A roundup of notable obituaries from the week ending Feb. 24.
Bernie Custis, 88, pro football’s first black quarterback who blazed the trail for future CFL stars Warren Moon, Chuck Ealey and Damon Allen, has died. Custis made pro-football history on Aug. 29, 1951, when he became a starter with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who confirmed his death Thursday.
Sabine Oberhauser, 53, the physician and Austria’s health minister, died Thursday. She had been battling cancer for two years and relinquished her government duties a week ago to enter the hospital. Austrian Chancellor Gerhard Kern spoke of “indescribable sadness” at news of Oberhauser’s death.
Fritz Koenig, 92, a German sculptor whose work “The Sphere” became a symbol of resilience after the 9/11 attacks in New York, died late Wednesday at his home in Altdorf, about 31 miles of Munich. Koenig said it was a miracle that “The Sphere” had survived the attack, noting at the time: “It was a sculpture; now it’s a memorial.”
Gary Cartwright, 82, a longtime Texas journalist whose sharp writing, fearless reporting and fast living established him as one of the state’s greatest nonfiction writers and a kind of Lone Star cousin to Hunter S. Thompson, died on Wednesday in Austin, Texas. Cartwright was the dean of a loose-knit class of Texas journalists who pushed the bounds of long-form journalism, using irreverence and participatory storytelling.
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Kenneth Arrow, 95, the Nobel Prize-winning Stanford economist whose groundbreaking work redefined the world’s understanding of the free marketplace, died Tuesday at his home in Palo Alto, Calif.
His contributions to the so-called equilibrium theory helped him win the Nobel Prize in 1972, an honor he shared with British economist Sir John Hicks. Arrow was 51 at the time. He was the youngest person to win the Nobel Prize for economics.
Larry Coryell, 73, the jazz guitarist known as the “Godfather of Fusion” who grew up in the Seattle area, died last Sunday in his New York hotel room of natural causes after performing two shows Friday and Saturday.
Richard Schickel, 84, a noted film critic for Life magazine from 1965 until it closed in 1972, for Time until 2010 and later for the blog Truthdig.com., and also a Hollywood historian and prolific author and documentarian who estimated that he had watched 22,590 movies, died Feb. 18 in Los Angeles.
Clyde Stubblefield, 73, a drummer known for one of the most sampled breaks ever, died Feb. 18 of kidney failure in Madison, Wisconsin. Stubblefield’s short solo on James Brown’s 1970 single “Funky Drummer” is estimated to have turned up in more than 1,000 songs and as a backbeat on countless hip-hop tracks.
Omar Abdel-Rahman, 78, the blind Islamic cleric whose fulminating sermons inspired violent fundamentalist movements in Egypt and, a U.S. court found, a 1993 plot for a bombing rampage in New York, died Fe. 18, U.S. officials said. He died from complications from diabetes and coronary-artery disease in the Butner Federal Correctional Complex, near Raleigh, North Carolina, where he was serving a life sentence
Norma McCorvey, 69, the anonymous plaintiff in Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in the United States, inflaming one of the most divisive controversies of the past half-century, died Feb. 18 in Katy, Texas. The cause was heart failure.
Andrew Schneider, 74, acclaimed investigative reporter and public-health journalist, who won two Pulitzer Prizes, and later worked for several years at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where he broke the story of asbestos contamination in a small Montana town, died Feb. 17 of heart failure in Salt Lake City. He was being treated for pulmonary disease.
Charles L. Bartlett, 95, a Washington newspaper correspondent and columnist who won a Pulitzer Prize for national reporting but was remembered especially for the dinner party he and his wife, Martha, arranged where they introduced John F. Kennedy to Jacqueline Bouvier, died Feb. 17 in Washington.