M. SCOTT MORRIS: So long to those who moved on

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

Today of all days, we’ll let Col. Sherman T. Potter raise his glass and make our toast: “Here’s to the new year. May she be a damn sight better than the old one.”
You might recall Potter as the commanding officer of the 4077th in the television show, “M*A*S*H.” Harry Morgan played the colonel with a perfect blend of authority, compassion and humor.
The actor died in early December at the age of 96. He was one of many famous folks who made their exits in 2011.
Columnist and commentator David Broder died at age 81, and left a void in the world of political punditry that won’t be filled soon.
I never met him in person, but his reporting and opinions suggest Broder was an incredibly reasonable man. How many of those are trusted with a bully, nationwide pulpit?
On the opposite side of the spectrum, we find professional wrestler and Slim Jim pitchman, Randy “Macho Man” Savage. He rose to prominence as a flamboyant loudmouth in a time when such behavior was considered entertainment, not statecraft. He was 58.
Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band lost its sax man, Clarence Clemons, at the age of 69. Springsteen’s version of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” took on new meaning this Christmas, when the Boss asks Clemons if he’s been a good boy by practicing his saxophone.
I didn’t know I was a Dobie Gray fan until the singer died during his 71st year.
He sang the classic rock staple, “Drift Away,” with the line, “Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul, I just wanna get lost in your rock ‘n’ roll and drift way.” I can hear the song cranked up in memory, as I drive with the windows rolled down.
Singer Amy Winehouse spent 27 years on this earth, and I was both a fan and an onlooker.
There was no denying the power of her voice. The only thing more powerful was her addiction. The music and the object lessons she left behind will endure for decades to come.
On a happier note, Sherwood Schwartz’s span lasted 94 years. He gave us “Gilligan’s Island,” a truly wonderful gift, and I’m not trying to be funny.
I was a latch-key kid when WTBS aired “Gilligan’s Island” every day after school. Schwartz leaves a good and goofy legacy of making kids smile. That’s an accomplishment worth celebrating, “Little Buddies.”
In the business and technology spheres, Steve Jobs, founder and visionary behind Apple Inc., created tools that we didn’t know we needed. The massive outpouring of emotion following his death at age 56 tells us how far his work reached into people’s lives.
It would be nice to end on a positive note to say “farewell” to 2011 and “hello” to 2012 with a touch of class, but we’re not going to do that because of one infamous man.
A team of Navy Seals killed 54-year-old Osama bin Laden in 2011. I hope whatever comes after this life surprised and horrified him.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal feature writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@journalinc.com.