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Police officers, coaching greats pass on in 2012

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Within the last year, West Virginia lost police officers, a former governor, sports greats, a talented chef, businessmen, educators, and a doctor who paved the way for treatment of mental illness.

These and other notable West Virginians who died in 2012 will be remembered in 2013 and beyond for how they affected those left behind. They used their individual gifts to contribute in unique ways.

Beginning with January and continuing until the end of the year, here is a list of a few of those who will be missed.

Not long after the start of the year, Hulett Smith, West Virginia's governor from 1965 to 1969, died Jan. 15 in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 93. During the time he served as the state's 27th governor, the death penalty was abolished, a school bond was passed that included Project Head Start for preschoolers, strip mines were regulated and 117 miles of interstate were opened.

  • Dr. Mildred Mitchell-Bateman, a trailblazer in the treatment of mental illness with a career that spanned six decades, died Jan. 25 after developing pneumonia. She was 89. She remained active until the brief illness. She sang in the choir at Charleston's Bream Memorial Presbyterian and served on the board of Mildred Mitchell-Bateman Hospital in Huntington, named in her honor in 1999 by then-Gov. Cecil Underwood. Over the years, she served as a psychiatrist, administrator, educator and state mental health commissioner.
  • February

  • Irene Durrett McKinney, poet laureate of West Virginia since 1994, died Feb. 4 on her family farm and birthplace in Belington. She was 72. Aside from being published in literary journals and magazines, she was the author of six books of poetry and had a commentary on National Public Radio.  
  • Spyros Stanley, longtime Charleston businessman, died Feb. 22 at age 84. He came to America as a poor Greek youth and earned his own way. With his colorful personality familiar to area residents, he managed his many properties and business interests in Charleston. His wife of more than 60 years, Kalliope Stanley, died Oct. 24. They raised three sons and two daughters who also became business people.
  • March

  • George "Brud" Warner died March 21 at the age of 85. His years of public service included terms as justice of the peace, Kanawha County magistrate and member of the House of Delegates.   The Charleston resident was the patriarch of one of the state's most prominent families. He worked to impart his devotion to public service to his six sons.
  • April

  • Samuel M. Bowling, longtime Charleston businessman, died April 8 in Boca Raton, Fla., at age 74. He was president of the Dougherty Co., Inc. He played a role in numerous business and community organizations over the years.
  • May

  • Bill Stewart, former West Virginia University head football coach, died May 21 after suffering a heart attack on the golf course. He was 59. The New Martinsville native was an assistant coach who took over the football program following the abrupt departure of Rich Rodriguez. Until the 2011 season, his nine victories as head coach in 2008 were the most of any first-year football coach at WVU. He ended his career at WVU with a 28-12 overall record.
  • Robert Wong, well known area chef and owner of Bridge Road Bistro, died May 29 after collapsing on the tennis court. He was 50. His culinary career took him to impressive spots such as The Greenbrier, Snowshoe Mountain, and Glade Springs Resort. He has been featured in national culinary publications and appeared on television shows. In September 2011, he and his wife launched a community outreach food ministry at Christ Church United Methodist called Breaking Bread.
  • July

  • Jim Carlen, former WVU football coach, died July 21 at his home in South Carolina at age 79. He coached the Mountaineers from 1966 to 1969 with a record of 25-13-3. The Mountaineers lost only to Penn State in the 1969 season and ended up playing in the Peach Bowl against South Carolina. The Mountaineers beat the Gamecocks in the rain and mud, 14-3.
  • August

  • Two West Virginia State Police troopers died as a result of a shooting that occurred Aug. 28 off the Wallback exit on Interstate 79. Cpl. Marshall Bailey, 42, was killed at the scene. Trooper Eric Workman, 26, was on life support for three days and died on Aug. 31. Marshall was stationed at Clay for most of his career. Workman, a Clay native, was temporarily assigned to the local detachment from his permanent station in Grantsville, Calhoun County. Services were held at the Charleston Civic Center for each to accommodate the large number of people who wanted to pay tribute to these brave police officers killed in the line of duty.
  • September

  • Warren "Magoo" McGinnis, former Charleston police officer and magistrate, died Sept. 2 at Clarksburg Veterans Hospital at age 82. He was a police officer for 20 years, licensed master electrician and former Kanawha County magistrate.
  • Sam Brenneman, well-known area musician, died Sept. 4 after a battle with melanoma. He was a founder of Mountain State Brass Band, director of Salvation Army Band and played in several area bands since graduating from Stonewall Jackson High in 1960. He was a trumpet player who practiced daily.
  • Larry Gibson, environmentalist and opponent of mountaintop removal, died Sept. 9. According to news accounts, Gibson had a heart attack while working at his family's property on Kayford Mountain in Raleigh County and died in a Charleston hospital at age 66.
  • Robert "Bob" Peden, retired owner of a car dealership in Clendenin, died Sept. 15 at age 92. He worked at other car dealerships before establishing Bob Peden Chevrolet Inc. on Little Sandy Creek in 1970 and eventually moving it to Clendenin where the dealership closed in 2001.
  • October

  • Trecia Peterson, vice principal of South Charleston High School and former state assistant principal of the year, died Oct. 17 after a long battle with breast cancer.  She was 52. She worked for Kanawha County schools for 29 years as a teacher and administrator.
  • November

  • Albert Good, longtime Charleston attorney, died Nov. 20, a week before his 97th birthday. Good, who lost his vision in two separate childhood accidents, practiced law for 70 years and retired in 2009.
  • December

  • John W. Dickensheets, of Cross Lanes died Dec. 1 after an extended illness at the age of 71. He was a pioneer in local sports talk radio. He was a broadcaster and announcer for many sports events. He also served as sports information director at West Virginia State where he coached women's basketball for two seasons. He held executive positions at several radio stations. He was a member of West Virginia Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Charleston Baseball Wall of Fame, and University of Charleston Athletic Hall of Fame.

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