Some of the prominent individuals we lost in 2012.
Henry Coleman, 68, owner and founder of Coleman’s Barbecue.
Ora A. Higgins, 101, former Chicago teacher and great-great-aunt of First Lady Michelle Obama. A native of Birmingham, Ala., Higgins was the first African-American personnel director for Spiegel’s Inc.
Bishop Otis G. Clark, 109, survivor of the 1921 Tulsa race riot, one of the most deadly race riots in the nation’s history. Clark was 18 at the time of the uprising.
Earl “Speedo” Carroll, 75, lead singer of the group The Cadillacs, known for their doo-wop classic, “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Sharon McGhee, 54, former WVON talk show host and news director; also a playwright and documentary producer.
Al Freeman Jr., 78, stage, television and film actor, whose roles include the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (1992).
Randolph W. Savage, 84, brother of former U.S. congressman Gus Savage.
Don Cornelius, 75, creator of the pioneering music television program, Soul Train. The Chicago native was also an on-air host and reporter for WVON radio before launching Soul Train.
Whitney Houston, 48, award-winning singer and actress who has sold more than 55 million albums in the United States.
Carl Davis, 77, music executive and “Architect of Chicago Soul.” Artists he worked with include Curtis Mayfield, The Chi-Lites and Sam Cooke.
Donna Summer, 63, actress and singer, known as the “Queen of Disco.”
Sherman Hemsley, 74, known for his George Jefferson character on the hit TV series The Jeffersons (1975 to 1985).
Etta James, 73, singer who crossed genres, including jazz, rock-and-roll and gospel. Her career began in 1954. James’ hit songs include “Roll With Me, Henry,” “I’d Rather Go Blind” and her signature tune, “At Last.”
Thomas Miller, 91, African-American artist and graphic designer who helped develop the “batwing” Motorola logo, as well as the logo redesign for 7Up. A grandson of slaves, he worked for 35 years at the Chicago design firm, Morton Goldsholl Associates.
George C. Stoney, 96, documentary filmmaker and college instructor. His work and advocacy helped lead to the creation of public access television stations, where everyday citizens can learn to produce and broadcast their own television shows.
John Payton, 66, civil rights attorney, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
Robert Lucas, 87, civil rights leader and activist in Chicago.
Lacy Banks, 68, the first, full-time black sportswriter for a Chicago mainstream newspaper.
James “Jimmy” Ellis, 74, lead singer of The Tramps, whose hits include “Disco Inferno” from the film Saturday Night Fever.
Mahalia Somerville, Longtime Chicago resident and community activist in the areas of education and housing.