Notable deaths in the Pittsburgh region in 2012
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Lindoro 'Lindy' Lauro
June 3, 1921--Jan. 12, 2012
In Western Pennsylvania high school football, one name was synonymous with New Castle High School, a truckload of victories, championships and a legend. Lindoro "Lindy" Lauro was all of the above and then some.
A man who was as tough as a bad steak brought prominence to New Castle football in his 32 seasons as coach (1961-1992). Mr. Lauro is considered one of the greatest coaches in Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League history.
Joseph Vincent Paterno
Dec. 21, 1926--Jan. 22, 2012
Joe Paterno was a living legend whose reputation was tarnished by the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal just before his death.
Mr. Paterno succeeded his mentor, Rip Engle, as Penn State coach in 1966. Affectionately known as JoePa, he went on to become one of the most successful coaches in college football history.
A Brown University graduate who had planned to attend law school at Boston University, Joe Paterno compiled a 409-136-3 record as head coach. He coached 23 top-10 teams, five unbeaten teams, was named national coach of the year five times and captured two national championships, in 1982 and 1986.
He was proud of his reputation as a hard-liner on academics and team policies.
"A kind, gentle man," former tailback Leroy Thompson, who was drafted by the Steelers, said in 1991. "That's off the field. On the field, a total maniac."
He believed his players were bigger than the game.
"I think if it's just a question of winning and losing, football is a silly game," Mr. Paterno said. "I really believe there is something more to a college football experience, and I think our players have enjoyed that approach and they have gotten a great sense of their capabilities now and what they can do in later life."
But after former assistant coach Sandusky was charged in November 2011 with molesting boys, some on campus, Paterno was fired and his reputation compromised. His death came less than three months later.
Charles J. Kozakiewicz
Dec. 8, 1929--Jan. 29, 2012
Charles J. Kozakiewicz was a corrections official for more than 40 years, including 16 years as warden at the Allegheny County Jail while it was under federal court restrictions due to overcrowding. The scars on his face showed what tough work it was. Over his four decades in corrections, Mr. Kozakiewicz met with the dangers of his job -- a broken neck, a stint as a hostage, a slashed face.
But Mr. Kozakiewicz, known as "Kozak," also developed a reputation as being firm but fair with inmates. He regularly walked through cell blocks at the county jail, sometimes several times a day, stopping to chat with inmates who called out to him by his nickname.
Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua
June 17, 1923--Jan. 31, 2012
Cardinal Anthony Joseph Bevilacqua, who was bishop of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese from 1983-87 before leaving to head the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, was emblematic of the church to which he had devoted himself since age 14: progressive on some social-justice issues, staunchly orthodox on matters of doctrine and sexuality, and unfailingly deferential to the will of Rome.
At 26, he graduated from Immaculate Conception Seminary, the senior seminary, and was ordained a priest June 11, 1949. In 1983, John Paul II made him bishop of the 900,000-member Pittsburgh diocese.
Bishop Bevilacqua soon became known for his frequent pastoral visits to parishes and his outreach to Jews. He led interfaith efforts targeting unemployment in Pittsburgh's struggling economy, while opposing the school district's plan to set up health clinics that would address contraception and abortion.
His most agonizing period was the clergy sex-abuse crisis that erupted in 2002 and culminated three years later in a searing indictment of his leadership in Philadelphia.
C. Fred Fetterolf
July 18, 1928--Feb. 5, 2012
C. Fred Fetterolf was a leader in a wide variety of civic and philanthropic activities during and after his Alcoa leadership, some with a religious slant -- including chairmanship of the 1993 Billy Graham Crusade at Three Rivers Stadium -- and others without, such as raising scholarship funds in the FAME program to help African-American students attend Pittsburgh's most prestigious private schools.
He was known for his passion for the Pittsburgh region and its disadvantaged citizenry, as well as his faith. Mr. Fetterolf had become increasingly committed to Christianity as a member of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Sewickley in the late 1970s and 1980s.
Bernard J. McGowan
Dec. 18, 1929--Feb. 20, 2012
Retired Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Bernard J. McGowan was born and raised in McKeesport, working his way through college and law school in the mill. Even after winning a seat on the bench, the Marine Corps veteran remained in the Mon Valley community.
Judge McGowan had a reputation as a tough judge, especially in running the civil court calendar.
Lewis A. Nordan
Aug. 23, 1939--April 13, 2012
It was hard to tell the line between fact and fiction in the stories of Lewis A. "Buddy" Nordan, whether in his much-acclaimed writing, his popular classroom instruction or the playful, witty manner that accompanied his low-key Southern drawl socially.
In the end, that line didn't matter much to those who knew the Mississippi novelist and former University of Pittsburgh creative writing professor. He was so good at winning admiration and laughter from readers and listeners alike that they were happy just to be his audience.
"He felt every story was true, if it was good enough," said Chuck Kinder of Squirrel Hill, a friend since Mr. Nordan joined him on Pitt's English Department faculty in 1983.
Mr. Nordan retired from teaching in 2005 and wrote a memoir in 2000 as his last published book.
His most successful novel, "Wolf Whistle," which won the Southern Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and other honors, dealt with one of the most notorious race-motivated murders of the civil rights era, the death of teenager Emmett Till for whistling at a white woman.
Aug. 16, 1923--April 22, 2012
Les Banos was a longtime Pittsburgh sports photographer.
Before his retirement in 1997, he worked in television starting in the 1950s for WQED and WTAE, and subsequently as a team photographer for the Pirates, the Steelers and the University of Pittsburgh athletic program.
Along the way, Mr. Banos' professional skills and personable, natural manner led not only to many great images but also to close friendships with those he photographed, including Roberto Clemente and Franco Harris.
J. Evans Rose Jr.
March 10, 1932--July 20, 2012
J. Evans Rose, a fourth-generation lawyer known as a courtly workaholic, served multiple GOP governors, attorneys general, county commissioners and other elected officials as their No. 1 campaign fundraiser.
The highest political office he ever sought or achieved for himself was as borough council president in little Sewickley Heights, but he helped make the career of Dick Thornburgh and raised millions of dollars over the years to help Tom Ridge, LeRoy Zimmerman, Ernie Preate, Tom Corbett, Jim Roddey, Larry Dunn, Bob Cranmer and many more.
Dec. 22, 1956--July 29, 2012
Mark Schneider's influence is visible all over the city of Pittsburgh.
As chairman of the Sports & Exhibition Authority and the Stadium Authority, he was instrumental in the development of Heinz Field, PNC Park and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. As president of the Rubinoff Co., he spearheaded riverfront redevelopment with the creation of Washington's Landing and repurposed a slag heap into the residential Summerset at Frick Park.
On top of that, business partners and politicians say he was generous with his time. He volunteered countless hours to state and local community organizations and served as the president of the fund to build a World War II memorial on the North Shore.
Mr. Schneider, an avid cyclist and a longtime proponent of bike trail development in the city, died after a bicycle accident in Maryland.
Oct. 16, 1929--Sept. 14, 2012
Barbara Cloud, longtime fashion editor for the Pittsburgh Press and columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, had a timeless beauty and sense of style. After starting what she intended to be a temporary job as an editor in 1952, she left five years later to cover fashion for the Press, a post she held from 1957 until the paper's demise in 1992.
Carroll H. "Beano" Cook
Sept. 1, 1931--Oct. 11, 2012
Carroll H. "Beano" Cook was a quick-witted college football historian who entertained television and radio audiences with his unique view of the world of sports.
Mr. Cook was best known for his work as a college football analyst and historian -- some knew him as the "Pope of College Football." He also had a successful career as a sports publicist, including his first job as the sports information director at Pitt.
Mr. Cook left Pitt for ABC Sports in 1966 and worked in a number of jobs over the years. In 1986, he moved to ESPN, where he earned a larger audience for his now famous one-liners.
In 1981, shortly after Iran released a number of American hostages, Major League Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn announced that they would all be given lifetime passes to major league games. Mr. Cook got off one of his most famous lines: "Haven't they suffered enough?"
Feb. 12, 1930--Oct. 14, 2012
Former U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter was a longtime Republican moderate who became a crucial Democratic vote late in his life and played a central role in many political battles, including the Supreme Court confirmation of Clarence Thomas, the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and the passage of health care reform.
Mr. Specter served five terms as a Republican U.S. senator, the longest of any Pennsylvanian, switching to the Democratic Party in 2009, ensuring passage of President Barack Obama's health care law. But Pennsylvania Democrats never accepted him as one of their own, and he was defeated in the party's 2010 Senate primary.
During Mr. Specter's decades in public office, he served on the Senate Judiciary and Appropriations committees, shaping the federal judiciary and the Supreme Court and funneling billions toward federal cancer research, but his influence spilled far beyond the Senate chamber.
He was a key figure in the 1964 Warren Commission investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and a 1996 presidential candidate who shared a Kansas hometown with Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. Mr. Specter fought a cascade of serious illnesses during the past two decades, including open-heart surgery, a brain tumor and bouts with lymphatic cancers.
Possessed with a razor-sharp legal mind, searing ambition and boundless energy, the former Philadelphia prosecutor was an avid player in take-no-prisoners Senate politics. He reveled in his role as man in the middle of the action rather than in the margins, even while he struggled to remain one of the last of the Republican Party's centrists.
Feb. 17, 1925--Nov. 11, 2012
Jack Gilbert was a highly regarded Pittsburgh-born poet.
His output was relatively slim -- he published seven volumes of poetry excluding collections in 50 years -- and he always kept a low profile, eschewing book parties and readings of his work.
Yet his poems about Pittsburgh, childhood, food, sex and personal pain were celebrated for their clarity and power.
First Published December 31, 2012 12:00 am