Lifestyle & Human Interest

Famous Faces Who Passed Away in August 2019


Celebrity Deaths August 2019

These are the famous faces who passed away in the month of August 2019.

Saoirse Kennedy Hill

Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s granddaughter Saoirse Kennedy Hill died of apparent overdose on Aug. 1, 2019; she was only 22 years old and was attending school at Boston College. Hill’s death is the latest of tragic deaths to plague the Kennedy family like former-President John F. Kennedy Jr.’s assassination in 1963.

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Mike Troy

Two-time Olympic gold medalist Mike Troy died on Aug. 3, 2019. The 78-year-old Vietnam veteran won gold medals at the 1960 Rome Olympics for 200-meter butterfly and the 800 freestyle relay, both of which broke world records at the time. The Indiana native moved to Arizona in 1990 and continued to coach young swimmers through his Gold Medal Swim School.

Bob Wilber

The influential jazz saxophonist and clarinetist Bob Wilber passed away on Aug. 4, 2019. He was 91 years old. Wilber’s passion to preserve traditional jazz contributed to his Grammy win in 1985 for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance, Big Band. He is survived by his wife Joanne ‘Pug’ Horton.

Joe Tortorice Jr.

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Jason’s Deli founder and president Joe Tortorice Jr. died Aug. 10, 2019 after battling cancer at 70. Many credit the Texan businessman’s success to his servant leadership and genuine care for his employees and customers. Tortorice was also extremely active in the Catholic Church and read scripture with inmates at the Stiles Unit in Beaumont, Texas, every Monday.

Dango Nguyen

Former firefighter and “Walking Dead” actor Dango Nguyen passed away when he was 48-year-old on Aug. 10, 2019 after battling cancer. Nguyen was a firefighter in Georgia for almost 20 years before leaving his career to pursue acting.

Jeffrey Epstein

Wealthy financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, 66, was found dead in his jail cell on Aug. 10, 2019. Only one day before his death, unsealed court documents showed that one of Epstein’s alleged victims claimed to have been forced to sleep with at least two Democratic politicians; the timing of his death in conjunction with the documents being unsealed is currently fueling various conspiracy theories. The FBI has renewed their appeal for possible victims of Jeffrey Epstein to contact them.

Claire Cloninger

Dove Award-winning songwriter and author Claire Cloninger died on Aug. 15, 2019, after a long battle with dementia. She was 77 years old. She received the Musical of the Year award four times, most recently for “Grace That Amazes” in 2006. She is survived by her husband, Robert “Spike” Cloninger, and her two sons.

Nancy Parker

Emmy award-winning news anchor Nancy Parker, 53, tragically died while on assignment. on Aug. 16, 2019. She had been a reporter for WVUE in New Orleans for 23 years before her sudden death.

Peter Fonda

Seventy-nine-year-old Peter Fonda, the two-time Oscar-nominated actor most famously known for his role on “Easy Rider,” passed away on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019, due to respiratory failure. Peter leaves behind his wife Margaret “Parky” DeVogelaere, his two children, Bridget, 55, and Justin, 53, and his sister Jane Fonda, 81.

Jack Whitaker

Legendary Emmy-winning sportscaster Jack Whitaker passed away in his sleep on Aug. 18, 2019. The World War II veteran was 95 years old.

Sports broadcaster and Lifetime Achievement Award winner Jack Whitaker attends the 33rd annual Sports Emmy awards at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 30, 2012 in New York City. (D Dipasupil / Getty Images)

David Koch

David Koch, a billionaire who invested in conservative political candidates, died on Aug. 23, 2019, at the age of 79. “While we mourn the loss of our hero, we remember his iconic laughter, insatiable curiosity, and gentle heart,” his family said in a statement.

Alfred C. Haynes

The hero pilot of United Flight 232 in 1989, Alfred C. Haynes, died at Aug. 25, 2019, after battling brain cancer. He was 69 years old. Haynes, along with two other pilots, helped saved dozens of passengers after the hydraulic lines necessary to land the plane were cut.

Jessi Combs

Professional race car driver and “Mythbusters” television personality Jessi Combs died while attempting to break her own land speed record. She was 39.

Jim Leavelle

Dallas Homicide Detective Jim Leavelle passed away on Aug. 29, 2019. Leavelle was handcuffed to Lee Harvey Oswald — the man who assassinated John F. Kennedy– when he was killed by Jack Ruby. He was 99 years old.

The suit worn by Dallas Homicide Detective Jim Leavelle is seen in front of a photo of the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby in the Sixth Floor Museum. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Valerie Harper

Actress Valerie Harper, most commonly known for her role as Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” passed away at age 80 on Aug. 30, 2019. She is survived by her doting husband, Tony Cacciotti, and her daughter, Cristina.

The cast of ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ stands with their arms around each other in the newsroom in a promotional portrait for the series finale. L-R: Gavin MacLeod, Edward Asner, Mary Tyler Moore, Ted Knight, Betty White, Georgia Engel, Valerie Harper and Cloris Leachman. (CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images)

Haley Smith

Twenty-six-year-old former “American Idol” contestant Haley Smith tragically died in a motorcycle accident on Aug. 31, 2019. The young aspiring artist appeared on season 11 of the reality show and left an impression on the judges.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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