This week’s notable deaths included a Hall of Fame baseball player who was an eight-time batting champion during his 20 years with the San Diego Padres; the radio disc jockey who created the “American Top 40” countdown show of pop songs; and the chief executive officer of Texaco Inc., whose legal battle with Pennzoil Co. ended with record damages and the biggest U.S. bankruptcy. Below are summaries of these and other obituaries from the past week.
Tony Gwynn, 54, won eight National League batting titles with a .338 career average and five Gold Glove awards as an outfielder for the Padres, his only team. He was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, his first year of eligibility. Died June 16 of cancer of the salivary glands in Poway, California.
Casey Kasem, 82, was the host of “American Top 40,” a syndicated weekly U.S. radio show that counted down the most popular songs, from 1970 to 1988 and again from 1998 to 2004. On television, he was the voice of Shaggy, a character in the animated series “Scooby-Doo.” Died June 15 after suffering from Parkinson’s disease and a form of dementia, in Gig Harbor, Washington.
John K. McKinley, 94, was CEO of White Plains, New York-based Texaco, then the third-largest U.S. oil company, from 1980 until he retired in 1986. Texaco’s 1984 deal to buy Getty Oil Co. was challenged by Houston-based Pennzoil Co., resulting in a jury levying a record $10.53 billion in damages against Texaco, pushing it to file the biggest bankruptcy at the time. Died June 12 at his home in Dallas.
Moise Safra, 80, was a Brazilian billionaire whose family controls Sao Paulo-based Banco Safra SA, Brazil’s eighth-largest bank, the flagship of the clan’s financial empire. He sold his 50 percent stake in the conglomerate to his brother in 2006, and last year bought a 40 percent stake in the General Motors Building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Died June 14 in Sao Paulo after suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
Chuck Noll, 82, was a Hall of Fame coach who won a record four Super Bowl titles over six seasons in the 1970s with the National Football League’s Pittsburgh Steelers. Noll spent his entire 23-year head coaching career with the team, which previously had never won a championship. Died June 13 at his home in Sewickley, Pennsylvania.
Stephanie Kwolek, 90, was the chemist whose research on polymers in the 1960s led to the creation of Kevlar, the synthetic fabric used in bulletproof vests. She spent her career at Wilmington, Delaware-based, E. I. duPont de Nemours & Co. and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1995. Died June 18 at St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington.
Reinfried Pohl, 86, was CEO of Deutsche Vermoegensberatung AG, Germany’s biggest financial-services broker. He started the Frankfurt-based company, known as DVAG in 1975, building it into an enterprise with 6 million customers and more than 3,400 financial advisers and employees. Died June 12 of heart failure.