Remembering Those Who Left Us In 2008

It was a year of political firsts and of financial lasts, one that many people are glad to see end. With just two more weeks or so before the inauguration, Barack Obama's to-do list is enormous.

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But before we look ahead to what's in store for 2009, a look back at 2008, remembering those voices in the world of politics we lost. Among the departed are two Democratic members of the House: Stephanie Tubbs Jones, the first black congresswoman from Ohio, and Tom Lantos of California, the first Holocaust survivor elected to Congress. Hamilton Jordan helped elect a president, while Mark Felt helped take one down. The conservative movement lost an early voice (William F. Buckley), a no-nonsense senator (Jesse Helms), and one who left journalism for government (Tony Snow). Charlton Heston defended the gun lobby while Howard Metzenbaum fought it. Three members of Richard Nixon's "Enemies List" — Paul Newman, Stewart Mott and Ed Guthman — left us as well. As did President Truman's daughter and Obama's grandmother.

Presented here is a chronological list of those who died last year. It doesn't claim to be complete, but it includes many of those who made our lives more interesting and the world a better place.

Lee Dreyfus, 81, who resigned as chancellor at the University of Wisconsin in 1978 to win the governorship of the state. A Republican, he defeated Bob Kasten (later a U.S. senator) in the primary and acting Gov. Martin Schreiber (D) in the general election. In his one term he pushed for tax cuts and signed the state's first gay rights law. (Jan. 2)

Joseph Lazarow, 84, who was appointed mayor of Atlantic City, N.J., in 1976, the beginning of its ascendancy as a gambling capital, and who bested Teddy Roosevelt's world record of shaking the most hands in a single day; on a July 1977 day, he shook 8,514 hands, a record that stood until broken years later by New Mexico's Bill Richardson. (Jan. 3)

Houston Flournoy, 78, a two-term California state controller who was the GOP nominee for governor in 1974; he narrowly lost to Democrat Jerry Brown. In 1966, when he was first elected controller, he defeated Alan Cranston, who was two years away from beginning his Senate career. (Jan. 7)

Eugene Sawyer, 73, a Chicago alderman who became the choice of a deeply divided City Council for mayor following the sudden death of Harold Washington (D) in 1987, but whose tenure lasted only until the 1989 special election, when he was unseated by fellow Democrat Richard M. Daley. (Jan. 19)

Evan Galbraith, 79, the U.S. ambassador to France under President Reagan, who later sought the GOP nomination for governor of New York in 1994, losing to George Pataki. (Jan. 21)

Alton Marshall, 86, executive secretary to New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller (R) from 1966-71. (Jan. 24)

Richard Darman, 64, the budget director under the first President Bush who helped him back away from his "no new taxes" lip read, a decision that was partly responsible for Bush's 1992 defeat. (Jan. 25)

Margaret Truman Daniel, 83, the only child of President Harry Truman. (Jan. 29)

Earl Butz, 98, the secretary of agriculture in the Nixon and Ford administrations whose tenure came to an abrupt end in October 1976 when it was revealed that he had told a racist and obscene joke about African-Americans on a flight back from the GOP national convention. Butz, long involved in agriculture affairs in his home state of Indiana, sought the GOP nomination for governor in 1968. (Feb.2)

John McWethy, 61, the former defense and State Department correspondent for ABC News who was inside the Pentagon the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. (Feb. 6)

John Gorman, 57, a researcher for Democratic presidential candidates George McGovern and Jimmy Carter, who since 1996 had been in charge of election polling for the Fox News Channel. (Feb. 10)

Steve Gerber, 60, whose cult-favorite comic book creation, Howard the Duck, made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency in 1976, running on the All-Night Party ticket; he lost to Jimmy Carter, who ran on the Democratic Party ticket. (Feb. 10)

Rep. Tom Lantos, 80, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the only Holocaust survivor in Congress. A California Democrat, he was first elected to the House in 1980, defeating freshman Republican Bill Royer. In his 14 terms, he was a strong supporter of human rights around the world as well as an aggressive U.S. foreign policy and Israel. (Feb. 11)

James Orange, 65, whose 1965 arrest in Alabama for trying to register blacks to vote was a major catalyst for the Selma-to-Montgomery civil rights march and who was at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis on April 4, 1968, when Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. (Feb. 16)

Evan Mecham, 83, a perennial Republican candidate for governor of Arizona who unexpectedly triumphed in a three-way contest in 1986, only to be impeached and removed from office in 1988 on the charge of misuse of state money. Mecham was a fiery conservative and gadfly who lost GOP primaries for governor in 1964 and 1974 before winning the nomination in 1978, only to lose to Democrat Bruce Babbitt. He lost the primary again in 1982. He was a surprise primary winner in 1986 and was an even bigger surprise winner in November, as Democrat Carolyn Warner and independent Bill Schulz split the opposition. (He was also the GOP nominee for the Senate in 1962, losing to Dem incumbent Carl Hayden.) Shortly after becoming governor, he rescinded the state's holiday honoring the late Martin Luther King Jr. and managed to insult blacks, gays, Jews and Asians, for starters. Within 15 months of taking office, he was the subject of a possible recall election, impeachment and six felony indictments, mostly that he lent his automobile dealership money from his inaugural fund. He was impeached by the state House and in April of 1988 was removed from office by the state Senate, the first governor to meet that fate in 59 years. Two years later, he ran once again for governor, finishing second in the primary. (Feb. 21)

Orin Lehman, 88, New York State's longest-serving commissioner of parks who unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for New York City comptroller in 1965 and Congress in 1966. He was a great-nephew of Herbert Lehman, who had served as governor and senator. (Feb. 22)

Johnnie Carr, 97, who joined Rosa Parks in the historic Montgomery (Ala.) bus boycott in 1955 and later succeeded Martin Luther King Jr. as president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, a post she held from 1967 until her death. (Feb. 22)

William F. Buckley Jr., 82, one of the founders of the modern-day conservative movement whose books, columns and stewardship of The National Review magazine began during the Eisenhower administration and made him a hero on the right. From his "God and Man At Yale" in 1951, through his defense of Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) in the 1950s, championing Barry Goldwater and later Ronald Reagan, and criticism of President Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq, he was the nation's pre-eminent conservative. In his one bid for public office, he ran for mayor of New York City in 1965 on the Conservative Party ticket, mostly as a platform to torment the Republican nominee, John Lindsay, whom Buckley saw as a liberal. Asked the first thing he would do if he won, Buckley said, "Demand a recount." Buckley finished third, with 13 percent of the vote, behind Lindsay and Democrat Abe Beame. (Feb. 27)

Howard Metzenbaum, 90, an unabashedly liberal Democratic senator from Ohio (1977-94). His first bid for the Senate was in 1970, when he upset former astronaut John Glenn, a national hero, in the Democratic primary but then lost to Republican Robert Taft Jr. in the general election. In 1973, Gov. John Gilligan (D) appointed him to replace GOP Sen. William Saxbe, who resigned to become U.S. attorney general. But in his bid to win the seat outright in 1974, he lost to Glenn in a bitter Dem primary rematch. Two years later, he unseated Taft in still another rematch. As senator, he took on oil companies and the gun lobby, becoming the key sponsor of the Brady Act that called for a waiting period following the purchase of a handgun. Throughout it all, he never shied away from publicity. In winning his third and final term in 1988, he easily defeated Cleveland Mayor (and later governor and senator) George Voinovich. (March 12)

Hal Riney, 75, the San Francisco adman who designed President Reagan's "It's Morning Again in America" campaign in 1984. (March 24)

William Dickinson, 82, an Alabama Republican whose election to Congress in 1964 helped usher in two-party politics in the state. As GOP presidential candidate Barry Goldwater was sweeping the Deep South, Dickinson unseated Rep. George Grant (D) and went on to serve for 14 terms before retiring in 1992. As the ranking Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, he was a strong supporter of the military. (March 31)

Eugene Pincham, 82, a longtime civil rights lawyer who sought the mayoralty of Chicago in 1991, losing to incumbent Richard M. Daley. He had been a close confidant of Harold Washington, the city's first black mayor, who died in office in 1987. (April 3)

William Eberle, 84, a former Republican state lawmaker from Idaho who became President Nixon's chief trade representative in 1971. (April 3)

Herbert Alexander, 80, a leading political scientist at the University of Southern California who was an expert on campaign finance. (April 3)

Charlton Heston, 84, actor who played Ben-Hur and Moses in the movies but who headed up the National Rifle Association in real life. (April 5)

Robert Hartmann, 91, a journalist turned adviser to Congressman Gerald Ford, who stayed with Ford as he moved to vice president and then president and who penned the "our long national nightmare is over" speech for Ford following President Nixon's resignation in 1974. (April 11)

Barry Gottehrer, 73, a reporter for the old New York Herald Tribune who left journalism to join the new administration of New York City Mayor John Lindsay (R) in 1966 and who later made a brief bid for Congress from Manhattan. (April 11)

DeVan Shumway, 77, campaign manager for California Republican Sen. George Murphy's unsuccessful re-election bid, who as the spokesman for the Committee to Re-Elect the President defended the Nixon administration throughout the Watergate scandal. (April 23)

Deborah Jeane Palfrey, 52, the "D.C. Madam," whose list of prostitution clients included Sen. David Vitter (R-LA). (May 1)

Jordan Wright, 50, who was one of the nation's leading collectors of political campaign items and a longtime friend of this column. (May 11)

Lionel Van Deerlin, 93, a nine-term Democratic congressman from California who focused on telecommunications issues but whose career ended with the Reagan landslide of 1980 and an upset defeat at the hands of Duncan Hunter (R). He also ran for the House twice in the 1950s, losing to Republicans James Utt in '52 and Bob Wilson in '58 before his 1962 victory in an open seat. (May 17)

Barbara Sears ("Bobo") Rockefeller, 91, whose marriage to and later divorce from Winthrop Rockefeller — not yet the governor of Arkansas — was national news at the time. (May 19)

Hamilton Jordan, 63, a Democratic strategist from Georgia who helped elect Jimmy Carter governor (1970) and president (1976) and who later became his chief of staff in the White House. After Carter lost the presidency, Jordan unsuccessfully sought his party's Senate nomination in 1986, losing to Rep. Wyche Fowler. (May 20)

William Battle, 87, a former U.S. ambassador to Australia who was the Democratic nominee for governor of Virginia in 1969, when he lost to Republican Linwood Holton. He was also the son of John Battle, who served as governor from 1950-53. (May 31)

Neil MacNeil, 85, a longtime correspondent for Time magazine who was one of the nation's premier congressional reporters. (June 7)

Elly Peterson, 94, a two-time co-chair of the Republican National Committee, known as a pro-choice moderate who fought for the inclusion of blacks in the party and passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and who was the 1964 GOP nominee for the Senate in Michigan against incumbent Democrat Phil Hart. (June 9)

Stewart Mott, 70, a General Motors heir who used his fortune for liberal and progressive causes and candidates and who helped bankroll Sen. Eugene McCarthy's insurgent bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968. His $400,000 contribution to George McGovern's 1972 campaign earned him a spot on President Nixon's Enemies List. (June 12)

Tim Russert, 58, a former Democratic operative from New York who worked for Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Gov. Mario Cuomo, but whose transformation as the host of NBC's Meet the Press nearly 17 years ago made him a beloved and familiar TV presence. (June 13)

Tony Schwartz, 84, a TV adman best known for creating the famous "Daisy" ad for the LBJ campaign in 1964. The ad ran only once, but it was considered one of the best examples of successful negative ads. (June 15)

Francis Powers, 67, the choice of Republican leaders from Staten Island to run for the congressional seat being vacated by Rep. Vito Fossella (R-NY), who announced his retirement following a DWI arrest on May 1 and the subsequent revelation he had fathered a child out of wedlock. (June 21)

Kent Snyder, 49, campaign manager for Rep. Ron Paul's 2008 bid for the Republican presidential nomination. (June 26)

Clay Felker, 82, who founded New York magazine and later owned or edited The Village Voice and Esquire. (July 1)

Jesse Helms, 86, an unyielding and uncompromising Republican conservative who in five terms in the Senate from North Carolina (1973-2002) was a strong defender of moral and family values and a leading foe of abortion, gay rights, AIDS research, taxes, affirmative action and liberalism. His election in 1972 made him the first GOP senator from his state in the 20th century. His support for Ronald Reagan gave the former California governor a crucial victory over President Gerald Ford in the 1976 primary in N.C. Never a landslide winner, Helms defeated Gov. Jim Hunt (D) in a memorable and expensive 1984 battle, and he beat former Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt, an African-American, in both 1990 and 1996. (July 4)

Clem McSpadden, 82, best known as the voice of professional rodeo, who was elected to Congress as an Oklahoma Democrat in 1972 but who gave up his House seat two years later in an unsuccessful primary bid for governor, when he lost the runoff to eventual winner David Boren. He was a great-nephew of Will Rogers. (July 7)

Roy Huffington, 90, a Houston oilman and former U.S. ambassador to Austria whose great wealth helped finance the campaigns of his son, ex-Rep. Michael Huffington (R-CA). (July 11)

Tony Snow, 53, a conservative newspaper columnist and TV talk show host/commentator for the Fox News Channel who served as president George W. Bush's press secretary for 17 months until resigning in September 2007. (July 12)

Patricia Buckley Bozell, 81, a sister of the late William F. Buckley and a noted writer on Catholic issues who married L. Brent Bozell Jr., a National Review editor, and whose son Brent III heads the conservative Media Research Center watchdog group. (July 12)

Richard Wade, 87, a leading urban historian who worked for Democratic candidates Robert F. Kennedy and George McGovern. (July 18)

Anne Armstrong, 80, an influential figure in Texas and national Republican circles and adviser to Presidents Nixon and Ford who became the first woman to serve as U.S. ambassador to Britain. She was one of the keynote speakers at the 1972 GOP national convention. It was on her ranch where Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot his hunting partner, Harry Whittington, in 2006. (July 30)

John Seiberling, 89, an Ohio Democrat who served on the House Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment hearings in 1974. In 1970, running as a strong foe of the Vietnam War, he unseated GOP Rep. William Ayres and served until his retirement after 1986. (Aug. 2)

Bill Gwatney, 48, a former Arkansas state senator whose work on behalf of Mike Beebe's (D) successful 2006 gubernatorial campaign led the new governor to appoint him Democratic state chairman. (Aug. 13)

Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, 58, the first black congresswoman from Ohio who came to the House from a Cleveland district following the retirement of Louis Stokes (D) in 1998. An outspoken supporter of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, she was chair of the House ethics committee. (Aug. 20)

Ed Guthman, 89, Robert F. Kennedy's press secretary and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who was on Nixon's Enemies List. (Aug. 31)

Paul Curran, 75, a former New York assemblyman who as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in the 1970s took on mobsters and corrupt public officials and who lost the 1982 Republican gubernatorial nomination to Lewis Lehrman. (Sept. 4)

Nathan Gordon, 92, a Democrat and the longest-serving lieutenant governor in the history of Arkansas (1947-66), a time that included the racial confrontation surrounding the integration of Little Rock's Central High School in 1957. (Sept. 8)

Peter Camejo, 68, a three-time candidate for governor of California (2002, '03 and '06) who was the presidential nominee of the Socialist Workers Party in 1976 and Ralph Nader's running mate in 2004. His platform included opposition to war and racism and support for abortion rights and better conditions for migrant workers. (Sept. 13)

Johnny Hayes, 67, the finance manager for Al Gore's two presidential campaigns, in 1988 and 2000, and a noted collector of political memorabilia. (Sept. 20)

Barefoot Sanders, 83, a longtime federal judge from Texas who led the fight for desegregation in schools and who as the Democratic nominee lost to Rep. Bruce Alger (the state's only GOP congressman) in 1958 and to Sen. John Tower (R) in 1972, after having defeated ex-Sen. Ralph Yarborough in the Democratic Senate primary runoff. He reportedly urged President Kennedy not to come to Dallas in November 1963 because the atmosphere was "very hostile." He and his wife were in the motorcade a few cars back when the shots came. (Sept. 21)

Paul Newman, 83, the Oscar-winning actor whose involvement in liberal causes and the 1968 Eugene McCarthy campaign earned him a spot on Nixon's Enemies List. (Sept. 26)

John Reilly, 80, a senior adviser to six Democratic presidential candidates beginning with John Kennedy in 1960 and who as a top aide in Walter Mondale's 1984 campaign led the VP selection process that resulted in the pick of Geraldine Ferraro. (Oct. 12)

Paul Rogers, 87, who during his 24 years in Congress as a conservative Florida Democrat was instrumental in passing dozens of measures promoting health care and the environment, earning the nickname "Mr. Health." His father, Rep. Dwight Rogers (D), died three weeks after winning a sixth term in 1954. Paul Rogers won a special election in January 1955 and served until he retired in 1978. (Oct. 13)

Matthew Rinaldo, 77, a moderate New Jersey Republican who was elected to the House in 1972 and retired 20 years later, frustrated with being in the minority and with the partisan rancor in Congress. (Oct. 13)

Bill Headline, 76, the former D.C. bureau chief for CNN who later headed the Voter News Service exit-polling organization during the controversial 2000 presidential election. (Oct. 20)

Fred Baron, 61, the finance chair for John Edwards' 2008 presidential campaign who had his 15 minutes of notoriety last summer by acknowledging he sent money to Rielle Hunter, Edwards' former mistress. (Oct. 30)

Madelyn Dunham, 86, Barack Obama's white grandmother, who shaped much of the president-elect's life when he lived in Hawaii during his childhood and high school years but who died two days before he would win the White House. (Nov. 2)

Terence Tolbert, 44, the Nevada state director for the Obama campaign and a former top aide to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Nov .2)

Catherine Baker Knoll, 78, a Pennsylvania Democrat who served two terms as state treasurer (1989-96) before winning election as lieutenant governor in 2002 and 2006 under Ed Rendell (D). (Nov. 12)

Jim Mattox, 65, a combative and often nasty Texas Democrat who served three terms in Congress (1977-82), was elected state attorney general in 1982 and 1986 and then lost an ugly and bitter primary for governor to Ann Richards in 1990, when he accused her of alcohol abuse and cocaine use. In 1994 he ran for the Senate but lost the Dem runoff to Richard Fisher, and in 1998 he lost to now-Sen. John Cornyn (R) for attorney general. (Nov. 20)

Cecil Underwood, 86, a Republican who at 34 was elected West Virginia's youngest governor in 1956 and who at 74 was elected the state's oldest governor in 1996. Forced out as governor in 1960 because of the one-term limit the state's governors were then under, he ran again in 1964, losing to Democrat Hulett Smith; in 1968, losing the GOP primary to Arch Moore; and in 1976, losing to Democrat Jay Rockefeller, before returning to the governorship in 1996. Four years later he was ousted by Democrat Bob Wise. He was also the GOP nominee for the Senate in 1960, losing to incumbent Jennings Randolph. (Nov. 24)

Francis Grevemberg, 94, a former Louisiana state police superintendent who led a crackdown on illegal gambling and who twice ran for governor, finishing third in the 1956 election running as a Democrat and, as the GOP nominee in 1960, losing to former Gov. Jimmie Davis (D). (Nov. 24)

Joseph Margiotta, 81, the longtime New York Republican power broker who ran Nassau County politics for 16 years until he resigned in 1983 following his conviction on mail fraud and conspiracy charges. (Nov. 28)

Ramon Velez, 75, an often-investigated Democratic politician from the South Bronx who headed up the area's poverty programs and who twice (1970 and '76) lost congressional primaries to Herman Badillo. (Nov. 30)

Raymond Lederer, 70, a three-term Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania who resigned his House seat and went to prison in 1981 following his conviction on bribery charges. He was part of the "Abscam" sting in which FBI members posing as Arab businessmen offered bribes to members of Congress. He nonetheless won re-election in 1980 while under indictment, but he resigned the following April as the House was ready to expel him. (Dec. 1)

David Crabiel, 78, a longtime Democratic elected official in Middlesex County, N.J. (Dec. 1)

William Patman, 81, son of longtime Texas Democratic congressman Wright Patman (1929-74), who was elected to the House himself by winning an open seat in 1980, losing after two terms to Republican Mac Sweeney in 1984. (Dec. 9)

Robin Toner, 54, a longtime New York Times political reporter and editor. (Dec. 12)

W. Mark Felt, 95, the No. 2 official at the FBI in the early 1970s who was revealed — more than 30 years later — to be "Deep Throat," the anonymous source for The Washington Post's Bob Woodward whose information for Woodward helped bring down President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal. (Dec. 18)

Paul Weyrich, 66, a longtime conservative strategist who started the Heritage Foundation and whose efforts led to the formation of the Moral Majority in the '70s and Ronald Reagan's election as president in 1980. In 1989, his testimony about John Tower's alleged drinking and womanizing helped end the former Texas senator's chances of becoming secretary of defense. (Dec. 18)

Click here for our compilation of 2007 deaths.

2006 deaths.

2005 deaths.

2004 deaths.

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