In the last week many notable Americans passed away. This will cover a few of these amazing people from various walks of life that helped to shape American culture and life in some way.


Don Rickles (1926-2017) was a stand-up comedian and actor, best known for his style of insult comedy. Rickles served in World War II as a seaman first class and after the war tried to become a dramatic actor. However, he struggled to find work and took to stand-up comedy. His career in comedy and film took off after he insulted Frank Sinatra while in a Miami nightclub in 1957.

Rickles appeared in a number of film and TV roles over the decades, but is probably best know in recent years for his role as Mr. Potato Head in "Toy Story." Rickles died on April 6 at age 90 from kidney failure.

Ben Speer was a musician, singer, music publisher and record company executive. He is best known for his work with the Southern Gospel family group the Speer Family (1921-1998). Speer became part of his family song quartet in the 1930s and retired from the group in 1992. After retiring, he became the music director of the Gaither Homecoming program. He is a member of the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame and the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Speer died on April 7 at 86 from complications due to Alzheimer's Disease.


Roy Sievers (1926-2017) was a professional baseball player who played for 17 seasons. He played for the St. Louis Browns (1949-53), Washington Senators (1954-59, 64-65), Chicago White Sox (1960-61) and Philadelphia Phillies (1962-64). Sievers was a five time All-Star and got named AL Rookie of the Year in 1949. His finest season came in 1957, when he led the AL in home runs and batting average.

He also because the 22nd player in MLB history to hit 300 home runs. Sievers died on April 3 at age 90.

Arthur Bisguier (1929-2017) was a chess Grandmaster and later promoter of the game. He won back-to-back U.S. Junior Championships in 1948-49 and three U.S. Open Chess Championships in 1950, 1956 and 1959. His biggest accomplishment was winning the 1954 U.S.

Chess Championship and he would be awarded the title of Grandmaster in 1957. He would also win the U.S. Senior Open three times in 1989, 1997 and 1998. He also worked with the United States Chess Federation (USCF) as a representative for many years and would write "The Art of Bisguier," which discussed his best games. Bisguier died on April 5 at age 87 from respiratory failure.

Bob Cerv (1925-2017) was a professional baseball player who played for 12 seasons and served in the Pacific theatre of World War II. He played for the New York Yankees (1951-56, 1960-62), Kansas City Athletics (1957-60), Los Angeles Angels (1961) and Houston Colt .45s (1962). His best season was 1958, when he made the All-Star team, had 38 home runs and finished 4th in MVP voting.

He was also part of the 1956 World Champion Yankees. Cerv died on April 6 at age 91.


Thomas Tackaberry (1923-2017) was a military officer who reached the rank of lieutenant-general in the army. He enlisted during World War II but did not see any overseas service during the war. He did serve with distinction during the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Following his service in Vietnam he became the major-general at Fort Bragg of the 82nd Airborne from 1974-76. He then got promoted to lieutenant-general and served as Commander of the XVII Airborne Corps from 1979-81. During his military career Tackaberry got awarded with 3 Distinguished Service Medals, 5 Silver Stars, a Soldier's Medal, a Legion of Merit and many other awards.

Tackaberry died on April 3 at age 93.

Dr. Abraham S. Fischler (1928-2017) was an academic, best known for serving as the second President of Nova Southeastern University in Florida from 1970 until 1992. During his tenure as president the school developed and offered the first ever doctoral distance education program in 1971, the predecessor to current online education programs. He later served on the board of Broward Country Public Schools from 1994-98. He also was President Emeritus and a professor at Nova Southeastern, while also consulting or serving on the boards of various education groups. Fischler died on April 3 at age 89.