On This Day

Historical Figures Who Died in 1978

  • Jan 4 Willem Bruynzeel, Dutch timber/lumber/wood manufacturer, dies at 76
  • Jan 6 John D. MacArthur, American insurance billionaire, dies at 80
  • Jan 8 Walter Keirnan, TV panelist (I've Got a Secret), dies at 75
  • Jan 10 John D. Rockefeller III, US billionaire/philanthropist, dies at 71
  • Jan 10 Pedro Joaquín Chamorro, of La Prensa, assassinated in Managua

Hubert Humphrey

Jan 13 Hubert Humphrey, American politician, 38th Vice President of the United States (1965-69), and 1968 Presidential candidate, dies of bladder cancer at 66

  • Jan 14 Kurt Gödel, Austrian-American mathematician (Gödel's incompleteness theorems), dies at 71
  • Jan 15 Margaret Bowman & Janet Levy, Chi Omega, FSU, killed by Ted Bundy
  • Jan 16 Virginia Pope, American fashion editor (New York Times), dies at 92
  • Jan 18 Hasan Askari, Pakistani philosopher, critic and writer, dies at 58
  • Jan 18 Walter H. Thompson, English Scotland Yard detective, bodyguard of Winston Churchill, dies of cancer at 77
  • Jan 21 Freda Utley, British scholar and author. (b. 1898)
  • Jan 22 Oliver Leese, British World War II general, dies at 83
  • Jan 24 Herta Oberheuser, German doctor (b. 1911)
  • Feb 4 Bergen Evans, American professor of English ($64,000 Question), dies at 73
  • Feb 5 Annie [Anna HM] Romein-Verschoor, Dutch historian (Omzien), dies at 83
  • Feb 5 Frans van Immerseel, Belgian graphic artist, dies at 68
  • Feb 9 Kimberly Leach, killed by Ted Bundy in Lake City Fla at 12
  • Feb 9 Herbert Kappler, German head of Nazi police and security services (SS) in Rome during WWII, dies at 70
  • Feb 11 James B. Conant, American chemist and President of Harvard University, dies at 84
  • Feb 11 Harry Martinson, Swedish novelist and poet (Trade Wind-Nobel 1974), dies at 73
  • Feb 16 E. Roland Harriman, American financier (b. 1895)
  • Feb 21 Mieczysław Żywczyński, Polish historian and priest (b. 1901)
  • Feb 22 Phyllis McGinley, American poetess (Pulitzer 1961), dies at 72
  • Feb 25 Daniel "Chappie" James Jr, retired Air Force general, dies at 58
  • Feb 28 Eric Frank Russell, sci-fi author (Hugo, Deep Space), dies at 73
  • Mar 4 Wesley Bolin, former Governor of the U.S. State of Arizona (b. 1909)
  • Mar 18 Faith Baldwin, American author (They Who Love), dies at 84
  • Mar 19 Gaston Julia, French mathematician (b. 1893)
  • Mar 24 Leigh Brackett, American sci-fi author (Ginger Star), dies at 62
  • Mar 31 Charles Herbert Best, American-Canadian physiologist/co-discoverer (Insulin), dies at 79
  • Apr 9 Clough Williams-Ellis, British architect known chiefly as the creator of the Italianate village of Portmeirion in North Wales, dies at 94
  • Apr 13 Jack Chambers, Canadian artist, dies at 47
  • Apr 16 Lucius du Bignon Clay, American WWII general and military governor of West Germany, dies at 80
  • Apr 19 Emile de Strijker, Belgian philosopher, dies at 70
  • Apr 25 Lee Kim Lai, Singaporean police officer (b. 1960)
  • Apr 27 Mohammed Daoud Khan, Afghan politician, murdered at 68
  • Apr 28 Mohammed Daoud Khan, 1st President of Afghanistan (1973-78) & Prime Minister of Afghanistan (1953-63), dies at 68
  • May 3 Wim van Doorne, Dutch auto manufacturer (DAF Trucks), dies at 71

AssassinationAldo Moro

May 9 Aldo Moro, Five times Prime Minister of Italy, assassinated by the Marxist-Leninist terrorist organization Red Brigades at 61

  • May 11 John Clinge Doorenbos, Dutch journalist & poet, dies at 93
  • May 14 Bill Lear, American engineer, manufacturer and CEO (Lear Jet Corp), dies at 75
  • May 17 Selwyn Lloyd, British politician (Foreign Secretary, 1955-60; Exchequers, 1960-62; Leader of the House of Commons, 1963–64; Speaker of the House of Commons, 1971-76), dies of a brain tumor at 73
  • May 21 Jo Spier [Joseph Spier], Dutch cartoonist and water color painter, dies at 77
  • Jun 4 Jorge de Sena, Portuguese novelist and poet (Reino da Estupidez), dies at 58
  • Jun 5 John Meulenhoff, Dutch publisher, dies at 71
  • Jun 7 Ronald George Wreyford Norrish, British chemist, Nobel Prize laureate 1967, dies at 80
  • Jun 12 Guo Moruo, Chinese scholar and writer, dies at 85
  • Jun 15 Anton Roosjen, Dutch politician and NCRV-chairman, dies at 83
  • Jun 18 Walter C. Alvarez, American physician (b. 1884)
  • Jun 22 Jens Otto Krag, Danish politician, premier of Denmark (1962-68, 71-72), dies at 63
  • Jun 24 Robert Charroux, French writer (b. 1909)
  • Jun 25 Hussein al-Ghasjmi, president of North-Yemen, murdered
  • Jun 26 Rabbaji, president of South-Yemen, executed
  • Jun 28 Clifford Dupont, First President of Rhodesia (b. 1905)
  • Jul 1 Kurt Student, German Luftwaffe general (b. 1890)
  • Jul 2 Aris Alexandrou, Greek novelist, poet and translator (b. 1922)
  • Jul 9 Abdul Razak al-Naif, premier of Iraq, murdered
  • Aug 2 Satomi Myodo, Zen nun/attendant of Hakuun Yasutani Roshi, dies at 82
  • Aug 2 Totie Fields [Sophie Feldman], American comedienne, dies at 48
  • Aug 3 Ezzedin Kalak, Palestinian PLO representative in Paris, murdered
  • Aug 6 Edward Durrell Stone, US architect, dies at 76

Paul VI

Aug 6 Pope Paul VI [Giovanni Montini], 262nd Roman Catholic pope (1963-78), dies of a heart attack at 80

  • Aug 9 James Gould Cozzens, American novelist (1949 Pulitzer-Guard of Honor), dies at 74
  • Aug 9 Johan Daisne [Thiery], Belgian writer (Lago Maggiore), dies at 66
  • Aug 14 Nicolas Bentley, British writer and illustrator, dies at 71
  • Aug 16 Alidius WL Tjarda van Stachouwer, gov-gen of Neth Indies, dies at 90
  • Aug 21 Charles Eames, American designer and architect, dies at 71
  • Aug 22 Ignazio Silone, Italian novelist (Fontamara, Pane e vino), dies at 78

Jomo Kenyatta

Aug 22 Jomo Kenyatta, 1st Prime Minister of Kenya (1963-78), dies at 83

  • Aug 28 Bruce Catton, American historian and writer (Civil War), dies at 78
  • Aug 28 F. Van Wyck Mason, American historian and author (Three Harbours), dies at 76
  • Aug 31 John Wrathall, President of Rhodesia (b. 1913)
  • Sep 9 Jack L Warner [Jacob Warner], Canadian-American film executive and president of the Warner Bros. Studios, dies at 86
  • Sep 9 Hugh MacDiarmid, Scottish poet (b. 1892)
  • Sep 11 Georgi Markov, Bulgarian dissident (b. 1929)
  • Sep 11 Janet Parker, English medical photographer, the last person to die of smallpox, dies at 40
  • Sep 15 Willy Messerschmitt, German aircraft builder, dies at 80
  • Sep 15 Robert Cliche, French Canadian politician and judge (b. 1921)
  • Sep 19 Rolf Gunther, East German priest, self imolation
  • Sep 19 Étienne Gilson, French philosopher and historian, dies at 94
  • Sep 24 Hasso von Manteuffel, German WWII general (5th Panzer Army) and politician, dies at 81
  • Sep 26 Manne Siegbahn, Swedish physicist (Nobel 1924-discoveries and research in the field of X-ray spectroscopy), dies at 91
  • Sep 28 Pope John Paul I [Albino Luciani], 263rd Roman Catholic Pope, dies after 33 days as pope at 65
  • Oct 9 Pavel Antokolsky, Russian poet and theatre director (Syn), dies at 82
  • Oct 10 Gesina Van der Molen, Dutch WWII resistance fighter/lawyer, dies at 86
  • Oct 12 Nancy Spungen, killed by boyfriend Sid Vicious in NYC
  • Oct 18 Jacques Mornard [Ramon Mercader], murderer of Trotsky, dies at 64
  • Oct 21 Anastas Mikoyan, Armenian revolutionary, politician (First Deputy Premier of Supreme Soviet, 1855-64), diplomat, and cookbook publisher (The Book of Tasty and Healthy Food), dies at 83
  • Oct 22 John Riley, English poet (murdered) (b. 1937)
  • Nov 7 Janet Flanner, American journalist (New Yorker), dies at 86
  • Nov 8 Norman Rockwell, American artist and illustrator (Saturday Evening Post covers), dies at 84

Margaret Mead

Nov 15 Margaret Mead, American anthropologist (Coming of Age in Samoa, Thoughts & Female), dies of pancreatic cancer at 76

Jim Jones

Nov 18 Jim Jones, US pastor, leader of Jonestown Cult, commits suicide at 47

  • Nov 18 Leo Ryan, American teacher and politician (U.S. House of Representatives from California, 1973-78), assassinated at 53 in Jonestown, Guyana
  • Nov 20 Vasilisk Gnedov, Russian poet (b. 1890)
  • Nov 20 Giorgio De Chirico, Italian painter (founded the scuola metafisica art movement), dies at 90
  • Nov 25 Elaine Esposito, American woman who held record for longest coma (37 years), dies in a coma at 43
  • Nov 27 George Moscone, Mayor of San Francisco (1976-78) shot and killed by Dan White aged 49

AssassinationHarvey Milk

Nov 27 Harvey Milk, first openly gay person to be elected to public office, assassinated by Dan White at 48

  • Nov 28 Antonio Vespucio Liberti, Argentine football executive (b. 1902)
  • Dec 4 Samuel Abraham Goldsmith, Neth/US phycists, dies at 76
  • Dec 7 Alexander Wetmore, American ornithologist (b. 1886)

Golda Meir

Dec 8 Golda Meir [Mabovitch], Israeli teacher, stateswoman and 4th Prime Minister of Israel (1969-74) known as the "Iron Lady" of Israeli politics, dies in of lymphatic cancer at 80

  • Dec 10 Miura Isshu, Zen teacher, Hakuin Rinzai line, dies at 75
  • Dec 11 Vincent du Vigneaud, American chemist and (1955 Nobel Prize for Chemistry - for work on sulphur compounds), dies at 77
  • Dec 14 Salvador de Madariaga y Rojo, Spanish writer (Englishmen, Frenchmen, Spaniards) & diplomat, dies at 92
  • Dec 27 Houari Boumédiènne, President of Algeria (1965-78), dies at 51
  • Dec 28 Harry Winston, US jeweler for the "rich & famous", dies at 82