Richard Scaife, Conservative Champion, Newsman & Philanthropist, Dies

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tribune-Review owner and philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaife, whose vision and funding reinvigorated conservative politics in America, died Friday, July 4, in his home.

His death came just one day after his 82nd birthday.

Many of the nation’s leading conservatives considered him to be the man who sustained the Republican Party after its crushing defeat in the 1964 presidential election and the Watergate scandal in 1972.

His support for and promotion of a conservative agenda led to Ronald Reagan’s election as president in 1980 and the nation’s turn toward the principles those two men shared.

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Legendary Steelers Coach Chuck Noll Dies

Charles Henry Noll, who lifted the Steelers from the depths of the National Football League and coached them to four-time Super Bowl champions by adhering to simple, long-held principles, died Friday in his home in Sewickley.

Noll, who had been under a doctor’s care for an undisclosed illness, was 82.

His wife, Marianne, found him unresponsive at 9:45 p.m. and called 911. Paramedics pronounced him dead 10 minutes later.

In recent years, Noll suffered from severe back pain that limited his mobility and forced him to walk with two canes.

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Lewis Katz, ‘The Most Unique Man I Ever Met’

Lewis Katz would tell you he was just a kid from Camden who grew up to walk with presidents.

He was consistent in his passions, blunt in his opinions, a man who adored his family, detested dishonesty, and was as comfortable in $1,100 hand-made Italian shirts as he was in loud green sneakers.

He made his own fortune, owned magnificent homes in New York, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and never lost his affection for the gravelly streets of the city where he was raised.

Mr. Katz, 72, whose enormous wealth never obscured his devotion to the less fortunate or his love of the underdog, was killed on Saturday in a plane crash in Massachusetts.


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Shirley Temple, Iconic Child Star, Dies At 85

Screenshot of Shirley Temple from the film The...

Screenshot of Shirley Temple from the film The Little Princess (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WOODSIDE, CA (AP) — Shirley Temple, the dimpled, curly-haired child star who sang, danced, sobbed and grinned her way into the hearts of Depression-era moviegoers, publicist Cheryl Kagan. She was 85.

Temple, known in private life as Shirley Temple Black, died at her home near San Francisco.

A talented and ultra-adorable entertainer, Shirley Temple was America’s top box-office draw from 1935 to 1938, a record no other child star has come near. She beat out such grown-ups as Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Robert Taylor, Gary Cooper and Joan Crawford.

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Parks Director Loss Mourned In Pottstown

POTTSTOWN — When New Year’s Day revelers gather this morning in Riverfront Park and take a moment to mourn the unexpected passing of borough Parks and Recreation Director Eileen Schlegel, they will become part of a much larger group of people who have expressed shock and sadness at her passing.

Schlegel died unexpectedly Saturday at her home in the borough.

She was 65.

“This is truly a loss to the Pottstown community,” Crystal Williams, former director at the Ricketts Community Center, posted on The Mercury Facebook page.

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Nelson Mandela Dead At Age 95

President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela, Ju...

President Bill Clinton with Nelson Mandela, July 4 1993. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JOHANNESBURGNelson Mandela, who became one of the world’s most beloved statesmen and a colossus of the 20th century when he emerged from 27 years in prison to negotiate an end to white minority rule in South Africa, has died. He was 95.

South African President Jacob Zuma made the announcement at a news conference late Thursday, saying “we’ve lost our greatest son.”

His death closed the final chapter in South Africa’s struggle to cast off apartheid, leaving the world with indelible memories of a man of astonishing grace and good humor. Rock concerts celebrated his birthday. Hollywood stars glorified him on screen. And his regal bearing, graying hair and raspy voice made him instantly recognizable across the globe.

As South Africa’s first black president, the ex-boxer, lawyer and prisoner No. 46664 paved the way to racial reconciliation with well-chosen gestures of forgiveness. He lunched with the prosecutor who sent him to jail, sang the apartheid-era Afrikaans anthem at his inauguration, and traveled hundreds of miles to have tea with the widow of Hendrik Verwoerd, the prime minister at the time he was imprisoned.

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Death Leaves BARTA With Big Hole To Fill

English: BARTA bus in downtown Reading, Pennsy...

English: BARTA bus in downtown Reading, Pennsylvania, July 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BARTA will send off the first bus from its restored Franklin Street Station in Monday, taking the final step in realizing its dream of reopening the once-abandoned city transportation hub.

But agency officials who have been scrambling to start the new Reading-Lebanon route will have something else on their minds: the man whose vision for the station started it all.

Dennis D. Louwerse, BARTA’s longtime executive director, died Thursday night from complications related to a respiratory infection, according to agency officials.  He was 68.

He took the helm of the then-financially troubled bus agency 30 years ago and transformed it into an organization that’s recognized in the national transportation industry.

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‘Bachelor’ Star Gia Allemand Dies At 29

Reality TV star and model Gia Allemand, who notably appeared on season 14 of ABC’s The Bachelor, died Wednesday of an apparent suicide in New Orleans.  She was 29.

Allemand was discovered Monday night in her home by boyfriend, NBA Pelicans player Ryan Anderson, who dialed 911, it says in the statement released by her family following her death.

“Due to a critical loss of brain and organ function, life support was withdrawn,” the statement says. “Ms. Allemand passed away peacefully with her mother, boyfriend, and other lifelong friends by her side.”

She was taken Monday night to University Hospital following “a serious emergency medical event,” her rep shared in a statement released Tuesday.  The details of her condition were not immediately disclosed.  She was later placed on life support.


Former Pa. Gov. Scranton Dies At Age 96

English: Not applicable for copyright because ...

English: Not applicable for copyright because this image is a work of the US Government. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

William Warren Scranton Jr., a former Pennsylvania governor, congressman, presidential candidate and ambassador to the United Nations, died Sunday night at the age 96.

Scranton died of a cerebral hemorrhage at a retirement community in Montecito, Calif., where he lived with his wife Mary, a family spokesman told The Associated Press on Monday.

Scranton, a progressive Republican from the Lackawanna County city named after his family, was elected to Congress in 1960.  He served one term before he was elected as Pennsylvania’s 38th governor in 1962.

His foray into presidential politics occurred in 1964, during his one term as governor, when he emerged as a moderately liberal alternative to conservative Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater after New York Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller dropped out of the race.

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Obituary: Cory Monteith / Actor On ‘Glee’ Battled Substance Abuse

English: The title card for the musical comedy...

English: The title card for the musical comedy series Glee (Fox). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cory Monteith, who played an upbeat and outgoing young student and singing coach on the hit Fox musical comedy television series “Glee,” but who battled substance abuse problems in his personal life, was found dead Saturday in a hotel room in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was 31.

The police said Mr. Monteith was found dead in his 21st-floor room at the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel in Vancouver at about noon after he missed his scheduled checkout time. They said there was no indication of foul play and that people Mr. Monteith had been with earlier were being interviewed, but that they believe he was alone when he died.

The coroner will try to establish the cause of death, a police statement said.

Mr. Monteith, a 6-foot-3 performer with a youthful countenance and a soft-spoken demeanor who described himself on his personal Twitter page as a “tall, awkward, Canadian, actor, drummer, person,” gained worldwide attention when “Glee” made its debut on the Fox network in 2009.

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Pottstown Area Sports Icon Don Seeley Dies At 62

Editor’s note:  Our thoughts and prayers are with Don’s family.

Longtime Mercury Sports Editor Don Seeley died Wednesday morning while doing what he loved — playing golf.

He was 62 years old.

According to friends who were with him, Seeley took ill at Lederach Golf Club and was taken by ambulance to Grand View Hospital in Sellersville.

Seeley retired as The Mercury’s sports editor in February, a post he held for 15 years.  He continued to write for The Mercury, his byline appearing in Wednesday’s edition after covering the inaugural PAC-10 Senior Bowl boys lacrosse game Tuesday night.

For more than 32 years, Seeley’s coverage and perspectives on everything from wrestling to football to baseball (American Legion and otherwise) filled the pages of The Mercury.

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Former Pennsylvania Governor George Leader Honored At Funeral Service

Standard of the Governor of Pennsylvania http:...

Standard of the Governor of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HERSHEY, PA – Douglas Yeboah first met George Leader about eight years ago while working as a chaplain at the state prison in Chester.

Leader had sponsored a program at the prison to provide guidance and mentors to inmates, giving them a second chance. He believed in second chances and he believed in helping people in prison, people others had discarded or forgotten.

Not long after that, Yeboah retired from the prison system and moved back to his native Ghana.  He kept in touch with Leader and the former governor would often ask about Yeboah’s work.  The work, he always told him, was hard.  There was so much need in Ghana, so much pain and suffering.  Yeboah told him that children lacked medical care and that many of their maladies were preventable, if only they had access to clean drinking water.

Leader asked what he could do and in a short time, a drilling rig to dig wells for clean water was on its way to Ghana.  Yeboah mentioned to Leader that he hoped one day to build a children’s hospital, but it was out of his reach.  Leader told him he could do it, he could make it happen.

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Jonathan Winters, Funny Man And Comedic Inspiration, Dies At 87

Jonathan Winters as a truck driver

Jonathan Winters as a truck driver (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Jonathan Winters, the rubber-faced comedian whose unscripted flights of fancy inspired a generation of improvisational comics, and who kept television audiences in stitches with Main Street characters like Maude Frickert, a sweet-seeming grandmother with a barbed tongue and a roving eye, died on Thursday at his home in Montecito, Calif.  He was 87.

His death was announced on his Web site,

Mr. Winters, a rotund man whose face had a melancholy basset-hound expression in repose, burst onto the comedy scene in the late 1950s and instantly made his mark as one of the funniest, least definable comics in a rising generation that included Mort Sahl, Shelley Berman and Bob Newhart.

Mr. Winters was at his best when winging it, confounding television hosts and luckless straight men with his rapid-fire delivery of bizarre observations uttered by characters like Elwood P. Suggins, a Midwestern Everyman, or one-off creations like the woodland sprite who bounded onto Jack Paar’s late-night show and simperingly proclaimed: “I’m the voice of spring.  I bring you little goodies from the forest.”

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Annette Funicello, 70, Dies; Beloved As A Mouseketeer And A Star Of Beach Movies

Publicity photo of Annette Funicello and Richa...

Publicity photo of Annette Funicello and Richard Tyler as guest stars on The Danny Thomas Show. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Annette Funicello, who won America’s heart as a 12-year-old in Mickey Mouse ears, captivated adolescent baby boomers in slightly spicy beach movies and later championed people with multiple sclerosis, a disease she had for more than 25 years, died on Monday in Bakersfield, Calif. She was 70.

Her death, from complications of the disease, was announced on the Disney Web site.

As an adult Ms. Funicello described herself as “the queen of teen,” and millions around her age agreed.  Young audiences appreciated her sweet, forthright appeal, and parents saw her as the perfect daughter.

She was the last of the 24 original Mouseketeers chosen for “The Mickey Mouse Club,” the immensely popular children’s television show that began in 1955, when fewer than two-thirds of households had television sets.  Walt Disney personally discovered her at a ballet performance.

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‘Iron Lady’ Margaret Thatcher Dies At Age 87

English: Margaret Thatcher photo cropped from ...

English: Margaret Thatcher photo cropped from this Image. Description of original image:Margaret Thatcher and Nancy Reagan at 10 Downing Street. President Ronald Reagan is behind, in between the two, and Mr. Denis Thatcher is to Mr. Reagan’s left. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

LONDON – Love her or loathe her, one thing’s beyond dispute: Margaret Thatcher transformed Britain.

The Iron Lady who ruled for 11 remarkable years imposed her will on a fractious, rundown nation – breaking the unions, triumphing in a far-off war, and selling off state industries at a record pace. She left behind a leaner government and more prosperous nation by the time a mutiny ousted her from No. 10 Downing Street.

Thatcher’s former spokesman, Tim Bell, said that the former prime minister had died this morning of a stroke. She was 87.

For admirers, Thatcher was a savior who rescued Britain from ruin and laid the groundwork for an extraordinary economic renaissance. For critics, she was a heartless tyrant who ushered in an era of greed that kicked the weak out onto the streets and let the rich become filthy rich.

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Ed Koch, Mayor Who Became A Symbol Of New York City, Dies At 88

New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch during a me...

New York City Mayor Edward I. Koch during a meeting with US president Jimmy Carter in 1978 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEW YORK — Former Mayor Ed Koch, the combative, acid-tongued politician who rescued the city from near-financial ruin during a three-term City Hall run in which he embodied New York chutzpah for the rest of the world, died Friday.  He was 88.

Mr. Koch died at 2 a.m. at NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia hospital, spokesman George Arzt said.  The funeral will be Monday at Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan.

Mr. Koch was admitted to the hospital on Monday with shortness of breath, and was moved to intensive care on Thursday for closer monitoring of the fluid in his lungs and legs.  He had been released two days earlier after being treated for water in his lungs and legs.  He had initially been admitted on Jan. 19.

After leaving City Hall in January 1990, Mr. Koch battled assorted health problems and heart disease.

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Philly TV Icon Sally Starr Dies At 90

Sally Starr, 90, the vivacious blonde TV cowgirl who served as a surrogate parent for the Philadelphia region’s baby boomers, died Sunday morning.

Starr died peacefully in a South Jersey nursing home shortly after 6 a.m., according to Michael Yip, a close friend of Starr’s.  She had been in poor health for years, both from various natural causes as well as from the effects of a 2005 car crash.

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‘Dear Abby’ Advice Columnist Dies At Age 94

English: Dear Abby star on the Hollywood Walk ...

English: Dear Abby star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MINNEAPOLIS – Pauline Friedman Phillips, who as Dear Abby dispensed snappy, sometimes saucy advice on love, marriage and meddling mothers-in-law to millions of newspaper readers around the world and opened the way for the likes of Dr. Ruth, Dr. Phil and Oprah, has died.  She was 94.

Phillips died Wednesday in Minneapolis after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, said Gene Willis, a publicist for the Universal Uclick syndicate.

“My mother leaves very big high heels to fill with a legacy of compassion, commitment and positive social change,” her daughter, Jeanne Phillips, who now writes the column, said in a statement.

Private funeral services were held Thursday, Willis said.

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‘Dallas’ Star Larry Hagman Dies In Texas

English: Publicity photo of Larry Hagman and B...

English: Publicity photo of Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden from I Dream of Jeannie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

.R. Ewing was a business cheat, faithless husband and bottomless well of corruption.  Yet with his sparkling grin, Larry Hagman masterfully created the charmingly loathsome oil baron — and coaxed forth a Texas-size gusher of ratings — on television’s long-running and hugely successful nighttime soap, “Dallas.”

Although he first gained fame as nice guy Capt. Tony Nelson on the fluffy 1965-70 NBC comedy “I Dream of Jeannie,” Hagman earned his greatest stardom with J.R. The CBS serial drama about the Ewing family and those in their orbit aired from April 1978 to May 1991, and broke viewing records with its “Who shot J.R.?” 1980 cliffhanger that left unclear if Hagman’s character was dead.

The actor, who returned as J.R. in a new edition of “Dallas” this year, had a long history of health problems and died Friday due to complications from his battle with cancer, his family said.

“Larry was back in his beloved hometown of Dallas, re-enacting the iconic role he loved the most.  Larry’s family and closest friends had joined him in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday,” the family said in a statement that was provided to The Associated Press by Warner Bros., producer of the show.

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Arlen Specter Dies At 82; ‘Fighter’ Praised

Arlen Specter, member of the United States Sen...

Arlen Specter, member of the United States Senate from Pennsylvania. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PHILADELPHIAArlen Specter, 82, the longest-serving United States senator in Pennsylvania history, a driven, often contentious figure who placed himself at the center of national controversies for a half-century, from the Kennedy-assassination investigation in the 1960s to the passage of the economic stimulus package in 2009, died Sunday morning in his Philadelphia home.

Specter, who had served five terms before losing a re-election bid in 2010, died from complications of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

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