I'll be doing these entries on a monthly basis this year, rather than trying to catch up on the whole year's worth of passings at the end of the year. Look for a February listing in a few days, after Wikipedia finalizes the latter part of the month.
- John Shelton Wilder (3 June 1921-1 Jan. 2010): Former Tennessee lieutenant governor who held the position for 48 years, possibly the longest such stint in American political history.
- Freya von Moltke (29 March 1911-1 Jan. 2010): A former leader in the German resistance during World War II along with her husband.
- Former Remy Zero drummer Gregory Slay (10 May 1969-1 Jan. 2010, of cystic fibrosis): Also the composer of the theme for the overrated FX drama Nip/Tuck.
- George Willoughby (9 Dec. 1914-5 Jan. 2010): A long-time Quaker peace activist who led nonviolent demonstrations against war and military operations.
- James von Brunn (11 July 1920-6 Jan. 2010): The white supremacist and Holocaust denier who shot and killed a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington last year and, thankfully, saved American taxpayers the expense of a trial for his sorry ass by dying behind bars. (Whatever condition killed the son of a bitch, I hope it was exceedingly painful.)
- Miep Gies (15 Feb. 1909-11 Jan. 2010): A Dutch humanitarian who protected Anne Frank and her family during the Holocaust. After the Franks were captured and taken to the death camps, she found and protected Anne's diary.
- Teddy Pendergrass (26 March 1950-13 Jan. 2010, complications of cancer): American soul singer.
- Otto (14 Feb. 1989-14 Jan. 2010, euthanized due to cancer): A British dachschund-terrier mix who was on record as the world's oldest dog.
- Erich Segal (16 June 1937-17 Jan. 2010): American professor who wrote the novel Love Story and the screenplay for the psychedelic Beatles animated film Yellow Submarine.
- Kate McGarrigle (6 Feb. 1946-18 Jan. 2010, of cancer): A Canadian folk singer-songwriter with an accomplished career on her own and with sister Anna. She was also married for a time to singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III and was the mother of singers Rufus and Martha Wainwright.
- Robert B. Parker (17 Sept. 1932-18 Jan. 2010): A Boston-area detective novelist whose Spenser series spawned a long-running TV series and whose Jesse Stone series has inspired a series of made-for-TV movies, and who helped revive the genre after it had fallen on hard times. He died at his writing desk, working on a novel -- our loss, but he was doing what he loved, and that's to be envied.
- Jean Simmons (31 Jan. 1929-22 Jan. 2010): A British-born American actress who, in an interview I read years ago, showed a great sense of humor about getting fan mail meant for KISS singer Gene Simmons.
- Anne Froelick Taylor (8 Dec. 1913-26 Jan. 2010): American screenwriter from 1941-1950, later a playwright and novelist after the anti-communist blacklist ended her Hollywood career.
- Lee Archer (6 Sept. 1919-27 Jan. 2010): A fighter pilot with the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II.
- J.D. Salinger (1 Jan. 1919-27 Jan. 2010): Reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey, and who knows what else during his years generally hiding from the public.
- Howard Zinn (24 Aug. 1922-27 Jan. 2010): A historian hated by the American right because his A People's History of the United States dared to suggest that America had done some bad things in the past along with the good. Apparently these fools didn't realize that the height of patriotism is not to shout "My country, right or wrong," but to try to set right that which is wrong.
- Alistair Hulett (15 Oct. 1951-28 Jan. 2010, of cancer): Scottish-born Australian folk singer (either solo or with the punk-folk band Roaring Jack) with a fiery socialist bent, who I was proud to feature singing the workers' anthem "The Internationale" on last year's Labor Day special podcast.
- Ralph McInerney (24 Feb. 1929-29 Jan. 2010): A Catholic religious scholar who also penned mystery novels featuring crime-solving priest Father Dowling (which later inspired a TV series).