2015 Year in Review


News Highlights

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - DECEMBER 24: People attend a Christmas mass at the St. Anthony of Padua Church in Istanbul, Turkey on December 24, 2014. (Photo by Erhan Elaldi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

People attend a Christmas mass at the St. Anthony of Padua Church in Istanbul, Turkey on December 24, 2014. (Photo by Erhan Elaldi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)


by World News Magazine


Jan. 1
Vietnam legalizes same-sex marriage.

Jan. 2
Turkey grants permission to construct the first church building in the country in nearly a century.

Jan. 3
Boko Haram militants attack residents of Baga and other Nigerian towns, killing as many as 2,000 and sending thousands of survivors fleeing.

Jan. 6
The price of crude oil drops below $48 per barrel, the lowest price since April 2009.
Same-sex couples can begin obtaining marriage licenses in Florida.

Jan. 7
Islamist gunmen storm the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 persons. Two more days of terror attacks ensue.

Jan. 9
A New York judge sentences radical imam Abu Hamza al-Masri to life in prison on federal terrorism charges.

Jan. 11
Millions (including many foreign presidents and prime ministers, but not Barack Obama) march down the Boulevard Voltaire in Paris to protest the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Jan. 12
Underdog Ohio State, led by quarterback Cardale Jones, upsets Oregon 42-20 to win the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship.

Jan. 13
A rocket attack on a passenger bus kills 12 civilians in pro-Russian separatist-held Donetsk in eastern Ukraine.

Jan. 14
Flash flooding in Malawi displaces 100,000 persons and kills at least 175.

Jan. 16
The U.S. Department of Defense announces plans to send troops to train supposed moderate Syrian rebels.

Jan. 18
Boko Haram militants kidnap 80 persons, including 50 children, in northern Cameroon.

Jan. 21
U.S. diplomats arrive in Havana (for the first time since the 1970s) for two days of talks aimed at normalizing relations with Cuba.

Feb. 1
In the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots intercept an end zone pass and beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24.

Feb. 3
ISIS releases a video showing it burned alive captured Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh.

Feb.4                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement among twelve Pacific Rim countries signed on 4 February 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand, after seven years of negotiations, which has not entered into force.

Year in Review4 - Trans Pacific Partnership Passed

Feb. 10
Craig Stephen Hicks kills three Muslim college students in Chapel Hill, N.C.
NBC suspends NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams ­following revelations he misrepresented his ­experiences while ­embedded with U.S. ­military forces.

Feb. 11
The United States, France, and Britain evacuate their embassies in Sanaa, Yemen, as an anti-American Shiite militia takes power.

Feb. 14
A Muslim extremist attacks a free-speech event at a Copenhagen café, killing one man and wounding three police officers. He later kills a second man and wounds two more police officers before he is shot dead.

Feb. 15
ISIS releases a video showing the beheading of 21 Christians—one from Ghana and 20 from Egypt—kidnapped in Libya.

Feb. 18
Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran files suit against the city of Atlanta and Mayor Kasim Reed, saying the city violated his equal protection rights in firing him over his Christian beliefs.

Feb. 23
Islamic State militants kidnap more than 250 Assyrian Christians and kill at least 15 in northern Syria. ISIS later releases 19 captives.

Feb. 24
Alaska becomes the third state to legalize recreational marijuana.
The United Kingdom becomes the first country to legalize the creation of three-parent embryos.
A Texas jury convicts Eddie Ray Routh in the murders of Chad Littlefield and former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, known from the movie and memoir American Sniper.

Feb. 25
Winter storm “Remus” hits the South, dumping up to a foot of snow and stranding motorists along Alabama’s Interstate 65.

March 1
Thousands of mourners and protesters march in Moscow to remember Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, 55, assassinated two days earlier.

March 6
A Wisconsin police officer fatally shoots Tony Robinson, 19, during an altercation. The incident sparks protests.

March 8
Thousands gather in Selma, Ala., to observe the 50th anniversary of the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” civil rights march.

March 10
Hillary Clinton addresses questions regarding her use of a private email account while secretary of state.
The University of Oklahoma expels two students responsible for leading Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members in singing a racist chant.

March 15
Boston records its snowiest season on record with 108.6 inches.

March 17
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party wins big in national elections.

March 24
Apparently suicidal German co-pilot Andreas Lubitz crashes Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard.

March 25
After the U.S. trades five Taliban prisoners to gain Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s freedom, military officials charge him with desertion.

March 26
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Saudi Arabia begins airstrikes in Yemen targeting the Houthi rebels backed by Iran and Hezbollah.

March 28
Amid election day attacks by Boko Haram, Muslim leader Muhammadu Buhari defeats President Goodluck Jonathan in Nigerian elections.

April 1
Gov. Jerry Brown orders mandatory water use reductions for the first time in California’s history, as the state’s four-year drought reaches near-crisis proportions.

April 2
Al-Shabab militants kill 147, mostly students, at Garissa University in Kenya.
The United States, Iran, and five world powers agree on a nuclear deal framework.

April 4
South Carolina policeman Michael Slager shoots and kills Walter Scott, an unarmed African-American fleeing a traffic stop.

April 5
Rolling Stone retracts a discredited article about a purported gang rape at the University of Virginia.

April 7
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signs a law banning late-term dismemberment abortion.

April 8
The district attorney drops murder charges against Texas mother Hannah Overton in the death of her foster son Andrew.

April 10
Barack Obama and Raúl Castro shake hands in Panama, in the first such meeting between U.S. and Cuban presidents since the Cuban Revolution.

April 12
Baltimore police arrest Freddie Gray, who sustains injuries, falls into a coma, and dies on April 19. Violent protests and rioting follow.

April 19
ISIS releases a video showing militants executing at least 35 Ethiopian Coptic Christians in Libya.
As many as 700 migrants die when their boat sinks while crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Libya to Italy.

April 24
Former Olympic champion Bruce Jenner says he is transgender. He soon appears on the cover of Vanity Fair as “Caitlyn.”

April 25
A Nepal earthquake kills more than 8,000 persons and injures more than 23,000.

April 28
Nigeria’s army rescues 200 girls and 93 women from Boko Haram.

May 3
Police shoot and kill two armed men attempting to assault a Garland, Texas, event featuring cartoons of Muhammad.

May 8
Prime Minister David Cameron and his Conservative Party emerge victorious in British elections.

May 9
Liberia marks the end of an Ebola epidemic that claimed the lives of more than 4,700 citizens. More cases re-emerge in following months.

May 11
The NFL suspends New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady for four games and penalizes the team for its role in “Deflategate.” A judge later overturns the suspension.

May 13
The USDA reports that over the past year more than 40 percent of honeybee colonies have died.

May 17
A biker brawl at a restaurant in Waco, Texas, leaves nine persons dead, 18 injured, and 170 under arrest.
ISIS seizes control of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s Anbar province. Thousands of Iraqis flee.

May 19
A ruptured pipeline north of Santa Barbara, Calif., leaks 105,000 gallons of crude oil, with 21,000 gallons contaminating the Pacific Ocean.

May 21
Josh Duggar resigns from the Family Research Council after publication of sexual abuse accusations from 12 years prior. On July 16, TLC cancels the show 19 Kids and Counting.

May 22
Citizens in Ireland vote to legalize same-sex marriage.

May 26
The IRS reports that thieves hacked into its system and compromised thousands of taxpayer accounts.

May 28
A federal grand jury indicts former U.S. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert on charges of lying to FBI agents and making illegal payments to an undisclosed person to cover up “prior misconduct.”

May 29
The United States officially removes Cuba from its list of state sponsors of terror.

June 1
A Chinese cruise ship capsizes and sinks during a windstorm, killing more than 400 persons.

June 2
Indian officials say a heat wave suffocating the country has left more than 2,300 persons dead.
Wholesale egg prices hit a record $2.62 per dozen due to a bird flu outbreak.

June 6
Thoroughbred American Pharoah finishes first in the Belmont Stakes and nabs the first Triple Crown in decades.

Triple Crown winner American Pharoah


June 9
An appellate court rules that Texas can require abortion clinics to meet the same standards that hospital-style surgical centers must meet.

June 12
Amid a worsening drought, California lawmakers tell farmers to reduce their water consumption, the biggest cuts in the state’s history.

June 16
The FDA tells companies they have until 2018 to remove all artificial trans fats from food products.
The Golden State Warriors defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-97 in Game 6 to win the NBA championship.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         _ _ _

Donal Trump, real estate mogul and TV reality star launched his presidential campaign, ending more than two decades of persistent flirtation with the idea of running for the Oval Office.

Trump Calls for Ban of Muslims


June 17
Dylann Roof, 21, sits for an hour in a Bible study before opening fire, killing nine persons at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.

June 25
The Supreme Court upholds key provisions of Obamacare.

June 26
The U.S. Supreme Court votes 5-4 to force states to redefine marriage and recognize same-sex marriages.

The U.S. Supreme Court votes 5-4 for Same-sex marriage


June 30
Greece’s bailout expires and the country defaults on a $1.7 billion payment to the International Monetary Fund.

July 1
The Episcopal Church votes in favor of allowing religious weddings for same-sex couples.
Cuba and the United States agree to reopen embassies in Havana and Washington.

July 2
A ferry capsizes in the Philippines, killing at least 61 persons.

July 9
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signs legislation removing the Confederate flag from Statehouse grounds where it flew for more than half a century.

July 13
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announces plans to allow openly transgender persons to serve in the military.

July 14
The United States and five other powers reach a nuclear deal with Iran.
NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft completes a historic flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto and its five moons.

July 16
Boko Haram claims responsibility for two explosions at a Gombe, Nigeria, market that kill at least 49 persons.
Gunman Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez attacks two military centers in Chattanooga, Tenn., killing four Marines and a Navy sailor.

July 19
A white University of Cincinnati police officer shoots and kills Samuel DuBose, an unarmed African-American, during a traffic stop.

July 27
The Boy Scouts of America votes to end its ban on gay scout leaders.
Thirty-five women who have accused comedian Bill Cosby of sexual assault appear on the cover of New York magazine.

July 28
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia announces it successfully conducted the first pediatric double hand transplant in the world for 8-year-old Zion Harvey.

July 29
Turkey launches airstrikes on Kurdistan Workers’ Party camps in northern Iraq, upsetting Kurds who play a leading role in the fight against the Islamic State.

Aug. 2
Nigeria announces its army rescued 178 kidnapped persons from Boko Haram.

Aug. 5
A U.S. appeals court strikes down a Texas law requiring voters to show identification before voting.
An EPA cleanup crew investigating a leak accidentally creates an environmental disaster when a debris dam breaks and releases 3 million gallons of toxic sludge into Colorado’s pristine Animas River.

Aug. 6
ISIS seizes Al-Qaryatayn in Syria and kidnaps 200 civilians. It later bulldozes parts of the ancient Mar Elian monastery.

Aug. 11
Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton hands over a personal email server to the FBI.

Aug. 12
Explosions at a chemical warehouse in Tianjin, China, leave 173 persons dead.

Aug. 13
A Boko Haram attack on a Nigerian village leaves 151 persons dead. Many of the dead had drowned as they tried to flee across a river.

Aug. 16
Government airstrikes on a Syrian marketplace in the rebel-held town of Douma leave at least 80 persons dead.

Aug. 18
Hackers leak private data on the 30 million users of the infidelity-promoting website Ashley Madison.

Aug. 21
Three Americans and one Briton thwart an apparent terrorist attack aboard a high-speed train en route to Paris.
1st Lts. Shaye Haver and Kristen Griest become the first women to graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger School.

Aug. 22
Responding to undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood engaged in sale of baby body parts, 80,000 protesters at 354 PP locations call on Congress to strip taxpayer funding from the abortion giant.

Aug. 24
China’s stock market records the biggest slide in eight years and spurs a 1,000-point plunge on the Dow Jones industrial average.

Aug. 26
Vester Flanagan shoots and kills reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward during a live broadcast in Virginia.

Sept. 2
The body of a 3-year-old Syrian migrant boy ends up on a beach in Turkey, prompting an international outcry about the refugee crisis.

Sept. 3
Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, found in contempt of court after she declines to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, goes to jail until Sept. 8.

Sept. 8
Pope Francis changes Roman Catholic policy to make it easier for married couples to get annulments.

Sept. 11
A large construction crane topples onto the roof of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing more than 100 persons.

Sept. 15
North Korea says it is ready to use nuclear weapons against the United States and any others opposed to the regime.

Sept. 17
Senate Republicans fail in their last-ditch effort to pass legislation derailing President Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran.

Sept. 19
Pope Francis begins his visit to Cuba and the United States.

Sept. 21
Goshen College and Eastern Mennonite University, which changed their hiring policies to include employees in same-sex marriages, leave the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, averting a likely split in the organization.

Sept. 22
Senate Democrats block the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.

Sept. 23
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn resigns after revelations that the company falsified emissions tests on some of its vehicles.

Sept. 24
A stampede at the annual Muslim pilgrimage to the city of Mecca kills more than 2,000 persons.

Sept. 27
A supermoon lunar eclipse occurs: It marks the end of a series of four total lunar eclipses that began in April 2014.

Sept. 30
Russia intervenes in the Syrian civil war—in support of President Bashar al-Assad—with a series of airstrikes.

Oct. 1
A landslide in a Guatemalan village kills more than 250 persons and leaves dozens missing.
Christopher Harper-Mercer, 26, opens fire at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College, killing nine persons and injuring nine others.

Oct. 3
Doctors Without Borders accuses the United States of war crimes after a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan destroyed one of its hospitals and killed 22 persons.

Oct. 4
ISIS militants continue to destroy ancient artifacts by blowing up Palmyra’s Arch of Triumph.
Torrential rainstorms, fueled in part by Hurricane Joaquin, trigger massive flooding across South Carolina.

Oct. 5
The United States and 11 Pacific Rim countries finalize the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Gov. Jerry Brown signs legislation making California the fifth state to legalize physician-assisted suicide.

Oct. 7
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei bans Iran from negotiating further with the United States after world powers reached a nuclear deal.

Oct. 10
Two bombs explode outside Ankara’s main railway station in Turkey, killing more than 100 persons.
Iran tests a medium-range missile capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.

Oct. 27
Tensions mount after a U.S. warship sails by one of China’s artificial islands in the disputed Spratly region.

Oct. 29
After weeks of political negotiations, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., emerges as the successor to departing Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Oct. 31
A Russian plane crashes on the Sinai Peninsula, killing all 224 persons aboard. Intelligence sources later show evidence of ISIS responsibility.

Nov. 1
The Kansas City Royals defeat the New York Mets 7-2 in Game 5 to win the World Series.

Nov. 3
Houston voters defeat a gay and transgender rights ordinance, and Ohio voters reject a measure to legalize marijuana.

Nov. 4
University of California at Merced student Faisal Mohammad stabs four people on campus before police shoot and kill him.

Nov. 6
President Obama rejects TransCanada’s request to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Nov. 8
In Myanmar elections, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy win a landslide victory.

Nov. 9
University of Missouri President Tim Wolfe resigns amid student protests against racism on campus.

Nov. 12
Islamic terrorists carry out two suicide bombings in Beirut, killing at least 43 persons and injuring more than 200.

Nov. 13
In coordinated attacks across Paris, teams of Islamic terrorists linked to ISIS kill at least 129 persons and injure scores more.
A U.S. airstrike reportedly kills Wisam al Zubaidi, the leader of the Islamic State affiliate in Libya.

Nov. 23
The U.S. State Department issues a worldwide travel alert due to the risk of increased terrorism. Brussels remains at the highest alert level.

Nov. 24
After escalating warnings to stop violating its airspace, Turkey shoots down a Russian military jet near the Syrian border.

Turkey shot down Russian jet after supposed warnings


Nov. 27
Robert Lewis Dear, 57, allegedly opens fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., killing three persons and wounding nine others.

Dec. 2
Syed Farook and his Pakistani wife, Tashfeen Malik, open fire and kill 14 persons and injure 21 others at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, Calif.
Britain’s Parliament votes to join its allies in fighting ISIS in Syria. Two days later, Germany votes to join the fight against ISIS.

Dec. 3
The U.S. Senate votes to repeal parts of Obamacare and cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter opens all jobs in combat units to women.

Dec.6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    President Obama addresses the nation, promising to “destroy” ISIS but offering no new military strategy.


US Provides Training for Syrian Rebels








Dec. 7
In the wake of the San Bernardino attack, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump calls for a halt to the entry of Muslims into the United States.

Dec. 8
The U.S. House votes to tighten a visa waiver program to make it harder for terrorists to enter the country.

Dec. 9
The U.S. Senate passes the Every Student Succeeds Act, an education overhaul that replaces No Child Left Behind. President Obama signs it into law the next day.

Dec. 12
Saudi Arabia allows women to run for office and vote for the first time.
World leaders in Paris claim their countries will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Dec. 14
Oil prices continue to fall, dropping below $35 per barrel.
Hollywood hosts the world premiere of the new Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens.


Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz
90 / Jan. 22 / Sixth and most reform-minded king of Saudi Arabia so far, a U.S. Sunni ally who cracked down on extremism and encouraged interfaith tolerance by example but kept the lid on religious freedom and maintained the royal family’s power and strict political control.
Brad Anderson
91 / Aug. 30 / Cartoonist who in 1954 created “Marmaduke,” a ­mischievous but lovable Great Dane, seen in up to 600 newspapers in 20 countries.
Lynn Anderson
67 / July 30 / Lawrence Welk Show regular in the 1960s and popular country singer best known for her classic 1970 recording “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden.”

Tariq Aziz
79 / June 5 / Chaldean Christian by birth in Mosul, Iraq, native Aramaic speaker, and former journalist, he was the silver-haired, cigar-smoking foreign minister and international spokesman on behalf of Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein for 20 years.

Bill Badger
78 / March 11 / Retired Army colonel and hero who ended the 2011 ­shooting rampage that killed six and wounded 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, in Tucson, Ariz. Suffering a gunshot graze wound to the head himself, he tackled and helped subdue assailant Jared Loughner.

Ernie Banks
83 / Jan. 23 / Two-time National League baseball MVP as shortstop and slugger with the Chicago Cubs. He hit 512 home runs during his 1953-1971 career. The team’s first African-American player, he was known and loved by fans as “Mr. Cub” for his consistently cheery and upbeat attitude despite the team’s disappointing also-ran records.

Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs poses for a portrait circa 1963. (Photo by Louis Requena/MLB Photos)

Chuck Bednarik
89 / March 21 / Rough-and-tough football great; two-time All-American at the University of Pennsylvania, where he played center; and Hall of Fame center and linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles (1949-1962), one of the last NFL players to play on both offense and defense.

Walter Berns
95 / Jan. 10 / Distinguished constitutional scholar, political scientist, author, and university professor whose insistence that a democracy depends on the character of its people (“the purpose of law is and must be to promote virtue”) thrust him to the forefront of America’s 20th-century conservative movement.

Yogi Berra
90 / Sept. 22 / Eighth-grade dropout, a WWII Navy ­combat veteran, a wit whose humorous “Yogi-isms” often turned meanings on end but endearingly so for many, and one of baseball’s greats as catcher and a power batter for the New York Yankees (1946-1963). The 15-time All-Star hit 358 home runs, drove in 1,430 runs, and won 10 World Series with the Yankees.

Portrait of New York Yankees guest coach Yogi Berra during spring training photo shoot at Legends Field. Tampa, Florida

James Best
88 / April 6 / Actor with 83 movies and 600 TV shows to his credit, but remembered best for his role as Rosco P. Coltrane, the bumbling sheriff of Hazzard County, in The Dukes of Hazzard (1979-1985).

Theodore Bikel
91 / July 21 / Versatile singer, stage and screen character actor, and ­sometimes social activist who toured on stage for decades as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof and created the role of Baron von Trapp in the original Broadway ­production of The Sound of Music.

Julian Bond
75 / Aug. 15 / Articulate civil rights advocate for more than 50 years as a Georgia legislator, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, chairman of the NAACP, and university professor.

Khan Bonfils
42 / Jan. 5 / Actor known for his roles in James Bond and Star Wars films, especially as Jedi master Saesee Tiin in Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace.

Arnaud de Borchgrave
88 / Feb. 15 / Flamboyant, well-­connected journalist was chief foreign correspondent for Newsweek for 25 years, editor in chief of The Washington Times (1984-1991), and CEO of United Press International.

Marcus Borg
72 / Jan. 21 / Prominent Lutheran-raised liberal theologian, religion professor at Oregon State University (1979-2007), author (Jesus: A New Vision), and a leading scholar in the Jesus Seminar.

Malcolm Boyd
91 / Feb. 27 / Episcopal priest, known for his civil rights activism and anti-war protests in the 1960s and ’70s, his writings (of his 28 books, his 1965 Are You Running With Me, Jesus? was a bestseller), and his mid-1970s public declaration that he was gay—one of the earliest clergy ­notables to do so.

Edward Brooke
95 / Jan. 3 / Liberal Republican politician from Massachusetts who was the first African-American elected to the U.S. Senate.

Jim Ed Brown
81 / June 11 / Country music regular at the Grand Ole Opry for more than 50 years, with many solo and group hits with his sisters Maxine and Bonnie. The trio’s 1959 recording of “The Three Bells” (ringing from a chapel for birth, marriage, and death) led the Billboard country chart for 10 weeks and crossed over as the No. 1 pop song for a month.

Marcia Brown
86 / April 28 / Award-winning author and illustrator of ­children’s books, including Cinderella, Once a Mouse, and Shadow.

Vincent Bugliosi
80 / June 6 / Prosecutor in the Charles Manson trial who went on to write the best-selling true-crime book about the murder case, Helter Skelter.

Eva Burrows
85 / March 20 / Australia-born top elected “General” (1986-1993) of the Salvation Army denomination, founded in 1865 and headquartered in London. She rekindled evangelism as the group’s primary founding goal. During communism’s collapse in Eastern Europe and Russia (1989-1991), she quickly arranged for re-entry of the faith group into the countries that had banned it.

David Canary
77 / Nov. 16 / Actor who played the good-and-evil twins Adam and Stuart Chandler on ABC’s daytime soap All My Children for nearly 30 years, beginning in 1984, with five Emmy wins for Outstanding Lead Actor.

Wayne Carson
72 / July 20 / Award-­winning songwriter of many chart-topping country-pop hits in the 1960s and ’70s, including “Always on My Mind,” “The Letter,” and “Somebody Like Me.”

Billy Casper
83 / Feb. 7 / Under-famed golfing great, a brilliant putter who took up the sport in 1955, won 51 PGA tournaments, two U.S. Opens, and a Masters.

Owen Chadwick
99 / July 17 / Eminent British historian of Christianity, longtime Cambridge professor, and prolific author whose topics ranged from biographies to portrayals of rural church life and incisive church history (from his 1964 The Reformation to his 1993 The Christian Church in the Cold War). He helped to oversee the 16-volume The Oxford History of the Christian Church, contributing three of the ­volumes himself.

Stéphane Charbonnier
47 / Jan. 7 / French cartoonist and editor of the Paris-based Charlie Hebdo magazine known most for his satire of Islam and Muhammad. Muslim terrorists murdered him and 11 others in Paris.

Ornette Coleman
85 / June 11 / Composer, saxophonist, a leading innovator of the free jazz movement of the 1950s and ’60s, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2007.

Jackie Collins
77 / Sept. 19 / Writer with a troubled past whose explicitly sensuous novels sold tens of millions of copies worldwide, including her 1983 opus, Hollywood Wives (more than 15 ­million sold).

John P. Connell
91 / Sept. 10 / Actor best known for his starring role in TV’s live soap opera Young Dr. Malone (1958-1963).

Catherine Coulson
71 / Sept. 28 / Actress known for her early 1990s TV role in Twin Peaks as Margaret Lanterman, aka “the log lady,” an eccentric woodsman’s widow who claimed her chunk of ponderosa pine knew the town’s secrets.

Yvonne Craig
78 / Aug. 17 / Actress who starred as Batgirl in the 1960s ABC series Batman.

Andraé Crouch
72 / Jan. 8 / One of gospel music’s all-time greats (seven Grammy awards, six Dove awards), a singer, songwriter, and arranger whose soulful, rhythmic, remarkably singable creations (like “Soon And Very Soon” and “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power”—written in his midteens) bridged racial and generational divides.

Andraé Crouch

Suzanne Crough
52 / April 27 / Actress who played Tracy, the redheaded youngest daughter on ABC’s 1970-1974 TV series The Partridge Family.

Mario Cuomo
82 / Jan. 1 / Three-term governor of New York and liberal ­beacon for the Democratic party during the Ronald Reagan era.

Gary Ross Dahl
78 / March 23 / Marketing executive who created the “Pet Rock,” a wildly popular 1970s fad, and wrote Advertising for Dummies.

Jean Darling
93 / Sept. 4 / One of the last surviving characters from Hal Roach’s silent-film Our Gang series (renamed The Little Rascals in the sound and TV eras).

Bruce Dayton
97 / Nov. 13 / Father of Minnesota’s governor and last of the five brothers who turned their family’s regional Hudson-Dayton department store business into the national retail discount giant Target Corp., with about 1,800 U.S. stores and more than $70 billion in annual sales.

“Little Jimmy” Dickens
94 / Jan. 2 / Diminutive country singer-songwriter with a big sense of humor and the oldest active cast member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Donna Douglas
81 / Jan. 1 / Actress known for her role as the buxom tomboy Elly May Clampett in the 1960s TV sitcom series The Beverly Hillbillies.

Donna Douglas

Richard Dysart
86 / April 5 / Veteran stage and screen actor who played senior partner Leland McKenzie in the long-running TV courtroom drama L.A. Law.

Anita Ekberg
83 / Jan. 11 / Blond former Miss Sweden who became Hollywood’s sensuous symbol of beauty in the 1950s, best known for her role in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita.

Elisabeth Elliot
88 / June 15 / Best-selling Christian author (Through Gates of Splendor), speaker, and former missionary with her husband Jim Elliot, one of five missionaries martyred in Ecuador in 1956.

Elisabeth Elliot

M. Stanton Evans
80 / March 3 / Guiding force in modern conservatism, he was a journalist who worked for ­conservative intellectual giant William Buckley at National Review, editor of the Indianapolis News (1959-1974), primary author in 1960 of the founding document of principles of the Young Americans for Freedom, tactician for Ronald Reagan, columnist, author of many books, and founder-director in 1977 of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., offering journalism training and internship placements to hundreds of students.

Michele Ferrero
89 / Feb. 14 / Italian candymaker who brought Nutella chocolate and hazelnut spread, Tic Tac mints, and namesake Ferrero Rocher chocolates to the world.

Mervin Field
94 / June 8 / Protégé of George Gallup and public opinion researcher who in 1947 launched the California Poll, a one-man endeavor to track the state’s political winds, later enlarged and renamed the Field Poll, the standard for nonpartisan polling in the state.

Stan Freberg
88 / April 7 / Wacky, versatile humorist who made hit comedy records, voiced many cartoon characters, hosted radio and TV specials (including outrageously amusing put-downs of liberal American foibles), and reached his zenith as Advertising Age’s “father of the funny ­commercial” (as in “Today the pits; tomorrow the wrinkles. Sunsweet marches on!” and Contadina’s “Who put eight great tomatoes in that little bitty can?”).

Francis George
78 / April 17 / Vatican cardinal and retired archbishop of Chicago who in 2002 during the clergy sexual abuse scandal urged the church to bar any priest from serving who faced credible allegations. He later led the U.S. bishops’ fight against Obamacare on religious liberty grounds—opposing its contraception mandate and ­closing the archdiocese’s Catholic Charities foster care arm when the state tried to force the group to place children with same-sex couples.

Frank Gifford
84 / Aug. 9 / NFL Hall of Fame running back, receiver, and defensive back for the New York Giants (1952-1964) who became a sports commentator for CBS and went on to announce NFL games for ABC’s Monday Night Football (1971-1997). An autopsy revealed Gifford had suffered from chronic ­traumatic encephalopathy, a condition common among ­football players.

Frank Gifford

Martin Gilbert
78 / Feb. 3 / Preeminent British ­historian, the official biographer of Winston Churchill, and author of more than 80 books chronicling World War II, the Holocaust, the founding of the state of Israel, and other important events of his era.

Ronnie Gilbert
88 / June 6 / Audacious alto folk singer, the female member of the trendsetting, post-WWII leftist-minded quartet “The Weavers” (with Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, and Fred Hellerman), known for folk standards like “This Land Is Your Land,” “On Top of Old Smoky,” and “Goodnight, Irene.”

Melvin Gordon
95 / Jan. 20 / Business leader who for more than 50 years headed the ­secretive candymaker Tootsie Roll Industries (dating from 1896, when a New York confectioner started making the chewy chocolate rolls, naming them for his daughter).

Lesley Gore
68 / Feb. 16 / Pop music singer who as a teenager zoomed to stardom with hit songs about heartbreak and jilted romances (“It’s My Party”) that ­segued later into feminist themes (“You Don’t Own Me”).

Lari Goss
69 / Jan. 10 / Gifted gospel music ­legend with multiple awards as a ­producer, arranger, recording artist, and songwriter (“Cornerstone”).

Steve Hayner
66 / Jan. 31 / Presbyterian minister, president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (1988-2001), professor of evangelism and church growth at Columbia Seminary (2003-2009), and the seminary’s president (2009-2014).

Marques Haynes
89 / May 22 / Basketball wizard, often dubbed the “world’s greatest dribbler,” who dazzled opponents and millions of spectators for more than 50 years with his ball-handling skills for the Harlem Globetrotters and other barnstorming teams.

Billy Ray Hearn
85 / April 15 / Pioneer of contemporary Christian music who began as a Baylor-trained Southern Baptist music minister, became an executive at Word Inc., signed up many of the best-known Christian recording artists, and went on to ­create record labels (Myrrh, Sparrow) and international music companies.

LaBreeska Hemphill
75 / Dec. 9 / Forceful-voiced matriarch of the gospel singing family The Hemphills that received eight GMA Dove awards, best known for their 1981 hit, “He’s Still Working on Me.”

Theodore Hesburgh
97 / Feb. 26 / Influential Holy Cross Catholic priest who was president of Notre Dame University (1952-1987) and achieved his goals of enlarging the school, changing its status to coeducational and its governance to independent and making it as well known and respected for its academic standing as it was for its reputation in football.

Dean Jones
84 / Sept. 1 / Genial screen and stage star best known for his roles in Disney films, including those where his co-star was a cat (That Darn Cat), a dog (The Ugly Dachshund), and a Volkswagen Beetle race car (The Love Bug). On Broadway, he was the original lead in Stephen Sondheim’s 1970 musical Company. He professed faith in Christ in the early 1970s and became involved in Christian projects.

Louis Jourdan
93 / Feb. 14 / Handsome French actor who appeared in films and on television in Europe and America for more than 50 years, including as a romantic hero in the acclaimed award-winning movie Gigi (1958) and a charming villain in the James Bond movie Octopussy (1983).

Mary Doyle Keefe
92 / April 21 / Petite Vermont model for Norman Rockwell’s 1943 faux muscular “Rosie the Riveter” cover image for The Saturday Evening Post, symbolizing the women who worked in American industry while millions of men were at war.

B.B. King
89 / May 14 / Singer-guitarist known as “The King of the Blues,” with hits such as “My Lucille,” “Sweet Little Angel,” and “Rock Me Baby.”

Ben E. King
76 / April 30 / Soulful baritone who led The Drifters with hits in the late 1950s and early ’60s and scored big with his classic solo singles “Spanish Harlem” and “Stand By Me.”

Christopher Lee
93 / June 7 / English actor whose visage became the face of evil in his film roles as villains Dracula and Frankenstein, as Count Dooku in Star Wars, as the ­wizard Saruman in Lord of the Rings, and others.

Joan Leslie
90 / Oct. 12 / One of the most popular actresses in Hollywood’s Golden Age of the 1930s and ’40s, she played opposite Humphrey Bogart and Ida Lupino in High Sierra, Gary Cooper in Sergeant York, Fred Astaire in The Sky’s the Limit, James Cagney in Yankee Doodle Dandy, and Ronald Reagan in WWII’s This Is the Army.

Monica Lewis
93 / June 12 / Singer and performer known to millions as the spirited voice for Chiquita Bananas in a 1947 commercial aired repeatedly on many broadcast outlets for 14 years.

Earl Lloyd
86 / Feb. 26 / First black player in NBA history, a 6-foot-6-inch forward who made his debut with the Washington Capitols in 1950, played on the 1955 championship Syracuse Nationals team, and in 1971 became head coach of the Detroit Pistons.

Moses Malone
60 / Sept. 13 / One of pro basketball’s most renowned players, a three-time NBA MVP and 13-time All-Star, a 6-foot-10-inch center and dominant rebounder with a career scoring total of 27,409 points and more than 15,000 rebounds. He spent 21 years in pro basketball, five of them with the Philadelphia 76ers, whom he led to the 1983 NBA championship in his first season with the team.

Geraldine McEwan
82 / Jan. 30 / British stage, film, and television actress, known best for her 2004-2007 TV series role on BBC and PBS as Agatha Christie’s amateur detective Miss Marple.

Colleen McCullough
77 / Jan. 29 / Australian-American ­fiction writer whose second novel, The Thorn Birds (1977), sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and in 1983 was made into TV’s second-most-popular mini­series (after Roots).

Ann McGovern
85 / Aug. 8 / Adventuresome, widely traveled author of 55 children’s books, both fiction and nonfiction, with artwork by top picture-book illustrators and collective sales exceeding 30 million copies. Titles include her 1968 bestseller Stone Soup and 1967’s Too Much Noise.

Jayne Meadows
95 / April 26 / Stage, screen, and television actress best known for her work (1952-1959) as a panelist on TV’s high-rated game show I’ve Got a Secret—and wife of comedian Steve Allen as well as sister of actress Audrey Meadows.

Martin Milner
83 / Sept. 6 / Television actor who traversed America in a Corvette with a buddy for four years on TV’s Route 66 (1960-1963) and played veteran LAPD police officer Pete Malloy in NBC’s Adam-12 (1968-1975).

Martin Milner

Minnie Minoso
89 / March 1 / Major League Baseball’s first black player from Latin America and an All-Star outfielder for the Chicago White Sox.

Samuel H. Moffett
98 / Feb. 9 / Missionary, teacher, author, and church historian whose two-volume A History of Christianity in Asia is a standard in the field. He served as a missionary and seminary professor in China (1947-1951) and later taught at South Korea’s main Presbyterian seminary (1959-1981) and at Princeton until retirement in 1986.

Al Molinaro
96 / Oct. 30 / TV character actor who played Murray the cop on The Odd Couple in the early 1970s and diner owner Al Delvecchio on Happy Days (1974-1984).

Dickie Moore
89 / Sept. 7 / Child actor who played in dozens of movie features and shorts before age 12. At age 6 he played the title role in Hollywood’s first sound adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. At 16, in Miss Annie Rooney, he kissed Shirley Temple on the cheek—a kiss he avowed was his “first ever—on or off the screen!”

Vernon B. Mountcastle
96 / Jan. 11 / Johns Hopkins medical researcher and recipient of nearly every major award in science for his discoveries about how the brain ­perceives information and organizes it in vertical columns connected to deeper regions of the cerebral cortex.

John F. Nash
86 / May 23 / Princeton scholar and mathematician who shared a Nobel Prize in 1994 for work that furthered the reach and power of modern ­economic theory. The 2001 film A Beautiful Mind portrayed his decades-long descent into severe mental ­illness and eventual recovery.

Jean Nidetch
91 / April 29 / Compulsive-snacking, 214-pound New York housewife with a 44-inch waist who decided to do something about it, shrank to 142 pounds (and was still there into her late 80s), co-founded Weight Watchers in 1963, and became the franchise chain’s public face for decades.

Leonard Nimoy
83 / Feb. 27 / Actor who garnered fame as the gaunt-faced, pointy-eared starship Enterprise officer Mr. Spock in NBC’s Star Trek TV series (1966-1969) and the popular Star Trek film reprises beginning in 1979.

Menes Abdul Noor
85 / Sept. 14 / Top evangelical leader, author, teacher, broadcaster, and force for evangelism in Egypt. Of Coptic heritage, he was pastor of Kasr el-Dobara Evangelical Church in Cairo (1976-2007), a Presbyterian congregation he helped to grow to more than 8,000 congregants, the largest Protestant church in the Middle East.

Maureen O’Hara
95 / Oct. 24 / Feisty, redheaded, Irish-born beauty with green eyes whose acting in great movies helped to make her era known as Hollywood’s Golden Age. Her more than 50 films included How Green Was My Valley (1941), the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street (1947), and The Quiet Man (1952)—one of five films in which she starred opposite John Wayne.

Gary Owens
80 / Feb. 12 / Deep-voiced, witty LA radio disc jockey and cartoon voice-over actor who shot to fame as the zany between-bits, hand-over-ear announcer in the TV hit comedy series Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In (1968-1973).

Boyd Packer
90 / July 3 / High-ranking leader of the Mormon church, next in line to be its president, and an outspoken defender of the church’s teachings on morality and family in an era of social change.

Betsy Palmer
88 / May 29 / Multitalented performer—actress in TV drama series in the early 1950s, regular on the Today show alongside host Dave Garroway, and panelist for 10 years on I’ve Got a Secret—but probably known best among later generations as the slashing murderess Mrs. Voorhees in the 1980 horror film Friday the 13th.

Leanne Payne
82 / Feb. 18 / Evangelical author, speaker, counselor, and founder in the 1980s of Pastoral Care Ministries, a Wheaton, Ill.–based organization that sponsored “inner healing” conferences and training until 2008.

Calvin Peete
71 / April 29 / Most successful African-American golfer to play on the PGA Tour (with 12 wins) prior to Tiger Woods. Remarkably, Peete did not begin playing golf until he was in his 20s, and joined the tour at age 31.

Maya Plisetskaya
89 / May 2 / Russian ballerina internationally regarded as one of the greatest ballet dancers of the 20th century. With Moscow’s Bolshoi troupe from 1943 at age 18 to 1990, she was still performing at 61.

Terry Pratchett
66 / March 12 / Award-winning British author of more than 70 books (with sales of over 85 million worldwide), including 40 titles in his acclaimed Discworld comic fantasy series.

Paul Prudhomme
75 / Oct. 8 / New Orleans chef whose blackened redfish and other fixings at his K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen restaurant in the 1980s sparked a nationwide craze for Creole and Cajun cooking and awakened new interest in American cuisine.

Rochunga Pudaite
87 / Oct. 10 / Second-generation Christian from northeast India who translated the Bible into his native Hmar language and founded Bibles For The World, a Colorado Springs–based partnership ministry dedicated to Bible distribution in India and to establishing Christian schools there. He and his wife also founded the Evangelical Free Church of India, a denomination that now has 350 churches in northeast India.

Jethro Pugh
70 / Jan. 7 / Tall and fast lineman who was part of the Dallas Cowboys’ famed “Doomsday Defense,” led the team in quarterback sacks (1965-1972), and helped the Cowboys win two Super Bowls.

Jean Ritchie
92 / June 1 / Red-haired soprano folk singer who brought into the folk music boom of the 1950s and ’60s hundreds of old ballads she had grown up with in Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains, accompanying herself on the guitar, autoharp, or the almost-extinct stringed mountain dulcimer.

Alex Rocco
79 / July 18 / Emmy-winning character actor best remembered for his 1972 role as Moe Greene, a Las Vegas casino owner shot through the eye in The Godfather.

Tibor Rubin
86 / Dec. 5 / Hungarian-born Jew who as a ­teenager endured a Nazi concentration camp and later as a U.S. soldier in Korea in 1950 single-handedly held off an enemy advance on his retreating regiment—earning him belatedly the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest award for valor.

Ann Rule
83 / July 26 / Prolific true-story crime writer for detective magazines and author of over 30 books, including her 1980 bestseller, The Stranger Beside Me—about serial killer Ted Bundy.

Lyle Schaller
91 / March 18 / Former urban planner for cities in Wisconsin and Ohio who became a Methodist minister and an analyst of American church culture in the last half of the 20th century.

Robert Schuller
88 / April 2 / Celebrated Reformed Church in America television pastor and motivational speaker. He famously grew his Garden Grove (Calif.) Community Church from a drive-in theater in 1955 to the spacious, upscale, glass-walled Crystal Cathedral in 1980. He launched the weekly Hour of Power telecast in 1970 and hosted it until 2010.

California Televangelist Robert H. Schuller. (Photo By John T. Barr/Getty Images)

Stuart Scott
49 / Jan. 4 / ESPN anchor known for his passion behind the microphone, his hip-hop style, the catchphrases he created, and a positive outlook about the cancer that claimed his life: “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live.”

Omar Sharif
83 / July 10 / Egyptian actor who started his climb to international acclaim in the 1962 film classic Lawrence of Arabia for his portrayal of the Arab warrior who led fellow Arab fighters to team up with British adventurer T.E. Lawrence in battles against Turkish occupiers. It was his first English-language film. Others followed with him in leading roles, including Genghis Khan and Dr. Zhivago.

Bob Simon
73 / Feb. 11 / Longtime CBS reporter who spent nearly 50 years covering world events from Vietnam to Iraq, where he spent 40 days in captivity under Saddam Hussein’s rule; killed in a taxi crash in Manhattan.

Dean Smith
83 / Feb. 7 / Widely recognized as one of the greatest coaches in college basketball, who in his 36 seasons with North Carolina’s Tar Heels won two national championships and the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament 13 times and was America’s fourth-all-time-winningest coach, with 879 victories.

Joel Spira
88 / April 8 / New York physicist who in the late 1950s invented the solid state light dimmer switch for homes and apartments, founded the Lutron company in Pennsylvania in 1961, added new innovative energy-saving devices and designs to the product line, and grew it into one of the largest lighting controls companies in the world.

Gardner C. Taylor
96 / April 5 / Baptist minister often dubbed by peers as the “prince of black preachers,” pastor of Brooklyn’s large Concord Baptist Church of Christ (1948-1990), a confidant of ­fellow Baptist minister and civil rights champion Martin Luther King Jr., and a leader of the faction in the National Baptist Convention U.S.A. denomination that split off in 1960 to form the more activist-oriented Progressive National Baptist Convention.

Ken Taylor
81 / Oct. 15 / Canada’s ambassador to Iran who hid Americans at his residence for three months during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis, then facilitated their escape by arranging for plane tickets and fake Canadian passports.

Rod Taylor
84 / Jan. 7 / Handsome Australian-born movie and TV actor who starred in The Time Machine (1960), Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 thriller The Birds, and Hotel (1967).

John Templeton
75 / May 16 / Prominent Philadelphia pediatric surgeon who retired in 1995 to run his late billionaire father’s Templeton Foundation, a ­philanthropy whose grants and awards include its annual faith-related Templeton Prize. He was an evangelical Presbyterian who also supported conservative causes.

Fred Thompson73 / Nov. 1 / Former U.S. senator from Tennessee, short-lived GOP presidential hopeful, Watergate attorney, and actor who appeared in some prominent films (Marie, The Hunt for Red October, and ­others) and television series, including as District Attorney Arthur Branch on NBC’s Law and Order (2002-2007).

Fred Thompson


Phyllis Tickle
81 / Sept. 22 / Author and founding religion editor at Publishers Weekly who promoted the rapidly expanding Christian book publishing industry in the 1990s. Known for her controversial 2008 book, The Great Emergence: How Christianity Is Changing and Why, in which she envisioned a future syncretistic religion that jettisons the orthodoxies of the past.

Paul E. Toms
90 / Feb. 7 / Pastor of the historic, influential, missions-focused Park Street Church in Boston (1969-1989) and a leader in America’s evangelical movement, serving as president of the National Association of Evangelicals and chairman of its World Relief ­affiliate along the way.

Dick Van Patten
86 / June 23 / Actor known best for his role as loving father Tom Bradford in the 1977-1981 TV series Eight Is Enough.

Tony Verna
81 / Jan. 18 / CBS sports producer and director who trucked a refrigerator-sized videotape machine to the 1963 Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, marking the first use of technology given a name by sportscaster Pat Summerall a month later at the Cotton Bowl game in Dallas: “instant replay.”

Jenny Wallenda
87 / April 4 / High-flying matriarch of the five-­generation family of Wallendas with circus culture in their DNA. The daughter of ­high-wire superstar Karl Wallenda of Ringling Bros. ­circus fame, she was a famed aerialist who anchored her father’s historic seven-person chair ­pyramid, among other nerve-jangling roles.

Colin Welland
81 / Nov. 2 / British actor and writer who won an Oscar for best original screenplay for Chariots of Fire. The film won four Oscars, including best picture and best music.

John Willke
89 / Feb. 20 / Cincinnati obstetrician for 40 years and Catholic pioneer in the pro-life movement who co-authored with his late wife their landmark 1971 Handbook on Abortion and served as president of the National Right to Life Committee for 10 years.

David K. Winter
84 / August 15 / Influential evangelical educator, president of California’s Westmont College (1976-2001), and co-founder and former board chair of the D.C.-based Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Jim Wright
92/ May 6 / Texas Democrat known for his oratorical skills who was elected to Congress in 1954, became House speaker in 1987, but resigned in 1989 under pressure for breaking ­ethics rules on finances. Among his high marks: helping President Jimmy Carter fashion the 1978 Camp David peace agreement between Israel and Egypt.

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