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Year in Review: Deaths

12/31/2008, 6:36 a.m.

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          Georgette Watson smiles as she speaks to those gathered at an event promoting the Drop-a-Dime tip line in this July 1987 file photo. Watson, a community activist who co-founded the anonymous hotline in 1983, died Aug. 29, 2008, in Baltimore. (Banner file photo)

          (From left): Former Boston City Councilor Thomas I. Atkins stands with U.S. Rep. William Clay, D-Mo., as then-New Urban League director Mel King and Haywood Henry, chairman of the Congress of African People, sit at their side during a rally at Franklin Field in this 1971 file photo. Atkins died June 27, 2008, at a nursing home in Brooklyn, N.Y., after struggling for years with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Straightforward and fearless, Atkins had the right temperament for his times. (Banner file photo)


          A young supporter holds a placard promoting Tom Atkins’ 1971 unsuccessful mayoral bid. The civil rights firebrand that became Boston’s first black at-large city councilor died June 27, 2008, at a nursing home in Brooklyn, N.Y., at the age of 69. (Banner file photo)


          In this May 11, 1978, file photo, Eartha Kitt, star of the Broadway play “Timbuktu,” arrives on the shoulders of Tony Carroll, Mr. Universe of 1977, at New York’s Waldorf Astoria. Kitt, a sultry singer, dancer and actress who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality, died Thursday, Dec. 25, 2008, of colon cancer. She was 81. (AP photo/Ira Schwarz, File)


          John B. Cruz Jr. (left) and his son John B. Cruz III stand on a construction site in this Banner file photo. Cruz Jr., popularly known as “Bertie,” passed away on Sept. 6, 2008. He was 89. In 1948, he established the John B. Cruz Construction Company, the oldest 100-percent minority-owned construction firm in the Commonwealth. (Banner file photo)


          This 1978 photo shows attorney J.L. Chestnut Jr., the first black lawyer in Selma and a prominent attorney in civil rights cases for half a century. He died at the age of 77 on Sept. 30, 2008, in a Birmingham hospital. (AP photo/Selma Times-Journal)

          The Four Tops pose at Heathrow Airport in London in a Nov. 16, 1966, file photo. From left to right are Abdul Fakir, Levi Stubbs, Lawrence Payton and Renaldo Benson. Stubbs, the group’s frontman, died Friday, Oct. 14, 2008, at his home in Detroit. He was 72. (AP photo)