By Darlene Donloe
A number of noteworthy people closed their eyes for the last time in 2014. They were writers, actors, directors, musicians, activists and politicians. All were influential in their own way. And, before leaving the planet, they all made their mark and touched the lives of so many. This column pays tribute to those who passed this way.
Jan. 1 – Juanita Moore, actress (‘Imitation of Life’). She was 99.
Jan. 3 - Phil Everly. Member of The Everly Brothers. He was 74.
Jan. 5 – Carmen Zapata. Actress. She was 86.
Jan. 5-6 - Sir Run Run Shaw, a pioneer of the 20th century Chinese film industry. He was 106.
Jan. 9 – Amiri Baraka - The fiery black nationalist writer who gained fame in the 1960s under the name LeRoi Jones. He was 79.
Jan. 9 - Dee Dee Cocheta-Williams, a respected PR and social media exec.
Jan. 14 – Beloyd Taylor, composer (Earth Wind & Fire’s “Getaway”).
Jan. 14 – Ronny Jordan, London-born “acid jazz” guitarist. He was 51.
Jan. 20 – Leslie Lee, playwright. He was 83.
Jan. – Pam Hall, former WHUR music director.
Jan. 25 – Morrie Turner, cartoonist. Creator of Wee Pals. He was 90.
Jan. – Anne Waithera, Kenya-based BBC broadcast journalist. She was 39.
Jan. 31 – Anna Gordy Gaye, ex-wife of Marvin Gaye and older sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy. She was 92.
Feb. 2 - Bunny Rugs – Lead singer/guitarist of Third World. He was 65.
Feb. 5 - Darryl Robinson, Dr. Mixologist on Cooking Channel Show, ‘Drink Up’
Feb. 8 - Thomas M. Sengstacke Picou, Chicago Defender executive. He was 76.
Feb. 10 – James Hannah, comedian and writer.
Feb. 15 – Angelo Henderson, Detroit radio personality. Pulitzer Prize winner. Former National Association of Black Journalists national officer and board member, as well as chapter president. He was also a minister. He was 51.
Feb. 20 – Jerry ‘Zeke’ Zanders, music industry veteran who worked at WHUR, A1 & The Kidd, Atlantic Records and MCA Records. He was 64.
Feb. 25 -
Jackson, MS Mayor Chokwe Lumumba. He was 66.
Feb. 26 - Francisco Gustavo Sánchez Gomes, known as Paco de Lucía, was a Spanish flamenco composer, guitarist and producer. He was 66.
Feb. 26 - Frank K. "T'Challah" Reed, a member of the Chi-Lites.
March 7 - Charles Love of the group, Bloodstone.
March 18 - Celes King IV. L.A. civil rights activists. He was 72.
March 19 – Bobbee Zeno, Los Angeles radio personality and community activist.
March 25 – Reggae Pops (Nemencio Jose Andujar). Los Angeles music club legend.
March 31 – Frankie Knuckles, Legendary DJ and music producer and Godfather of House music. He was 59.
Apr. 3 – Singer and actor Lawrence Hamilton, who starred on Broadway and on tour in "Ragtime" and other musicals. He was 59.
Apr. 5 - Wayne Henderson, jazz musician. Member of The Jazz Crusaders. He was 75.
Apr. Karyn Washington, ‘For Brown Girls’ blogger. She was 22.
Apr. 14 - Cuban percussion great Armando Peraza. He was 89.
Apr. 14 – Phillip Hayes Dean, award-winning Broadway playwright, director, actor. He wrote ‘Paul Robeson’ play that appeared on Broadway. He was 83.
Apr. 20 - Rubin "Hurricane" Carter, the prizefighter who was wrongly convicted of murder in 1967 and who was later immortalized in a song. He was 76.
Apr. 22 - Vernon Slaughter, veteran music industry executive and entertainment attorney. He was 63.
Apr. 29 - Bassist Paul Goddard of Atlanta Rhythm Section. He was 68.
May 13 – Malik Bendjelloul, Swedish filmmaker who won the 2013 Academy Award for best documentary with his debut feature, ‘Searching for Sugar Man.’ He was 36.
May 19 - Vincent Harding, historian, civil rights author, advisor and friend to Martin Luther King Jr. He was 82.
May 25 – Herb Jeffries, "The Bronze Buckaroo" - Black Singing Cowboy who was also a featured singer with The Duke Ellington Orchestra. He was 100.
May 25 – Lee Chamberlain, actress and playwright whose career spanned four decades on the stage, television and films. She was 76.
May 26 - Elombe Brath. Founded the Patrice Lumumba Coalition in 1975. He was 77.
May 28 – Maya Angelou. Poet, educator, civil right advocate. She was 86.
May 29 – Melvin Crispell. Gospel musician, producer and songwriter.
May - Civil rights activist Yuri Kochiyama. She was 93.
May – Charles Hearndon, original Nite-Liters and New Birth guitarist.
June 3 - Ralph Pruitt, member of the Detroit R&B group Fantastic Four. He was 74.
June 5 - Don Davis, Detroit music legend. He was 75.
June 6 – JayAre, member of Call Swag District. He was 25.
June 11 – Ruby Dee, actress, civil rights activist. She was 91.
June 12 - Jimmy Scott, also known as "Little" Jimmy Scott, was an American jazz vocalist famous for his unusually high contralto voice, which was due to Kallmann's syndrome, a very rare genetic condition. He was 88.
June – Tony Leaner, record company exec.
June 15 – Casey Kasem. Legendary radio broadcaster. He was 82.
June 16 – Tony Gwynn, San Diego Padre baseball player. He was 54.
June 18 – Horace Silver, jazz pianist and composer. He was 85.
June 22 – Mabon “Teenie” Hodges, songwriter and guitarist. He was 68.
June 27 – Bobby Womack, legendary soul singer. He was 70.
June 28 – Meshach Taylor, actor (Designing Women). He was 67.
July 1 – Walter Dean Myers, children’s book author. He was 76.
July 14 – Alice Coachman, who in 1948 became the first black woman to win Olympic Gold. The track and field star was 90.
July 28 – James Shigeta, Flower Drum Song and Die Hard co-star. He was 81.
Aug. 27 –Tim ‘Rawbiz’ Williams, bass player for the punk band, Suicidal Tendencies.
Sept. 9 - Detroit artist Gilda Snowden. She was 60.
Sept. 12 – Joe Sample, Jazz Crusader, Pianist, Composer, Keyboardist. He was 75.
Sept. 16 – Buster Jones, legendary Los Angeles DJ and entertainment industry voiceover actor. He was 71.
Sept. 17 – Clayton Lawrence, a WWII Tuskegee Airman. He was 91.
Sept. 20 – J. California Cooper, a prolific writer of plays and short stories. She was 82.
Oct. 3 – Comer Cottrell – Owner of Pro-Line International.
Oct. 8 – Harold Hambrick, executive producer at SLAM Inc., community activist.
Oct. - Augie Johnson of Side Effect. He was 65.
Oct. – Tim Hauser, Manhattan Transfer founder.
Oct. 13 - Diedre Suzanne Holland, wife of Brian Holland, member of the songwriting team, Holland-Dozier-Holland.
Oct. 18 – Joanne Borgella, American Idol contestant. She was 32.
Nov. 11 – Big Bank Hank (Henry Jackson), Sugarhill Gang member. He was 58.
Nov. 18 – Jimmy Ruffin. Motown singer. He was 78.
Nov. 23 – Marion Barry, former Mayor of Washington, D.C. He was 78.
Nov. 24 – Artist Annie Lee. She was 79.
Dec. 1 - Lark-Galloway-Gilliam, South L.A. community activist. She was 61.
Dec. 2 - Shirley Mae Sylvers, the mother of The Sylvers
Dec. 4 – Bryan Burwell, columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He was 59.
Dec. 11 - Michel du Cille, Washington Post photographer. He was 58.
Dec. 25 - Juanita Donloe, my beautiful ROCK STAR mother and community activist. She was 76.