Hernando County lost many notable residents during 2009, people who in ways large and small made the community a better place. Today, we remember them and their contributions.
Jan. 7: Lee Gordon, 62, Brooksville, longtime choir director at Faith Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Brooksville.
Jan. 19: Steve Van Slyke, 58, Brooksville, real estate appraiser and former president of the Hernando County Association of Realtors.
Jan. 28: David Sturgill, 61, Spring Hill, real estate agent with Century 21 in Spring Hill and aviation enthusiast.
Feb. 10: Bob DeWitt, 69, Brooksville, longtime Realtor and member of the Hernando County Planning and Zoning Commission.
Feb. 19: Capt. Scott Bierwiler, Spring Hill, 42, a 22-year veteran of the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.
Feb. 24: Thomas Deen, 83, Brooksville, former Moton Elementary School principal who served 38 years with the Hernando County school system.
March 6: Evelyn DeHart, 92, Brooksville, longtime mental health activist credited with bringing a chapter of the National Alliance of Mental Illness to Hernando County.
March 7: Jake Baird, 74, Spring Hill, longtime member of the Gulf Coast Homing Club pigeon racing club in Spring Hill.
March 9: Hal Neely, 88, Brooksville, record producer and former manager for R&B star James Brown.
March 11: Mary Swan, 68, Spring Hill, 1950s teen pop singer and noted local entertainer best known for her recording of My Heart Belongs to You.
March 13: Dennis Gill, 60, decorated Vietnam War veteran and commander of Veterans Of Foreign Wars Post 9236.
April 16: John W. Sanders, 73, Lee County, former Hernando school superintendent who served from 1996 to 2001.
April 24: Paul Clemons, 76, Spring Hill, longtime pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church.
May 9: Tom Price, 72, Brooksville, ice cream vendor known to many simply as "the Ice Cream Man."
May 24: Joe Johnston Jr., 86, Brooksville, longtime attorney who, along with representing the city of Brooksville and the Hernando County School Board, served a term as state senator.
June 17: Michael Martin, 50, Spring Hill, notorious New York subway graffiti artist during the 1970s who signed his work, "Iz the Wiz".
June 19: L.R. Huffstetler, 70, who served 15 years as a Circuit Court judge in Hernando County.
June 29: Bertie A. "B.A." Crum, 91, Brooksville, pioneer family rancher who served nearly a quarter decade on the School Board.
July 24: Army Spc. Justin Dean Coleman, 21, Hernando Beach, the result of wounds suffered during a fight with insurgents in Afghanistan.
Sept. 4: James Parkhill, 84, Seminole, former builder who served on the Hernando County Planning and Zoning Commission and the East Hernando Fire District Advisory Board during the 1980s.
Sept. 7: Dr. Richard Henry, 83, Brooksville, well-known family physician and former chief of staff of Lykes Memorial Hospital.
Sept. 9: Robert Sayers, 39, Spring Hill, two-year veteran patrol officer with the Clermont Police Department.
Sept. 10: Pat Fleck, 80, pioneer Spring Hill resident and business activist who helped start the West Hernando Chamber of Commerce.
Oct. 26: David Russell Sr., 82, Brooksville, former one-term Hernando County commissioner and father of current commissioner and former Florida House member, David Russell Jr.
Nov. 9: Renee Whaley, 66, Spring Hill, longtime advocate for children with disabilities.
Dec. 19: Charles "Chuck'' Drawdy, 76, rancher and horse trainer who helped train horses for the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.