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LIST: These are prominent people with Houston and Texas ties we lost in 2020

FILE - In this May 31, 2020 file photo, visitors make silent visits to organic memorial featuring a mural of George Floyd, near the spot where he died while in police custody, in Minneapolis, Minn. On Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2020, the Minneapolis City Council will decide whether to shrink the city's police department while violent crime is already soaring and redirect funding toward alternatives for reducing violence. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – The year 2020 was a hard one for all of us, and one of the hardest things is saying good-bye.

So as we say good-bye to 2020, here’s a look at some of the prominent Houstonians and Texans we lost this year and a little about each one of them and their impact. The list is in alphabetical order.

Houstonian or Houston ties:

Lemuel Bruce:

Funeral services set for fallen HFD arson investigator, Lemuel Bruce, at Lakewood Church

HFD Arson Investigator Lemuel Bruce, 44, was shot and killed in an exchange of gunfire with a suspect while investigating a string of arsons in northwest Houston in October. Here’s more on his life and death.

Richard Connelly:

Richard “Rich” Connelly, a longtime former staff writer and columnist for the Houston Press, died Tuesday at his Houston home after a several years long battle with cancer, his wife Bobette Riner by his side.

Willie Dixon:

Beloved ABC13 KTRK photojournalist Willie Dixon died in April at the age of 52.

George Floyd:

George Floyd (Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Floyd, who died while being detained by Minneapolis, Minnesota, police on Memorial Day, was a native of Houston’s Third Ward. He was buried in Houston in July. His death at the hands of police touched off protests across the country. Read a timeline of events.

Rev. Vickey Gibbs:

Reverend Vickey Gibbs (Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church)

Rev. Vickey Gibbs, an activist and associate pastor at Resurrection Metropolitan Community Church in Houston died in July at the age of 57.

Vanessa Guillen:

Spc. Vanessa Guillen (KPRC 2 Investigates)

Vanessa Guillen, 20, of Houston, disappeared April 22 from the parking lot of her regimental engineer squadron headquarters at Fort Hood. Her remains were found more than two months later near the Leon River in Bell County.

Investigators said an Army specialist and killed and dismembered Guillen. The specialist killed himself as officers moved in on him.

Cecily Aguilar, 22, of Killeen, is accused of helping the specialist dispose of Guillen’s body in some nearby woods.

Guillen’s family continues to fight for further investigations into her death and are working for legislation in Congress.

Charlotte Han Sharp:

Charlotte Han Sharp, 67, passed away Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at her home in College Station following a lengthy illness. She was the wife of John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System. (© The Association of Former Students)

Charlotte Han Sharp, the wife of Texas A&M chancellor John Sharp, died Tuesday at her home in College Station after a lengthy illness. She was 67.

Gerald Hines:

Remembering Gerald D. Hines

Houston builder Gerald D. Hines was known for his commitment to architectural excellence, superior engineering and integrity. Hines died in August at the age of 95.

Wendel Johnson:

Remembering Wendel Johnson

Longtime KPRC 2 family member, beloved photojournalist Wendel Johnson died in May at the age of 62.

Rabbi Samuel Karff:

Rabbi Samuel Karff passes away

Rabbi Samuel Karff died in August at the age of 88. He served as Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Beth Israel as well as being a part of Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston.

Jason Knox:

Police escort body of Jason Knox, Houston officer who was killed in helicopter crash

Jason Knox is the Houston Police Department officer who died in a helicopter crash in May in north Houston. Knox, 35, was the tactical flight officer who died at the hospital following the crash. Knox joined the department in June 2012, officials said. He was assigned to the Midwest Patrol Division and the Office of Public Affairs before joining the Air & Marine Division in January 2019, according to HPD. For more on his life and career, go here.

Ronnel Lapid:

A Houston nurse struck and killed in July by a vehicle near Hermann Park is remembered for his infectious personality. Read more about his life and legacy here.

Ernest Leal Jr.:

Leal died in November at the age of 60, according to HPD. He served as an HPD officer since August 1984, serving more than three decades with the North Patrol Division. He also worked in the Northeast Patrol Division and briefly in the Jail Division. Here’s more on his life and career.

Meredith Long:

The renowned art dealer died in June in Houston at the age of 92.

Vincent Mandola:

A Houston restaurateur Vincent “Bubba” Mandola has died for coronavirus, according to the Mandola family. (KPRC)

Houston restaurateur Vincent Mandola died at the age of 77. Mandola was the owner of five restaurants in the Houston area, including Nino’s, Vincent’s and Grappino di Nino, three Italian restaurants located on the same property.

Arif Memon:

Community remembers father killed in crash

The popular Bollywood radio DJ Arif Memon was killed in a crash in May. For more on his life and legacy, read here.

Staff Sgt. Robert Mendoza:

Remembering Marine with Houston ties

The Marine with Houston ties died in April at the age of 43 of coronavirus.

HFD’s Jerry Pacheco:

Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña shared a tweet that said Houston firefighter paramedic Jerry Pacheco, 50, died from complications of COVID-19 on Monday morning. (Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association)

Pacheco, 50, died from complications related to COVID-19. Pacheco was a 17-year veteran of the Houston Fire Department. He was assigned to station 101 in Kingwood.

Kenny Rogers:

FILE - This Feb. 20, 1978 file photo shows Kenny Rogers at his home in Brentwood, Calif. Rogers, who embodied The Gambler persona and whose musical career spanned jazz, folk, country and pop, has died at 81. A representative says Rogers died at home in Georgia on Friday, March 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Wally Fong, File) (AP1978)

The Houston-born performer died in March at the age of 81. He is best known for such hits as “The Gambler,” “Lucille,” “Lady” and “Islands in the Stream.”

Caleb Rule:

Remembering Dept. Constable Caleb Rule

Fort Bend County Precinct 4 Deputy Constable Caleb Rule was shot and killed in a friendly-fire incident while responding to a call. Here’s more on his career and the case.

Sgt. Raymond Scholwinski:

Community to pay respects to Sgt. Raymond Scholwinski, HCSO deputy who died after contracting COVID-19

Harris County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Raymond Scholwinski died in early May after contracting the coronavirus. Here’s more on his life and remembrances.

Capt. Tommy Searcy:

Funeral service honors Tommy Searcy, Houston firefighter who died from coronavirus

Capt. Tommy Searcy, an 18-year Houston Fire Department veteran, died in September after battling coronavirus for weeks. He was 45 years old.

Alexis Sharkey:

Alexis Sharkey (Stacey Clark Robinault/Facebook)

Alexis Sharkey, 26, was found dead on Nov. 28. Questions continue to swirl about the social media influencer’s death. Here’s more on her social media presence, what her mother says and more.

Tony Vallone:

Famed Houston restaurateur Tony Vallone dies at 75

Houston restaurateur and chef Tony Vallone died in September. The restaurant said Vallone died peacefully of natural causes. He was 75. Vallone was the founder of the restaurant Tony’s in Greenway Plaza and Tony’s Catering.

Bob “The Bull” Watson:

(Original Caption) 1970: Portrait of Houston Astros outfielder Bob Watson. He is shown here uniformed, in a waist-up studio pose. (Getty)

Houston Astros legend Bob Watson died at the age of 74 in May. Here’s more on his life and career.

Jimmy Wynn:

Portrait of Jimmy Wynn wearing baseball cap during his time as a player for the Houston Astros baseball team, San Francisco, California, 1980. (Photo by Clarence Gatson/Gado/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Jimmy Wynn died at the age of 78 in March. He was a former Houston Astros All-Star. For more on his life and career, read here.

Bill Yeoman:

Bill Yeoman, former University of Houston coach, speaks at the Mayor's Breakfast as part of the College Hall of Fame Enshrinement activities Friday, Aug. 9, 2002, in South Bend, Ind. Yeoman is one of 25 inductees. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond)

Bill Yeoman, the legendary University of Houston football coach, died in August. He was 92. Read more about his life here.


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