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A chronology of those who died in 2015

A chronology of those who died in 2015


May 2

-- Guy Carawan, 87, a folk singer and social-justice advocate credited with turning the African-American spiritual "We Shall Overcome" into a unifying anthem of the 1960s civil rights movement in the U.S. that also was used in apartheid-era South Africa, in China at Tiananmen Square and at the Berlin Wall, in New Market, Tennessee. He had dementia.

May 5

-- Oscar Carl Holderer, 95, the last known surviving member of the German engineering team that came to the United States after World War II and designed the rocket that took astronauts to the moon, in Huntsville, Alabama. He suffered a stroke last week and did not recover.

-- Ellen Albertini Dow, 101 a feisty character actress best known for her salty rendition of "Rapper's Delight" in "The Wedding Singer," and who had numerous television credits and stage appearances, in Los Angeles.

May 6

-- Errol Brown, 71, the lead singer of the band Hot Chocolate, best known for hits "You Sexy Thing" and "It Started With A Kiss," in the Bahamas of liver cancer.

May 7

-- Sir Maurice Flanagan, 86, a British aviation executive who helped get Emirates airline off the ground and guided its breakneck growth for nearly three decades as it became the Mideast's biggest carrier -- and a force in the global aviation industry, in London.

May 9

-- Kenan Evren, 97, the general who led Turkey's 1980 military coup that ended years of street-clashes between rival left- and right-wing militias but also unleashed a wave of arrests, torture and extrajudicial killings and later ruled as president for seven years, in Ankara after multiple organ failure.

-- Alexandre Lamfalussy, 86, a Belgian economist who headed the institution that became the European Central Bank and was credited as one of the founders of the shared euro currency, in Ottignies, Belgium.

-- Elizabeth Wilson, 94, who built a career as a character actress in films such as "The Graduate" and "9 to 5," and also appeared on Broadway, in New Haven, Connecticut.

-- Johnny Gimble, 88, a renounced fiddler who gained fame for his backup work with country stars from Merle Haggard to Carrie Underwood, in Dripping Springs, Texas of complications from several strokes.

May 10

-- Rachel Rosenthal, 88, the performance and theater artist who embraced environmentalism during a half-century career devoted to the avant-garde, in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure.

-- Chris Burden, 69, who pushed the limits to change the face of performance art and sculpture and created one of Los Angeles' most stunning landmarks "Ubran Light," in Los Angeles.

May 12

-- Peter Gay, 91, a popular and eminent historian who meticulously traced the rise of secular Western thought, from a prize-winning history of the Enlightenment to a best-selling biography of Sigmund Freud, in New York of natural causes.

-- William Zinsser, 92, the much-consulted teacher, author, journalist and essayist whose million-selling book "On Writing Well" championed the craft of nonfiction and inspired professionals and amateurs to express themselves more concisely and vividly, in New York after a brief, unspecified illness.

May 14

-- B.B. King, 89, whose scorching guitar licks and heartfelt vocals made him the idol of generations of musicians and fans while earning him the nickname King of the Blues, in Las Vegas. He had several small strokes attributed to the diabetes he had for years.

-- Franz Wright, 62, an award-winning poet known for his concise and penetrating style and heartbreaking command of emotions, in Waltham, Massachusetts, of lung cancer.

May 15

-- Jacob Jensen, 89, the Danish industrial designer who gave ultramodern, minimalist forms to high-end products including consumer electronics and kitchenware, in Denmark.

-- Elisabeth Bing, 100, the Lamaze International co-founder who popularized what was known as natural childbirth and helped change how women and doctors approached the delivery room, in New York.

-- Prashant Bhargava, 42, a filmmaker and artist perhaps best known for the 2011 film "Patang" ("The Kite"), in New York of cardiac arrest.

May 19

-- Margaretta "Happy" Rockefeller, 88, the widow of former U.S. Vice President and New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and one of the first women to speak publicly about her breast cancer in the 1970s, in Tarrytown, New York of natural causes.

May 20

-- Bob Belden, 58, an award-winning jazz musician, composer, arranger and producer who was the first American musician to perform in Iran since its 1979 revolution when he toured there earlier this year, in New York after suffering a heart attack.

-- Mary Ellen Trainor, 62, a character actress and philanthropist who appeared in "The Goonies" and "Lethal Weapon" films in Montecito, California.

May 23

-- John Forbes Nash Jr., 86, a mathematical genius whose struggle with schizophrenia was chronicled in the 2001 movie "A Beautiful Mind," and his wife, Alicia Nash , 82, in a car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike.

-- Anne Meara, 85, an actress and comedian whose comic work with husband Jerry Stiller helped launch a 60-year career in film and TV, in Los Angeles.

-- Hugh Ambrose, 48, who wrote the World War II history "The Pacific" after years of researching for his father, the renowned historian Stephen Ambrose, in Helena, Montana, of cancer.

May 24

-- Marcus Belgrave, 78, a jazz trumpeter who graced stages and studios with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Cocker and Motown artists galore, in Ann Arbor, Michigan, of heart failure.

May 25

-- Mary Ellen Mark, 75, a documentary photographer called "a snake charmer of the soul" for her gift of capturing searing images of human vulnerability, in New York after a long battle with a blood illness caused by bone marrow failure.

May 27

-- Dennis Sheehan, in his 60s, U2's beloved tour manager who kept the band running on time for more than three decades, in West Hollywood, California, of apparent cardiac arrest.

May 29

-- Betsy Palmer, 88, the veteran character actress who achieved lasting, though not necessarily sought-after, fame as the murderous camp cook in the cheesy horror film "Friday the 13th," in Connecticut, of natural causes.

May 31

-- Julie Harris, 94, an Academy Award-winning costume designer who outfitted James Bond and The Beatles, in London after suffering from a chest infection.

-- Jim Bailey, 77, a singer-actor who transformed himself into such show biz legends as Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand and Peggy Lee during a career that spanned decades, in Los Angeles of complications from pneumonia.