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Late departures

A News of the Year addendum: Notable deaths in the final weeks of 2019

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Paul Volcker (right) and Ronald Reagan
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Danny Aiello, 86

Dec. 12 Character actor who received an Oscar nomination for his role as a pizza shop owner in Do the Right Thing. He was married to his wife, Sandy Cohen, for 64 years.

Herman Boone, 84

Dec. 18 The coach depicted in the movie Remember the Titans, he overcame racial tensions to lead Alexandria, Va.’s T.C. Williams High School to the Virginia state championship in his first year as head coach.

Nick Clifford, 98

Nov. 23 Last surviving rock carver to work on the Mount Rushmore monument.

Lois Evans, 70

Dec. 30 The wife of Dallas Pastor Tony Evans, she founded a ministry to pastors’ wives.

Hayden Fry, 90

Dec. 17 Hall of Fame football coach who led the Iowa Hawkeyes to three Big Ten championships. He coached or hired as assistants many who went on to have notable coaching careers: ESPN said, “Fry is the trunk of the biggest coaching tree in modern college football.” 

Y.C. “Bert” Fung, 100

Dec. 15 Researcher known as the “father of biomechanics,” a field combining biology, engineering, and medicine that has led to advances like heart valves and prosthetics.

Leonard Goldberg, 85

Dec. 4 A Hollywood producer and programmer, he transformed television with shows like Starsky & Hutch, The Mod Squad, Charlie’s Angels, Fantasy Island, and Blue Bloods

Fred P. Graham, 88

Dec. 28 A lawyer who covered the O.J. Simpson trial and other high-profile criminal cases for Court TV.

Richard Hatcher, 86

Dec. 13 The first black mayor of a major American city (along with Carl Stokes of Cleveland, elected on the same day in 1967), he led Gary, Ind., for 20 years. 

Jerry Herman, 88

Dec. 26 A Tony Award–winning composer and lyricist who wrote the songs for Mame, La Cage aux Folles, and Hello, Dolly!

Gertrude Himmelfarb, 97

Dec. 30  Historian whose writings on Victorian virtues influenced debates over U.S. welfare reform.

Don Imus, 79

Dec. 27 Controversial and crude host of the Imus in the Morning radio talk show.

James “Radio” Kennedy, 72 

Dec. 15 The inspiration for the 2003 movie Radio, starring Cuba Gooding Jr.

George Laurer, 94

Dec. 5 IBM electrical engineer who developed the Universal Product Code (UPC), which transformed commerce. 

Robert K. Massie, 90

Dec. 2 The author of best-selling books about prerevolutionary Russia, including Nicholas and Alexandra. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Peter the Great.

Alonzo McDonald, 91

Nov. 21 A successful businessman and Carter White House “efficiency czar,” he acknowledged that God was “playing second string” in his life and set up a foundation to advance Christian thinking.

Sonny Mehta, 77

Dec. 30 He headed Alfred A. Knopf for more than three decades, publishing bestsellers including Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park.

Lee Mendelson, 86

Dec. 25 Emmy-winning producer of more than 50 Peanuts television specials, including A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Yasuhiro Nakasone, 101

Nov. 29  Postwar prime minister of Japan who wanted his country to have a stronger military.

Michael J. Pollard, 80

Nov. 20 Round-faced character actor who received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for his role as the getaway driver in Bonnie and Clyde.

Mary Taylor Previte, 87

Nov. 16 A great-granddaughter of missionary Hudson Taylor, she spent nearly three years in a ­Japanese prison camp.

John Robbins, 86

Nov. 27 The co-developer of a vaccine to protect infants from bacterial meningitis, a disease that killed more than 400,000 babies a year before the vaccine.

Joseph Segel, 88

Dec. 21 The businessman who founded the QVC shopping channel and Franklin Mint.

Paul Volcker, 92

Dec. 8 The cigar-smoking chair of the Federal Reserve in the 1980s, he used tight money policies to tame double-digit inflation and warned against rising ­government debt.

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By the numbers

Krieg Barrie

Krieg Barrie

More income, more debt


Median weekly earnings of wage and salary workers in the third quarter of 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Earnings have risen steadily since the fourth quarter of 2017, when median weekly earnings stood at $854. Meanwhile, the BLS reported that the unemployment rate in November fell to 3.5 percent, a 50-year low as the U.S. economy added 266,000 jobs. A Dow Jones survey of economists had predicted an increase of 180,000 jobs.


The combined federal income and payroll tax burden on a single childless worker in 2018, according to the Tax Foundation. (Families often face lower burdens.) The burden fell 2.2 percent from 2017, which the Tax Foundation attributed to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.


The U.S. poverty rate in 2018, according to the Census Bureau. The rate was down from 12.3 percent in 2017 and has been dropping since 2014.


The average FICO credit score in 2018, an all-time high and an increase of 14 points since 2008.

$13.95 trillion

The total amount of U.S. personal debt in the third quarter of 2019, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Personal debt has increased for 21 consecutive quarters.

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The cost to become owner of The Skagway News, an Alaskan newspaper with two staff members. The publisher is giving away the small-town newspaper to anyone willing to run it.


The increase in nighttime light intensity in U.S. suburban areas due to Christmas decorations, according to NASA.


The number of consecutive AFC East division titles that the New England Patriots have won, the most of any NFL team.

$26 million

The amount that 8-year-old Ryan Kaji earned from his YouTube channel in 2019, making him the site’s top earner. Ryan’s videos show him doing science experiments, crafts, music videos, and more.


The share of Americans who say they read news on Facebook, according to the Pew Research Center.

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