Ken Forsse, 77, the creator of the 1980s plush bear Teddy Ruxpin that made appropriate facial expressions as it told stories or sang, died of congestive heart failure March 19 in Laguna Woods, Calif. In 2003 the Toy Industry Association named the bear one of the most memorable and creative toys of the 20th century.
Arthur Smith, 93, a trailblazing guitarist and banjoist who wrote and recorded Guitar Boogie and Feuding Banjos, a bluegrass tune that became Dueling Banjos in the film Deliverance, died April 3 in Charlotte, N.C. He wrote and co-wrote more than 500 compositions and influenced the Beatles, among many others.
Zeituni Onyango, 61, President Barack Obama's Kenyan-born aunt, who received asylum in the United States in 2010 after years of living illegally in Boston, died of cancer Tuesday. She was a stepsister of Obama's father.
Edwin F. Kagin, 73, the son of one minister and father of another, who saw religiosity creeping into the public domain and fought against it as a lawyer for American Atheists, died March 28 in Union, Ky.
Thomas Polgar, 91, the CIA's Saigon station chief who urged Americans in a final dispatch to learn from their defeat in Vietnam, died March 22 in Winter Park, Fla. "Let us hope that we will not have another Vietnam experience and that we have learned our lesson," he wrote in April 1975.
Wayne Henderson, 74, a trombonist, composer and co-founder of the Jazz Crusaders, who became a powerful force for merging the sound of jazz with elements of funk, soul and R&B, died of heart failure April 4 in Culver City, Calif.
Massimo Tamburini, 70, who for decades reigned as "the Michelangelo of motorcycling" because of his influential designs of motorbikes, died of lung cancer April 6 in San Marino, Italy.