Other Deaths Of Note


November 23, 2006

WILLIAM LEE BRENT, 75 Black Panther who hijacked jet to Cuba

William Lee Brent, 75, a Black Panther who hijacked a passenger jet to Cuba in 1969 and spent 37 years in exile, died there Nov. 4 of bronchial pneumonia, according to his sister, Elouise Rawlins of Oakland, Calif. She said she learned of his death through telephone calls and messages from friends.

Ms. Rawlins said that she had not seen her brother since he used a handgun to hijack TWA Flight 154 from San Francisco to Havana on June 17, 1969, but that they stayed in contact.

Mr. Brent lived a relatively isolated life during his nearly four decades in Cuba, spending much of his time in his later years listening to his jazz music collection in his apartment. In a 1996 interview with the Associated Press, he said he missed the United States and the American black community. But he was unwilling to return home to face certain life imprisonment for aircraft piracy and kidnapping, and he had resigned himself to never seeing his country again.

A decade ago, Times Books published his memoirs, Long Time Gone, which told of his coming of age on Oakland's streets and of joining the Black Panthers when he was 37, rising to become a bodyguard for leader Eldridge Cleaver.

LEO ANTHONY NOBILE, 84 Former player with Steelers and Redskins

Leo Anthony Nobile, 84, a former Pittsburgh Steelers player who almost drowned in a mud puddle during a game in the 1940s, died of kidney failure Nov. 14 in Coraopolis, Pa.

His daughter, Natalie Nobile-Shoop, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that her father's brush with death occurred on a rainy day at Forbes Field during either the 1948 or 1949 season. Mr. Nobile, a lineman who played both offense and defense, wound up face down in a puddle under a pile of players.

He played for the Washington Redskins in 1947 before joining the Steelers for two seasons, and subsequently became a sales manager for a cutlery firm. Mr. Nobile later worked as director of activities at a state prison, where he organized a team named the Pittsburgh Stealers. He also served as president of the Steelers' alumni association, said Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney.

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