Our Say:
As 2006 ends, some farewells to those we'll miss


New Year's festivities are fueled by the knowledge that we're glad to leave behind much of what happened in the prior year. It's a relief to put a new calendar on the wall.

But every year a community loses something of itself - people who made unique and priceless contributions. All that can be done is to remember them.

While there's no room here for a truly comprehensive list, here are just a few of those this community will miss as the final seconds of 2006 tick away:

Tom Abercrombie, a globe-trotting photographer and writer for National Geographic magazine.

Leonard A. Blackshear, the civil rights and business leader who led the effort to put a memorial to Alex Haley and Kunta Kinte at City Dock.

Robert Lee Cohen, who, as president and founder of Annapolis Bus Co., spent decades seeing that children got safely to school.

Bennett Crain, the widely respected lawyer who helped spearhead the county's change to charter government.

Gilbert Crandall, a former state tourism director and the creator of the slogan "America in Miniature."

Geaton Anthony DeCesaris Jr., who was president of one of the largest building companies in the nation and left a $3 million gift to Anne Arundel Medical Center.

Dick Haefner, an advertising executive, wine expert, columnist, author and all-around Annapolis institution.

Bill Harris of Chester, known universally as "Capt. Bill," who started the Harris Seafood Process Co. and Harris Crab House.

Henry L. Hein, the businessman who for decades worked tirelessly on the Glen Burnie Town Center revitalization and many other area projects.

Alfred A. Hopkins, the Annapolis mayor, alderman and sports editor who probably epitomized his native city - the place he loved best on earth - better than any other single person.

Ejner "Johnny" Johnson, a director of the state Department of Motor Vehicles and chief of staff and legislative coordinator for Gov. Harry Hughes.

Florence Peterson Kendall, who helped establish physical therapy in Maryland.

Cecil C. Knighton, the onetime "car czar" who became the consummate Annapolis entrepreneur.

Harry Lindauer, the president of the Annapolis Opera Company and a leader of the effort to build the All-Faith Chapel and the Uriah P. Levy Center at the Naval Academy.

Nancy Lynn, aerobatics pilot and co-founder of Lynn Aviation.

Louis Phipps Jr., former head of the state Department of Natural Resources and a tireless advocate for the Chesapeake Bay.

Edward A. Praley Sr., a Glen Burnie native who was chief of the county Police Department.

Marion E. Warren, an extraordinarily talented photographer devoted to documenting this region.

Then there were the young men who died for their country during military operations in the Mideast: Pvt. Eric Kavanaugh of Severna Park, killed by an improvised explosive device; Staff Sgt. Christopher Swanson of Rose Haven, killed while leading a patrol; and Marine Cpl. Justin J. Watts of Crownsville, killed by nonhostile gunfire.

And there was yet one more towering figure we lost this year: Philip Merrill, a philanthropist whose gifts left their imprint on the University of Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a diplomat and public servant who lent his talents to six presidential administrations - and the publisher of this newspaper for 38 years.

A final salute to all of these fine people as we clear the boards for 2007. We'll miss them - and we'll always remember them.

Published December 30, 2006, The Capital, Annapolis, Md.
Copyright 2006 The Capital, Annapolis, Md.