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Epilogue: Notable deaths from around Tampa Bay in 2015

Earnest Williams, while running for St. Petersburg City Council in 2001, posed in his office of his State Farm Insurance Agency. [Times files]
Earnest Williams, while running for St. Petersburg City Council in 2001, posed in his office of his State Farm Insurance Agency. [Times files]
Published Jan. 4, 2016

Tampa Bay lost some notable community members in 2015, people who shaped infrastructure and fought for civil rights, made their mark in sports and in our pages. In some way, they all had a hand in shaping our history.

Here's a list of some of the most memorable people who died last year.

Earnest Williams, former St. Petersburg city council member

"His major accomplishment was he served people the best way he could, whether as a city councilman or an insurance agent," Pinellas County Urban League president Watson Haynes said of Mr. Williams. "He probably wouldn't say it, but I will — He was successful at that.

Mr. Williams died Jan. 27.

Charles Schick, horseman who rode Seabiscuit and War Admiral

Schick helped break the two horseracing legends as yearlings. As a teenage exercise boy, he taught Seabiscuit to accept a bridle, then tried to get the underachieving colt interested in racing. A year later and working for a different stable, Mr. Schick played a similar role for War Admiral, a horse that needed no encouragement to surge to the front.

He died Feb. 11.

Adam Baker, leader of "Courageous 12"

Mr. Baker set in motion one of the most important civil rights cases in St. Petersburg's history. The plaintiffs, known as the "Courageous 12," toppled the first domino toward ending segregation, forcing the Police Department to increase opportunities for its African-American officers.

He died Feb. 22.

Kimberly Hendrix, local fashion designer

In 2013, she headlined Tampa Bay Fashion Week, sending her glittering gowns down the runway on models adorned with twigs and branches.

She died March 11.

Robert T. Pittman, former Times editor of editorials

Mr. Pittman championed integration, open government, civil liberties and other causes many of his readers considered too liberal for their tastes.

He died March 21.

James Christison, civil rights activist

As chief executive officer of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, Mr. Christison fought for American Indians, farmworkers and the elderly. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, Ala., and other cities.

He died April 5.

Warren Elly, longtime television reporter

"When you told Warren 'off the record,' he knew what 'off the record' meant. He never violated that one time," said Tampa defense attorney Barry Cohen.

Mr. Elly died April 6.

Ray Graves, former University of Florida football coach

Mr. Graves took the lightly regarded football program at the University of Florida and turned it into a winner.

He died April 9.

Guy Daines, Pinellas County 'godfather of emergency management'

In 1985, Mr. Daines orchestrated what was then the largest peacetime evacuation in U.S. history, overseeing the evacuation of more than 300,000 Pinellas County residents, including patients in three hospitals and 19 nursing homes.

He died April 17.

Merl Reagle, world renowned crossword puzzle editor

Mr. Reagle was featured in the award-winning documentary Wordplay. It showed famous crossword enthusiasts, including former President Bill Clinton and comedian Jon Stewart, trying to solve a crossword puzzle Reagle had created.

Mr. Reagle died Aug. 22.

John Germany, Tampa lawyer and civic activist

Mr. Germany was a founding partner of the Holland & Knight law firm, one of a handful of men who pushed aside obstacles to build the University of South Florida, and the driving force behind construction of the public library that bears his name.

He died Aug. 26.

Logan Neill, longtime Times reporter and local musician

In recent years, Mr. Neill covered local news in the Times' Hernando County bureau. But he had lived previous, more glamorous lives — lives that put him in regular contact with legends, lives that made him a regional legend in his own right.

He died Sept. 1.

Sister Maureen Dorr, Trinity Cafe volunteer

Tall and thin in her apron, Sister Maureen moved through the hardscrabble crowd like some kind of light, a cap of gray hair in a sea of people, stopping here and there to deliver silverware, pour iced tea, bend her head for a quiet talk or take someone's face in her hands.

She died in early October.