Feature Stories

2011: In Memoriam

May their memory be a blessing

Notable deaths in 2011. May their memory be for a blessing.

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AMY AALAND, 48, former executive director of the Joseph Slifka Center at Yale University, died at her home Jan. 3 after a prolonged battle with breast cancer. She had “tremendous energy and love,” said Sarah Kellner, a former president of Yale Hillel.

DEBBIE FRIEDMAN, the popular Jewish folk singer and songwriter who helped reinvigorate synagogue music with her folksy, contemporary Jewish sacred music, died Jan. 9 in Southern California, a week after she came down with pneumonia.

JOSEPH KORZENIK, 85, of West Hartford died Jan. 16.  A survivor of the Holocaust, he dedicated his later years to educating young people about the Holocaust and the dangers of prejudice and hatred.

SONIA PERES, the wife of Israeli President Shimon Peres for 65 years, died Jan. 20.  She was 87.

HERB ZWEIBON, founder and chair of Americans for a Safe Israel (ASFI) died on Jan. 20.  He was 84.

LEN LESSER the veteran character actor best known for his scene-stealing role as Uncle Leo on “Seinfeld,” died on Feb. 23.  He was 88.

LEO STEINBERG, the first art historian to receive an award for literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, died at the age of 90.

W.H. PRUSOFF, the Yale professor and chemist who developed the compound, d4T, a component of the first AIDS “cocktail” in the 1980s, died April 3 at the age of 90.

DR. BARUCH BLUMBERG, who received the 1976 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for discovering the hepatitis B virus, and later developed the vaccine that protects against it, died on April 5.  He was 85.

MANNY LIEBERT of West Hartford, founder of the Connecticut Boxing Guild, who was instrumental in bringing boxing back to Connecticut in 1973 after it had been banned in the state for eight years, died April 30. He was 98.

ALAN HABERMAN of Worcester, Mass., an American supermarket executive who is credited with popularizing the use of the barcode in commerce internationally, died June 12.  He was 71.

PETER FALK, actor whose portrayal of the perennially rumpled and lovable TV detective  “Columbo” won him four Emmy Awards, died at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif., on June 23.  He was 84.

Army Pfc. ERIC SOUFRINE of Woodbridge was killed in the line of duty Tuesday, June 24 when his Humvee hit an explosive device in Afghanistan. A 2009 graduate of Amity Regional High School, the Woodbridge native was expected home from his first tour of duty in just another week.  Instead, the 20-year old was buried in Mishkan Israel Cemetery in New Haven with full military honors.

MYRA KRAFT, the wife of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, died July 22 at the age of 68 after a long battle with cancer.

NANCY WAKE, a leader of the French resistance during World War II who became one of the Allies’ most decorated servicewomen, died in London on Sunday, August 7.  She was 98.

NOACH FLUG, president of the International Auschwitz Committee and chairman of the umbrella organization of Holocaust survivors in Israel died on Thursday, Aug. 10 in Jerusalem.  He was 86.

ADELE GASTER, of Bloomfield, 81, died Aug. 21. The wife of the late Berthold Gaster, the longtime owner of the Connecticut Jewish Ledger, she was the Ledger’s former associate editor and drama critic.

CASEY RIBICOFF, wife of the late U.S. Senator of Connecticut, and the state’s first Jewish governor Abraham Ribicoff, died at her home in Manhattan on Monday, August 22.  She was 88.

SUZY EBAN, the widow of Israel’s master statesman, Abba Eban, died Sept. 15 at the age of 90.

RALPH STEINMAN, a pioneering Canadian cell biologist died of pancreatic cancer on Sept. 20, just hours after being awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in medicine. He was 68.

LYNN MARGULIS, a microbiologist whose work on the origin of cells transformed the study of evolution, and who developed with James Lovelock the “Gaia theory” of earth as a vast self-regulating system, died Nov. 22. She was 73.

EVELYN LAUDER, the daughter-in-law of cosmetics giant Estee Lauder and a major figure in the fight against breast cancer, died Nov. 12 at the age of 75 of ovarian cancer.

PAULA HYMAN, a professor of modern Jewish history at Yale University for more than two decades, a pioneer in the field of Jewish gender studies and one of the founders of the Jewish feminist movement, died on Thursday, Dec. 15 in New Haven.  She was 65.

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