In the last week, many notable Americans passed away. This week saw the loss of a trailblazing female politician, an actor, a Native American activist and an accomplished military general. These amazing people came from various walks of life, helping to shape American culture in some way. May they be put In Memoriam forever.


Judy Martz (1943-2017) was Miss Rodeo Montana from 1961-62. In 1964, she and Sylvia White became the first two women from Montana to appear in the Olympics. She competed as a speed skater in the 1,500 meters, coming in 15th place.

In 1987, she was one of the 13 charter members to be put into the Butte Sports Hall of Fame.

From 1997-2001 she served as the first female lieutenant governor of Montana under Marc Racicot. She was then elected as the 22nd Governor of Montana, becoming the first woman to hold the position. Martz only served one term (2001-05) where she oversaw the largest increase in the education budget in state history, cut taxes and turned a state deficit into a surplus.

However, her administration was also marred by scandals and gaffes that led to her not seeking a second term. State Attorney General Tim Fox, a family friend, said that Martz died on October 30 at age 74 from pancreatic cancer.


Brad Bufanda (1983-2017) was an actor best known for his recurring role on two TV shows. Bufanda was Felix Toombs on the TV show “Veronica Mars” and Larry on “Co-Ed Confidential.” He also had roles in movies like “A Cinderella Story,” “Debating Robert Lee” and “Dark Tourist.” The Los Angeles Coroner's Department said that Bufanda had committed suicide on October 1, just after midnight.

He was 34 years old.


Dennis Banks (1937-2017) was an American Indian activist and helped to found the American Indian Movement (AIM) in 1968.

He was involved in a number of sometimes-violent uprisings and protests against the U.S. Government like that 1969-71 occupation of Alcatraz Island, the 1972 Trail of Broken Treaties and the armed occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973.

Banks went underground after refusing to serve a prison term for charges from a protest he led in Custer, South Dakota in 1973. He received amnesty in California in 1976, where he went to college and taught at the Deganawida Quetzecoatl University, eventually becoming the school's first American Indian chancellor. In 1984, he received sanctuary from the Onondaga Nation but would turn himself in the following year to serve his 18-month prison sentence.

Following his release, he worked as a drug and alcohol counselor on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and later was a member of the Board of Trustees for Leech Lake Tribal College.

He also appeared in about a dozen documentaries and had roles in the movies “War Party,” “The Last of the Mohicans” and “Older Than America.” His family announced that Banks died on October 29 from complications from pneumonia following open heart surgery. He was 80 years old.

Richard E.Cavazos (1929-2017) served in the Korean War as a member of the 65th Infantry Regiment, where he received a Silver Star and Distinguished Service Cross for his actions. In 1967, he served in the Vietnam War as commander of the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, earning a second Distinguished Service Cross.

Cavazos climbed up the ranks following the war, becoming the first Hispanic to reach the rank of Brigadier General in the Army in 1976. In 1980, he became commander of III Corps, and two years later he became the first Hispanic four-star general in Army history. Cavazos also assumed command of the U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) in 1982.

In 1984, he retired from the U.S. Army and went on to be appointed to the Chemical Warfare Review Committee by President Regan the following year. He would also serve on the Board of Regents at Texas Tech, his alma mater. Cavazos died on October 29 at age 87 due to complications from Alzheimer's disease.