As the Earth completes yet one more journey around the Sun, it is time to look back and remember the folks who have passed on during the last year and who will not accompany us on the next circuit around the Sun. Due to upcoming travel plans, this compendium has to be made in early December this year rather than near the end of the month. Hence, there may be some important folks left off this list.
Richard Ben Cramer produced his final manuscript.
Peter Zezel took his final faceoff.
Conrad Bain took up his needling of Bea Arthur in Heaven.
“Abigail Van Buren” found that folks in Heaven do not need advice.
James Hood was glad to see that Gov. George Wallace was not barring his entry through the Pearly Gates.
Patti Page danced the Tennessee Waltz with the Grim Reaper.
Earl Weaver kicked dirt on home plate for the last time.
Stan Musial rounded the basis for the last time.
Earl Williams called for his final pitchout.
Ed Koch entered the primary to become Mayor of Heaven.
Walt Sweeney led his final power sweep.
Chuck Hinton hit his last home run.
Patty Andrews joined Maxine and LaVerne for a gig at the Cosmic Nightclub.
Jerry Buss did not wait around to see his Lakers miss the playoffs in 2013.
Van Cliburn finally met Tchaikovsky in person.
Dale Robertson began telling his Wells Fargo Tales in Heaven.
C. Everett Koop made sure Heaven was a No-Smoking Zone.
Bonnie Franklin started spending One Day At A Time in Heaven.
Hugo Chavez found it difficult to nationalize the Celestial oil industry.
Frank Thornton (Capt. Peacock) assured that everyone was being served at the Cosmic Department Store.
Steve Davis ran his final QB option play.
Harry Reems hooked up with Linda Lovelace somewhere in the cosmos.
Rise Stevens opened as Carmen in the Cosmic Opera House.
Harlan Hill caught his final TD pass.
Joe Weider began working God out on a medicine ball.
Virgil “Fire” Trucks fanned his last batter.
Gus Triandos caught his final game.
“Bullet” Bob Turley joined Gus Triandos in Heaven.
[Amazing Coincidences: 1. Virgil Trucks and Bob Turley were the starting pitchers in the first game ever played in Memorial Stadium by the Baltimore Orioles in 1954. 2. Bob Turley and Gus Triandos were involved in a trade that sent Turley to the Yankees and Triandos to the Orioles. 3. All three men died within a week of one another…]
Jack Pardee joined the REALLY Over the Hill Gang.
Chuck Fairbanks’ whistle went silent.
Roger Ebert got a big “thumbs up” from St. Peter.
Margaret Thatcher began an eternal session of PM Questions in the Cosmic Parliament.
Annette Funicello faded to black.
Marty Blake began scouting for teams in the Cosmic Basketball Association.
Carl “The Truth” Williams had his last sparring session.
Jonathon Winters had the audience in stitches at the Cosmic Nightclub.
Pat Summerall reunited with Tom Brookshier doing telecasts of the Celestial Football League games.
Al Neuarth began publishing “Cosmos Today”.
Richie Havens sang Here Comes the Sun from right next to the Sun.
Maria Tallchief performed Swan Lake for the last time.
Bob Edgar (R-PA) ceased worrying about pork barrel spending.
George Jones reunited with Tammy Wynette in Heaven.
Giulio Andreotti ordered sausage and peppers at the “Cielo Ristorante”.
Joe Astroth threw out his final player attempting to steal second base.
George Sauer did lunch with Father Time.
Dr. Joyce Brothers finally got to sit down and talk with James J. Jeffries and John L. Sullivan.
Chuck Muncie ran off tackle for the last time.
Billie Sol Estes began delivering money directly to LBJ again.
Dick Trickle took the checkered flag for the final time.
[Yes, his parents really named him Dick Trickle.]
Ken Venturi entered the Pearly Gates Open.
Flynn Robinson learned that indeed there is a 3-point line in the Cosmic Basketball Association.
Haynes Johnson got a press credential writing for the Celestial Post.
David “Deacon” Jones delivered a head-slap to St. Peter and stormed through the Pearly Gates.
Miller Barber went to the 19th Hole for the last time.
Richie Phillips began organizing an umpire’s union for the Celestial Baseball League.
Jean Stapleton proved that even dingbats could get into Heaven.
David Jennings’ final punt landed in the “coffin corner”.
Slim Whitman yodeled his way into Heaven.
James Gandolphini (aka Tony Soprano) went to sleep with the fishes.
Jeanne Cooper ceased to be Young and Restless.
Stan Lopata went to the other side of the grass.
Cory Monteith ceased to be “Glee”-ful.
Leonard Garment resumed representation of Richard Nixon in Cosmic Court.
Helen Thomas got to ask God the first question at God’s press conferences.
Dennis Farina found out there is indeed Law and Order in Heaven.
Emile Griffith took a ten count.
George “Boomer” Scott did his home run trot for the last time.
Sen. Harry Byrd (D-VA) began his first filibuster in the Cosmic Caucus.
Dick Kazmaier ran off tackle from the single wing for the final time.
Art Donovan made his last tackle.
Shawn Burr killed his final penalty.
Jerry Wolman finally stopped having to pay Joe Kuharich to coach the Eagles.
Karen Black took an “easy ride” to heaven.
Johnny Logan started his final 6-4-3 double play.
Eydie Gorme told St. Peter to Blame It on the Bossa Nova.
Jack Germond broke his first story for the Cosmic Sun.
Burt Lance began managing and budgeting in Heaven.
Elmore Leonard was transferred to the Eternal Care Unit.
Dean Meminger dished his final assist.
David Frost scheduled another interview with Richard Nixon to run on the Heavenly Broadcasting Company.
Tommy Morrison lost a unanimous decision.
Zelmo Beaty took down his final rebound.
Frank Tripuka completed his final pass.
Ken Norton Sr. began training for an eventual re-match with Muhammad Ali in Heaven.
Paul Dietzel got to renew his rivalry with Bear Bryant.
Gates Brown pinch-hit for the last time.
LC Greenwood sacked his final QB.
Tom Clancy ceased to hunt for Red October.
[Fittingly, Clancy died on 1 October…]
Andy Pafko made his final diving catch in the outfield.
Scott Carpenter soared higher than merely orbiting the earth.
Wally Bell called his final third strike.
Bum Phillips acknowledged “Luv Ya Blue” cheers for the final time.
Don James held his final practice.
Bud Adams went to the giant parking lot in the sky.
Bill Sharman sank his final free throw.
Tom Foley (D-Wash) decided to run for the Heavenly Legislature.
Walt “The Big Bell” Bellamy went silent.
Charlie Trotter started as Escoffier’s sous-chef in Heaven’s Kitchen.
Johnny Kucks threw his final shutout.
Todd Christensen caught his final TD pass.
Jerry Seeman threw his final penalty flag.
Nelson Mandela’s long walk to freedom wound up at the Pearly Gates.
Rest in peace to all…