ST. LOUIS — Several St. Louis figures were lost in 2022, including those notable nationally and locally.
5 On Your Side has compiled a list of those lost this year as we close out 2022.
Jeff Burton, co-host of ‘The Rizzuto Show,’ died in August of cancer at 55 years old. Burton was a longtime St. Louis radio personality on 105.7 “The Point,” who bravely fought cancer for about a year and a half.
Everyone at the radio station loved and admired Burton for many reasons. His kindness, humor, and generosity were just a few.
In March 2021, Burton was diagnosed with prostate cancer. However, he regularly appeared on “The Rizzuto Show” until early July. Unfortunately, Burton’s wife, Juli, said cancer spread throughout her husband’s entire body and was not stable enough to receive additional treatment. He died August 15.
Cora Faith Walker died suddenly in March. Walker served in the Missouri House of Representatives from 2016 until 2019. She served the 74th District as a Democrat until she resigned to join the St. Louis County Executive’s office. Walker was a high-level administrator for Sam Page.
The St. Louis medical examiner determined in April that former St. Louis Rep. Cora Faith Walker died from a heart condition at age 37.
Walker died after collapsing in a hallway at a downtown hotel.
“Cora Faith Walker dedicated her life’s work to public service, social justice, women’s reproductive rights, and health equity access,” her family said in a statement. “She was a strident advocate and bravely stood in solidary with victims of sexual assault and sexual violence. St Louis and Missouri citizens have lost an ardent advocate who approached her public service in the interest of the public good and public trust.”
In August, longtime St. Louis television anchor Dick Ford died at age 88. The funeral was held at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in University City.
Ford was remembered as a straight shooter who cared about delivering no-frills news to local viewers for decades.
He worked at 5 On Your Side for 23 years, from the late ’60s to the early ’90s, before moving on to KTVI. He was initially a KSDK reporter and later co-anchored with Karen Foss.
Goalby won one of the most dramatic Masters in golf history and had a long and successful career on the PGA Tour. He died at 92.
He won 14 tournaments during his tenure on the PGA Tour. He finished second at the 1961 U.S. Open and the 1962 PGA Championship. He also set a then-PGA Tour record for consecutive birdies, with eight during the 1961 St. Petersburg Open.
Goalby also served as a golf analyst for NBC Sports for 14 years and later became a founding member of the Senior PGA Tour, currently called the Champions Tour.
He is an Illinois Golf Hall of Fame member, and his name adorns the Belleville West High School football field.
Green was a notable figure of the early 80’s Cardinals teams and won a World Series as part of the 1982 team. He died at 61 in February.
Green appeared in nine games in the 1982 playoffs, tallying three hits including a double and triple in the World Series.
The Cardinals acquired Green in a blockbuster deal with the Brewers and brought him to St. Louis. In five years in St. Louis, Green also appeared in 489 games hitting .273 with 26 home runs and 160 RBI.
For his career, Green was a .268 hitter with a .702 OPS.
The Nicaragua native died as a result of a heart attack.
Dr. Martin Mathews, the co-founder of Mathews-Dickey Boys’ & Girls’ Club, died in November in Creve Coeur. He was 97.
Mathews grew up in the bootheel town of Neelyville, Missouri. He was born on Feb. 17, 1925.
He moved to St. Louis in the late 1930s to find work to help with family finances. Mathews was described as a man of compassion and empathy. Jackie Joyner-Kersee, an Olympic gold medalist and community activist, said Mathews cared about the community and people.
“He poured into people and poured love into them. Giving people hope when you didn’t know where hope would come from. No one can fill his shoes. All we can do is continue to study, know his work and do our good deeds,” she said.
Some also called him a father figure. Many people shared stories about how Mathews impacted their life with a saying that he came up with — the three “Rs” — respect, restraint, and responsibility.
From the St. Louis Science Center Planetarium to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Gyo Obata left his mark on skylines across the globe. He died in March at age 99.
Born in San Francisco in 1923, Obata came to St. Louis after his family was forced to leave California during the anti-Japanese movement during World War II. He attended Washington University, one of the few universities accepting Japanese-American students, and graduated in 1945. He earned a master’s a year later from Cranbrook Academy of Art located in Bloomfield Hills, near Detroit.
For more about his legacy, click here.
Obata created the St. Louis architecture firm HOK alongside partners George Hellmuth and George Kassabaum. Millions have seen his work, although several people may not know it.
His most famous works include the following:
U.S. Olympic Fieldhouse in Lake Placid, which is home to the 1980 Miracle on Ice
Camden Yards, which is home of the Baltimore Orioles
Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum
Dallas-Fort Worth airport
Priory Chapel, the planetarium in St. Louis
Jay Randolph Jr., a popular golf commentator, and sportscaster in St. Louis, died in November after a battle with liver cancer. He was 53.
He announced his diagnosis on “The Morning After” in early November. He said he was given three to four months to live.
Randolph Jr. was formerly a commentator for the PGA Tour Network and hosted a show on 590 The Fan. More recently, he appeared on “The Morning After” radio show 105.7 HD-2.
Randolph Jr. was the son of Jay Randolph, a sports director at 5 On Your Side from 1967 to 1988, and the grandson of U.S. Senator Jennings Randolph.
5 On Your Side’s Frank Cusumano said, “he was a gift to the game of golf to our town.”
According to officials, Sister Mary Roch Rocklage, who founded the Chesterfield-based Mercy healthcare system, also died in August after a long illness. She was 87.
The north St. Louis native was born Antoinette Marie Rocklage and known as Sister Roch. She started her career as a medical and surgical nurse after receiving a nursing degree in 1961 from St. Xavier University in Chicago.
She joined the Sisters of Mercy religious order in 1954 at 19. She was the administrator and president of St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, which is currently Mercy Hospital St. Louis, for ten years. Then, she served as provincial administrator of the Sisters of Mercy St. Louis Regional Community.
For more on her life, read more.
The St. Louis Business Journal contributed to this report.
Howard “Bruce” Sutter, a native-Pennsylvanian and member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the pitcher to close out the St. Louis Cardinals’ World Series victory in 1982, died in October. He was 69.
He pitched for the Cardinals from 1981 to 1984.
Sutter was the 1979 NL Cy Young Award winner, a six-time All-Star, five-time NL saves leader and four-time winner of the Rolaids Relief Man Award in his 12-year career.
His 300 saves were third in MLB history at the time of his retirement.
He was also the fourth relief pitcher enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame and in the inaugural class of Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.
He also pitched for the Chicago Cubs from 1976 to 1980 and the Braves from 1985 to 1988. He pitched his final game at the age of 35.
Dennis Ray Watters, a father, and husband, died in October after a long battle with renal cancer. He was 64.
The Wood River native was the founder and owner of Team Watters Sonar, Search and Recovery. He ran the service with Tammy Watters as a husband-wife team for over ten years.
Dennis said in 2018 that he grew up on the water and what started as a fishing hobby between the couple turned into a search and recovery of several bodies under the water. The couple used sonar imaging, or sound waves, to find people who went missing near Hillsboro Marina on Lake Glenn Shoals.
They served several families and asked for nothing in return. They have been to Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Nebraska, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and many more.
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