Geraldine Ferraro went to the ECU – - the Eternal Care Unit.
Gil Clancy had dinner with Father Time.
Lou Gorman engineered his final trade.
Larry Finch led his final fast break.
Homer Smith gave his final halftime speech.
Grete Waitz entered the Celestial Marathon.
Jim Mandich caught his final pass over the middle.
William Donald Schaeffer sought a patronage job in Heaven.
Joe “the Jet” Perry hit the hole for the last time.
Henry Cooper had his last fight stopped.
Osama Bin Laden assumed room temperature.
[I really do not care if this makes me sound intolerant, but I hope the 72 virgins waiting for him in the next life all look like Janet Reno and have the soothing personality of Nancy Grace.]
Jackie Cooper began filming Our Gang episodes on location in Heaven.
Seve Ballesteros blasted out of his final sand trap.
Randy “Macho Man” Savage stared up at the lights one last time.
Andy Robustelli sacked his last quarterback.
Harmon Killebrew hit one out of this world.
Ron Springs declared for the Celestial Football League draft.
“Tractor” Traylor took his final rebound and ate his final pizza.
James Arness finally lost a gunfight in Dodge City.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian – ironically – died of natural causes.
John Henry Johnson joined former teammate Joe “the Jet” Perry in the backfield for the Sagittarius Sky Hawks.
Amb. Lawrence Eagleburger completed his final negotiations.
Jose Pagan turned his final double play.
Jim Northrup took a called strike three.
Clarence Clemons had his final sax solo.
Peter Falk took his raincoat to the Heavenly Dry Cleaning Service.
Nick Charles went off the air for the last time.
Lorenzo Charles won the Pearly Gates Basketball Tournament with a dunk at the buzzer.
Armon Gilliam took his final rebound.
Wes Covington hit his final home run.
John Mackey ran through an attempted tackle by St. Peter on his way into Heaven.
Betty Ford opened a Celebrity Rehab Clinic in the afterlife.
Dick Williams summoned his final reliever from the bullpen.
Sherwood Schwartz – - creator of Gilligan’s Island – - thought his funeral procession would be a three-hour tour.
Amy Winehouse finally got as high as possible.
Hideki Irabu struck himself out.
Bubba Smith sacked his final QB – - and was reunited with teammate John Mackey.
Scott LeDoux lost a unanimous decision to Father Time.
Ernie Johnson Sr. signed off the air permanently.
Don Chandler placed his final punt in the “coffin corner”.
Pete Pihos caught his last TD pass.
Marshall Grant reunited on bass guitar with Johnny Cash.
Jerry Leiber started writing new R&B songs for Elvis on the “Heavensent” label.
Norm “Wild Man” Willey joined his teammate – - Pete Pihos – - in Heaven.
Mike Flanagan got his celestial discharge.
Lee Roy Selmon stuffed his final running play.
Dave Hill sank his final putt.
Muammar Qaddafi ran out of time.
Mike Heimerdinger called his final play.
Pete Gent was buried on the North Forty somewhere near Dallas (of course).
Don Lapre started running his late night infomercials elsewhere in the cosmos.
Steve Jobs showed St. Peter the iBlessing app for the iPhone at the Pearly Gates.
Roger Williams saw the autumn leaves fall for the last time.
Arthur Neilsen Jr. started a rating system for HBC – the Heavenly Broadcasting Company.
Robert Pierpoint broke his final story.
Matty Alou got a TTJ – - a Transfer To Jesus.
Bob Forsch lost his opportunity to throw a third no-hitter.
Andy Rooney assumed the position of Curmudgeon-in-Residence in Heaven.
Joe Frazier did not answer the bell.
“Easy” Ed McCauley drilled his last jump shot.
Bil Keane became the cartoonist for The Heaven Gazette.
Charlie Lea became a starting pitcher for St. Peter’s Expos.
Walt Hazzard drove the lane for the last time.
Tom Wicker had his name added to Richard Nixon’s Celestial Enemies List,
Chester McGlockton executed his final swim move to get to a QB.
Alan Sues took his “Uncle Al the kiddies’ pal” act to Heaven.
Socrates – - the Brazilian soccer player, not the Greek philosopher – - started taking penalty kicks inside the Pearly Gates.
Harry Morgan assumed command of the Cosmic M*A*S*H unit.
Christopher Hitchens’ acerbic essays started running in Cosmic-politan Magazine.
Harley Sewell led his final power sweep.
Vaclav Havel took his Velvet Revolution to the cosmos.
Kim Jong Il left the planet.
That was 2011. Happy 2012 to all…