A roundup of notable obituaries from the week ending March 23.

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Zell Miller, 86, a cantankerously independent politician from the mountains of northern Georgia who disdained backslapping and baby-kissing as he snarled at journalists and battled fellow Democrats in his four years as a U.S. senator, died on Friday morning at his home in Young Harris, Georgia. Miller had Parkinson’s disease.

Miller served as U.S. Senator, governor for two terms, lieutenant governor, state senator and, in the beginning of his political career, small-town mayor — of Young Harris, near the North Carolina border. As a U.S. senator, he enraged fellow Democrats with a primetime convention speech endorsing the re-election of President George W. Bush.

“He had an independent streak that was governed by what he thought was right,” said U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican who befriended Miller after a bitter political rivalry. “We need more people like him.”

H. Wayne Huizenga, 80, a college dropout who built a business empire that included Blockbuster Entertainment, AutoNation and three professional sports franchises, died Thursday night at his Florida home. No further details were available.

Huzienga built Waste Management Inc. into a Fortune 500 company, starting with a single garbage truck in 1968 and acquiring small companies. He repeated the process, and success, with Blockbuster Video and AutoNation. He was the founding owner of baseball’s Florida Marlins and the NHL Florida Panthers and later bought the NFL Miami Dolphins and their stadium for $168 million in 1994. He sold all three teams by 2009.

Dariush Shayegan, 83, the famed Iranian philosopher who challenged Western domination of philosophical thought and wrote the book “Cultural Schizophrenia” on the Muslim world and modernity, died Thursday in Tehran, two months after suffering a stroke.

Shayegan’s ideas on how civilizations communicate with each other, embraced by former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami, earned the intellectual the 2009 Global Dialogue Prize in Denmark. He once told the Financial Times: “Tolerance is accepting the other and taming your ego.”

Charles P. Lazarus, 94, the World War II veteran who founded Toys R Us, has died a week after the iconic chain he started six decades ago announced it will shut its stores across the United States. Toys R Us confirmed Lazarus’ death in a statement Thursday.

Lazarus first opened a baby furniture store in Washington, D.C., in 1948 and opened the first store dedicated only to toys in 1957. He stepped down as CEO of Toys R Us in 1994.

Peter G. Peterson, 91, a billionaire former head of Bell and Howell and Lehman Brothers, as well as secretary of commerce in the Nixon administration, co-founder of the private-equity firm Blackstone Group and a prominent voice for overhauling Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security, and reducing the U.S. national debt, died of natural causes Tuesday.

Les Payne, 76, a fervid and fearless Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, columnist and editor for Newsday who helped pave the way for a generation of black journalists, died Monday in Manhattan.

Beginning in 1969, when he joined Newsday, the Long Island newspaper, Payne exposed inequality and racial injustice wherever he found it, whether it was apartheid in South Africa, illegally segregated schools in the American South or redlining by real estate agents in suburban New York. He was part of the team that won a Pulitzer for public service in 1974 for a 33-part series, “The Heroin Trail,” which traced a narcotics scourge from its source in Turkey to the mean streets of America.

Julie Yip-Williams, 42, whose candid blog about having Stage IV colon cancer also described a life of struggles that began with being born blind in Vietnam and her ethnic Chinese family’s escape in a rickety fishing boat, died Monday in Brooklyn, New York.

Yip-Williams’ richly detailed blog, which she started writing after receiving her diagnosis in 2013, was more than an account of her siege with cancer. It was also a meditation on love and family as well as a message of openness to her young daughters, Mia and Isabelle, about her illness.

Keith O’Brien, 80, the cardinal who was removed in 2013 as Scotland’s ranking Roman Catholic cleric after acknowledging that he had engaged in the very sort of homosexual behavior he had earlier denounced, died Monday in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in Northeast England, where he had been living in exile.

Hazel Smith, 83, the Nashville music industry matriarch credited with coining the phrase “outlaw country” to describe the unvarnished alternative to mainstream country music, died in Nashville this past Sunday. The cause was heart failure.

Smith’s legacy, though, extended well beyond her timely knack for nomenclature. Her nearly five-decade career in country music encompassed everything from songwriting and journalism to artist management and radio and television work.

Sammy Williams, 69, who won a Tony Award in his Broadway acting debut for his wrenching monologue as Paul, the tormented young gay man and aspiring dancer seeking artistic validation, in the original production of “A Chorus Line,” died March 17, in North Hollywood, California. The cause was cancer.

Williams was 26 when he first played Paul San Marco, an awkward and shy gay Puerto Rican dancer from Spanish Harlem. It was his first speaking part.

Francis M. Bator, 92, a White House economist who nudged the Johnson administration toward a closer collaboration with Western Europe while reconciling with the Soviet Union and its communist satellites, died March 17 in Dedham, Massachusetts.

In Washington, Bator proposed federal programs and policies that were later incorporated into President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. After leaving the administration in 1967, he became founding chairman of the public-policy program at what is now the Harvard Kennedy School and director of studies at the school’s Institute of Politics. He retired as a professor in 1994.

Ray Jackson, 83, the leading rusher on the University of Washington’s back-to-back Rose Bowl teams in 1959 and 1960, and later one of the school’s first African-American assistant coaches, died March 11 in his hometown of Waco, Texas.

In an era that featured Husky legends Bob Schloredt, Don McKeta, George Fleming, Chuck Allen and Roy McKasson, among others, it is Jackson who is remembered as one of the best athletes of them all. In 1971, Jackson became the second African-American assistant coach in program history. Jackson remained in that role until 1976. Jackson went on to become the budget director for Puget Power, retiring in 1998.

Millie Dunn Veasey, 100, one of the last surviving members of the only all-black Women’s Army Corps unit to serve overseas during the World War II, died March 9 in Raleigh, North Carolina, a few weeks past her 100th birthday.

After serving in the military, Veasey had a long career at her alma mater in Raleigh, what is now St. Augustine’s University, and became involved in the local branch of the NAACP, serving as its president in the mid-1960s.