The year 2016 won’t be remembered for its kindness or mercy.
Seems every week, sometimes every day, word came that some internationally recognized person had died. In South Florida, the deaths of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro in November, boxer Muhammad Ali in June and rock songwriter Glenn Frey in January all resonated for their impact in the community.
Castro’s 1959 revolution in Cuba transformed South Florida. Ali’s biggest hits in the ring came as a result of training with Angelo Dundee at the world-famous Fifth Street Gym in Miami Beach. Frey, who as a member of the Eagles, recorded most of the group’s greatest hits, including opening the doors to the classic “Hotel California,” in North Miami Beach and Coconut Grove, in the 1970s.
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But South Florida’s locals also lived lives full of distinction, with resounding stories and memories to savor. We told you of the beloved press agent who was “the face of South Florida theater.” The father with 88 kids. The philanthropists who gave millions and who gave of their hearts to the community.
As 2016 closes, we look back at just some of the many notable names who helped give South Florida its character and whom we lost in the calendar year.
Jan. 17: Clarence Reid, 76. As the songwriter and rapper also known as Blowfly, Reid was a seminal figure in the evolution of the Miami Sound in the early 1970s. He wrote hits for Betty Wright and Gwen McCrae.
Jan. 28: Clark Douglas Burris, 73. Miami Beach High Rock Ensemble founder led his students — who would later go on to perform with Elton John, Exposé and Todd Rundgren — to national prominence. In February, his students put together Rockin’ the Universe: A Musical Celebration of Life, a three-hour multimedia program that drew about 800 alumni and music lovers to Beach High’s auditorium.
Feb. 22: Carl Starling-Key, 71. A true made-in-Miami figure. Charter boat captain, boxer who sparred with Muhammad Ali at Fifth Street Gym, and a film extra in “Tony Rome.” He also taught high school in Miami-Dade and adult education English.
March 8: Michael Geraldi, 73. Along with wife his Camille, Geraldi, a pediatrician, helped adopt 88 special needs children and founded the Up With Down Syndrome Foundation.
March 15: Peter Harlem, 67. A leading geoscientist at Florida International University, he used his trailblazing maps and light-detecting imagery to warn that South Florida will be 97 percent underwater by 2159. His revelations were featured in publications from Rolling Stone to The New York Times.
March 25: Mac Klein, 101. He bought Club Deuce in 1963, added “Mac’s” to the South Beach bar’s name, and worked at the landmark that hosted the “Miami Vice” wrap party and everyone else, right up to his 101st birthday.
April 1: Jay Clarke, 88. For more than 50 years, travel section readers turned to globetrotting Miami Herald travel editor Clarke’s columns for a passport to world adventures.
April 10: Dr. Jose Pedro Greer, 87. Cuba-born physician was the first Hispanic president of the Dade Medical Association. A chief of staff at Miami’s former Cedars of Lebanon hospital, Greer helped train Cuban doctors to take their exams to be licensed in the United States.
May 20: Elda Santeiro Martinez, 77. Co-founder of Liga Contra el Cancer/League Against Cancer in 1975, a group run by Cuban Americans to support cancer patients and their families.
June 8: Richard Patrick Hall, 59. Inspired by Tuskegee Airmen, and a past president of the Tuskegee Airmen Miami Chapter, the Air Force and United Airlines pilot soared the skies.
June 12: Ralph Lutrin, 93. Academic, arts and animal philanthropist, he served as president of the Audrey Love Charitable Foundation.
July 11: Bonnie Mandich, 61. The widow of Miami Dolphins champ Jim Mandich led the Dolphins Cancer Challenge to raise money for Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.
July 21: Molly Turner, 93. The first lady of South Florida news was Florida’s first anchorwoman in 1960 after she began her career on an entertainment show in 1951 at WTVJ, South Florida’s first TV station. Famed for her 19 years at WPLG-10 where she was the station’s consumer affairs reporter.
Aug. 7: Myriam Correa-Sherman, 69. One of the first Hispanic heart-transplant recipients was honored with Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Star of Excellence Award, given to organ-transplant recipients and their mentors who volunteer to offer support and comfort to those awaiting transplants.
Aug. 8: Gilbert Clark, 93. The National Hurricane Center specialist who forecast every Atlantic and East Pacific hurricane from 1956 to 1990.
Aug. 12: Barbara Gibb, 95. Singer was the mother, and an inspiration, to Bee Gees’ Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb, and ’70s pop star Andy Gibb. Only Barry survives.
Aug. 28: Anthony Arneson, 73. Synonymous with the power lunch at Joe’s Stone Crab, Arneson was the day maitre d’ for 32 years.
Aug. 31: David Alexander, 66. Former director of the Coconut Grove Local Development Corp., the Jamaica-born Alexander helped revitalize West Grove and, later, Overtown, with the St. John Community Development Corp.
Sept. 16: Dr. Nancy Fawcett, 85. Pediatrician was one of the longest-tenured professors at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine — 52 years. Established a poison control center at Jackson Memorial and was medical director for the pediatric Comprehensive Health Care Program at Jackson/UM from 1980 to her 2012 retirement.
Sept. 18: Jose Fernández, 24. Miami Marlins pitcher, famed for his precise fastball, lost his life, along with two others, in a boat crash off South Beach.
Sept. 18: Joe Browder, 78. Environmental activist played a pivotal role in protecting the Florida Everglades, founded the Friends of the Everglades group with Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and served as an official with the U.S. Department of the Interior during the Carter administration.
Sept. 28: Everett Stewart Sr., 81. Elementary teacher and Brownsville activist was honored for his community involvement with the dedication of the Everett Stewart Sr. Community Center at Jefferson Reaves Sr. Park.
Oct. 2: David Ross, 66. As general manager of radio station WHYI (Y-100 100.7 FM), Ross broke the Miami Sound Machine’s first English-language single, “Dr. Beat,” in 1984, helping boost the careers of Gloria and Emilio Estefan.
Oct. 2, 9: Darby Bannard, 82; Dina Knapp, 69. South Florida lost two acclaimed artists in Bannard (Oct. 2) who led the 1960s Minimalist art movement and in 1989 became chairman of the University of Miami’s art department; and Miami Beach’s Knapp (Oct. 9), whose wearable art was so cherished that reggae icon Bob Marley was buried in one of her tams.
Oct. 19: Irving Fields, 77. Founder of Granny Feelgood’s chain in Coconut Grove in 1971, he helped bring healthy eating — and tofu — to South Florida.
Oct. 20: Michael McDonald, 68. As an Internal Revenue Service agent in the Criminal Investigation Division during South Florida’s drug wars of the 1970s and ’80s, he busted members of Colombia’s infamous Medellín Cartel.
Nov. 3: Charlie Cinnamon, 94. The face of South Florida theater, the beloved press agent also created the internationally renowned Coconut Grove Arts Festival in 1963 as the result of an inspired publicity stunt that took on a life of its own.
Nov. 7: Janet Reno, 78. Prosecutor, politician, pioneer who grew up amid alligators and peacocks in South Florida and made it from Miami-Dade state attorney to the world stage as the nation’s first female attorney general during the Clinton administration.
Nov. 10, 16: Sue Miller, 81; Dwayne Andreas, 98. South Florida philanthropists Miller (Nov. 11) and Andreas (Nov. 16) elevated giving to an art form. Miller, a 40-year volunteer at United Way and winner of the Tocqueville Award for Outstanding Philanthropy, donated millions to the charity and, with her family, more than $100 million to the University of Miami’s medical school. Andreas, the agribusiness “Soy Bean King” and Barry University donor, helped bring nations together as he worked with every U.S. president from Truman to Clinton.
Nov. 13: Burton Goldberg, 90. Created Coconut Grove’s original Mutiny Hotel in 1968 and through the 1970s, until he sold it in 1984. The Mutiny drew the biggest rock stars, playboys, gorgeous women and, yes, drug dealers of the Cocaine Cowboys-era who did their business right out in the open.
Nov. 14: Gardnar Mulloy, 102. Miami tennis great competed for 75 years, winning five Grand Slam doubles titles, including a Wimbledon crown and induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
Nov. 26: Alan Tomlinson, 69. Award-winning journalist and WLRN filmmaker, shared his passion for great stories in his films, “Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami” and the powerful “Treblinka’s Last Witness.”
Dec. 2: Raul Casares, 82. Impact glass giant whose handiwork, as president of R.C. Aluminum Industries in Miami, protected the skyline of South Florida.
Dec. 6: Charles Reed, 75. Chancellor of Florida and California state universities also served as former Florida Gov. Bob Graham’s chief of staff. Of Reed, Graham said: “Charlie was a giant in higher education.”
Dec. 12: Sonny Wright, 81. Business entrepreneur made Peoples National the first black-owned bank in Miami-Dade. Also owned Universal Real Estate.
Dec. 17: Guillermo Benites, 75. The news anchor star of Univisión Canal 23 for nearly four decades and one of the pioneers of Spanish-language television in the United States.
Dec. 19: Sheldon Greer, 88. Professor emeritus of microbiology and immunology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Greer spent decades looking for cancer cures.
Dec. 29: Larry Hawkins, 73. Miami-Dade commissioner from 1988 to 1994.