PASSINGS: Dave Duerson, Joe Frazier, Alan F. Segal
NFL player on Super Bowl-winning teams
Dave Duerson, 50, a four-time Pro Bowl safety who played on Super Bowl winners with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, was found dead Thursday at his home in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. Investigators have not determined the cause of death.
The Bears released a statement Friday saying they were “stunned and saddened” by the news and called Duerson “a great contributor to our team and the Chicago community.”
Born Nov. 28, 1960, in Muncie, Ind., Duerson was a four-year starter at Notre Dame, where he also earned a bachelor’s degree in economics. A third-round draft pick by the Bears in 1983, he became a key figure on the 1985 team that had one of the greatest defenses ever assembled, featuring Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton and Richard Dent.
The next season, Duerson picked off a career-high six passes while setting what was an NFL record for sacks by a defensive back with seven. That mark stood until 2005, when Arizona’s Adrian Wilson had eight.
Duerson would go on to win another Super Bowl with the 1990 Giants after being released by the Bears and spent three years with the Arizona Cardinals before retiring after 11 seasons.
Former New York Mets manager
Joe Frazier, 88, a former New York Mets manager who led the team for just one full season before it went into a sharp decline, died Tuesday of a heart attack in Broken Arrow, Okla., said his wife of nine years, Jean.
In 1976, his only full season as a major league manager, Frazier guided the Mets to 86 victories and a third-place finish in the National League East.
But the team faltered in 1977 and Frazier was fired after the Mets won only 15 of their first 45 games. He was replaced by Joe Torre, and the Mets went on to finish last that season and the next two.
Frazier never managed in the big leagues again.
Born Oct. 6, 1922, in Liberty, N.C., Frazier played parts of four seasons in the major leagues as an outfielder for Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Baltimore.
He batted .241 with 10 homers in 217 games, then went on to a long career as a minor league coach and manager before getting his break with the Mets.
Alan F. Segal
Expert on religions’ views of afterlife
Alan F. Segal, 65, a leading scholar known for his comparative studies of how religions view the afterlife, died Sunday from complications of leukemia, his family announced.
Segal, who lived in Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J., had retired as the Ingeborg Rennert Professor of Jewish Studies at Barnard College in December after 30 years on the faculty.
Born Aug. 2, 1945, in Worcester, Mass., Segal received bachelor’s degrees from Amherst and Hebrew Union colleges and master’s from Brandeis and Yale, as well as a doctorate from Yale.
He wrote frequently for scholarly and general audiences on topics such as Judaism and early Christianity. His 2004 book, “Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in Western Religion,” is considered one of the definitive treatments of the subject.
Segal’s views were routinely called upon, including after a 2008 Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life survey reported that 74% of Americans believed there was a heaven, while just 59% believed there was a hell.
“Hell is for nonbelievers, and most Americans don’t believe there are nonbelievers next door, even if their religion is different,” Segal told the Houston Chronicle. “So hell is disappearing, absolutely.”
For a 2008 Associated Press Easter season story on the Resurrection, Segal said most Americans expect the afterlife to be a continuation of life on Earth — “like a really good assisted-living facility.”
Times staff and wire reports
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